Breastplate late 15th c.

Built in the characteristic 15th c. style of 2 plates where the upper plate covers much of the chest and is overlapped by a lower plate that rises up in the center. The upper plate has simple, tapered, outward-turned rolls at the neck and arms. The roll at the neck is just slightly curved. There are two rivets for attachment of buckles at the shoulders, both of these are replaced, one has been moved somewhat to account for the loss of the end of the shoulder extension. There is another rivet right at the edge of the loss that matches the location of the rivet on the other shoulder. The lower plate has a flair at the bottom for the suspension of a fauld. There are 2 holes for the rivets to secure the fauld lames, a rivet remains in one hole. The 2 plates are presently secured by 4 rivets, the largest, central one of these would have originally been a bolt, the others are later additions. The lower plate rises to a wide peak at the center and it cut with 2 small cusps at the side. The edges of the central point are beveled over most of the edge. The bevel terminates before the cusps. This breastplate is of relatively heavy construction. The metal thickness by visual inspection in the center appears to be app. 3 mm tapering to app. 1 mm at the sides. These are estimates as it is hard to actually measure the thickness in its current configuration. A few actual measurements with a deep micrometer indicates that after the losses to rust the central upper breastplate varies between .115 and .150 in. in the center. The edge under the arm thins noticably - the very edge is generally .040-.050 with one thin spot down to .030. Within 2 in. from the edge it thickens to .090 and then on up to the central thickness. The lower plate is more even in thickness and noticably thinner - generally app. .050 in. It is basically a really large waste lame. There is some loss to one shoulder and at the center of the lower flair. Very similar in form to the breastplate illustrated as item 5.8 (page 89) in The Medieval Armour from Rhodes by Karcheski and Richardson. This item is in the collection of the Chateau de Grandson Switzerland. This breastplate is described as German or Italian end of the 15th/early 16th century. They also identify it as of the type called Fussknectbrust - for use by armoured infantry. This one may be intended for mounted or higher-end use since the metal thickness varies from the center to the sides. Generally these simple 2 piece breastplates are attibuted to late 15th c.

Measurements: (all taken straight on the inside) - width at the narrowest spot between the armholes - 9 1/2 in., width at the bottom of the armholes 14 3/8 in., width at the waist 12 1/4 in., height from waist to the top of the center of the neck 13 7/8 in., overall height 15 1/4 in.

Weight 6 pounds 10.6 ounces (3,025 g). [inv. num. A-193]

Italian or Flemish Breastplate

Italian or Flemish Breastplate circa 1500

Formed of a single piece with a medial crease, flared bottom edge and large triangular rolls at the arms and neck. The roll at the arm with engraved/filed decoration in the form of lines. There are a set of holes on the right side for the attachment of the pins for a lance rest. This is a fine example of a rare type of breastplate made at the turn of the 16th century. Examples like it may be found in the Waffensammlung Vienna, Metropolitan Museum NY, etc. For a very similar example see Kienbusch Collection in the Philadelphia Museum of Art #1977-167-132 formerly in the Dean collection.

Size measurements: Width of neck hole - 8 1/2 in. Height of arm hole - 9 in. Arm hole to waist- 4 1/2 in. Center from top of roll to waist - 12 3/4 in. Waist flare - 3/4 in.

The metal varies in thickness. Within an inch it can vary about .01 inch. All measurements in inches. Thickness measurements:Sides - .028-.052 - mostly in the .030-.040 range. Upper area between arm and neck (right side) - .035-.050.Mostly around .040. Same thing (left side) - .059 - .075 (thicker than the other side). At the lance rest holes - .040 - .052. At the top crease area - .070 - .080 (mostly .080). At the center near crease - .080 - .11. Center near the waist - mostly .040 - .050. Height of upper roll at the center - .66. Max height of right arm roll - .84. Max height of left arm roll - .71. [inv. num. A-66]

Lower-German Breastplate

Lower-German Breastplate circa 1550-1560

Heavy hammered polished iron breast plate with strong projection in the medial ridge and triple extruded curved V-lines under a centrally subdivided roped flange. The left side etched (faded) with a crucifix and kneeling knight. Inset gussets with high roped turnovers. Riveted waist lame. The arm holes are bordered by a narrow recessed band. The bottom edge heavily beveled with a decorative notch at the center. The inside with distinct tool marks, the iron slightly raised in places, the double holes for the lance rest filled in the distant past. Rivets replaced.

Height 12 1/2 in. (32 cm). 11 1/2 in. wide at the waist, 15 1/2 in. wide under the arm holes. 11 1/2 in. wide at the top with the gussets fully extended.

Thickness on a line from the center point to the central point of the left arm roll .156 in. up to .210 app. 1 1/2 in. from the center to .170 at the corner. Along a line 1 in. up from the bottom edge from the center to the outside .160 in. at the center thinning down to .10 at the rivet securing the waist lame down to .075 near the edge. Upper half more consistent ranging somewhat randomly between .170 to .210 with a few spots reaching .230. Up at the top corner of the arm hole thining down to .120 in. Waist lame in the upper facet .132 in. near the center tapering to .055 in. at the edge "Flair" less even and generally thinner varying between .110 in.to .045, mostly between .070 and .090 in. Overall pattern .20 thick near the center, tapering to .070 at the sides and .150 at the top. [inv. num. A-61]

Cuisse with poleyn

Cuisse with poleyn circa 1580

Comprising a one-piece cuisse with poleyn of 4 plates. The cop of deeply rounded form with a small wing. The edge of the cop rises to a point at the center, the outer edge of the lames are cut to form a point in the center and points over the rivets. The top edge of the cuisse, wing and bottom plate with inward-turned rolled roped edges. The rolls are fairly even, the one on the top of the cuisse does taper a little bit. The rolls on the edge of the cop wing are full rolls on the flat portion of the wing but they flatten out and finally disappear in the indented area. The cuisse is shaped to the thigh, creased at the center and has an additional raised and roped line parallel to the top edge. The leg has a band of etched decoration in the form of a set of trophies of armour flanked by roped bands along the center line. The band between the top roll and roped line is etched with a foliate design. The edges of the cop and lame are filed with a simple roped decoration and have notches at the center crease. There are single filed notches on the inner ends of the cop, lame, lower plate and cuisse. The image of the leg with the knee bent illustrates the extent of motion allowed by the armour (almost, it does move a little more under pressure). Strap mounting rivets remain near the top of the cuisse and on the cop. The lower lame has a central slot to be secured to the greave.

Height 14 1/4 in. tall.

Generally varies between .030 and .050 inch thick, mostly .035-.040 in. with some places where it is as thin as .020 in. on the lower plate. [inv. num. A-169]

Pair of knee length tassets

Pair of knee length tassets circa 1560-70

Black and white. Formed of eight lames with detachable poleyns of 4 lames. The tassets are divisible between the fourth and fifth lames. The bright band at the center is bordered by narrow recesses, the borders on the side are recessed with a narrow raised edge simulating a roll on the outside and a small roped inward turned roll on the inside. There are white bands down the middle and on each side. There are three buckles on each for suspension from the fauld. The segments are secured by keyhole slots and pins on the outside and pins with hooks on the inside. Decorated with original brass rosette washers and a few replaced pewter rosettes. There are remains of a leather strap at the edge of the outside. This would have been used to limit the motion of the sliding rivets or possibly to secure a lining. The image of the separate pieces of the right tasset with the poleyn from the outside shows the knee at full bend. Both tassets include marks which are likely to identify the matching tassets among others - 7 punched marks on the lowest lame of each section that separates and on the wing of the cop. Ex. Royal house of Hanover. [inv. num. A-181]


Spaulder circa 1530

Possibly Landshut. Formed of 6 plates, the 2nd overlapping the first and the lower plates. Fluted overall in 4 sets of 3 flutes each. Bands separated by flat areas etched with running foliage and a bird a female figure. The top plate with a plain turn and recessed border which continue onto the to of the second plate. The next 3 plates with plain ends. The final plate with a heavily roped inward-turned roll on the bottom edge and a pair of horizontal flutes. All flutes accented with parallel engraved lines, one on each side of the flute. Retaining its orginal buckle at the bottom front corner of nice form. Ex. Coll. Dr. John Waldman. [inv. num. A-147]

Arm harness

Arm harness circa 1540-60

Formed of an upper and lower vambrace articulated by means of one lame below and one lame above to the bracelet cop. The upper vambrace includes a turning collar which was originally directly attached by a sliding rivet at the back and two leathers to the pauldron. Rolled and roped borders at the wrist and on the edge of the wing. Simple outward rolls at the inner edge of the upper and lower vambraces (at the elbow). Elbow of very pointed form with full bracelet wing. Horizontal raised and roped ridge on the outside from the point of the elbow to the center of the wing. Iron rivets with brass caps articulating the plates and attaching the hinge for the lower vambrace.

Turning collar 4 3/4" in diameter. Lower vambrace 9 3/8" long at the longest point.

Upper cannon .030-.050" thick, lower cannon more even .030-.040" thick. [inv. num. A-27]

Arm harness

Arm harness circa 1580

Left arm formed of a tubular upper cannon fitted with a turner of 3 lames. The upper and lower are secured by rivets which slide on long slots in the lower plate. The top edge of the turner is bordered by a narrow outward-turned roped roll . Where the plates overlap the roll is stepped to that it fits cleanly when fully extended. The two turner plates are overlapped, riveted and stepped so that the seam is flush on the outside. The cop of bracelet form which joins at the back with a single lame above and below. The vambrace formed of an inner and outer plate secured by one inset hinge on the inside (secured by 3 rivets on each side) and two pins on the outside. The main edges with roped inward turns. These have a typical Brunswick form with a crease along the outside. Most main rivets with dapped brass caps, many of them with rosette washers. There is a small clip on the inside of the turner which would secure the pauldron strap. Ex. Royal House of Hanover. [inv. num. A-171]

Arm harness

Arm harness circa 1560-65

For the left arm. Consisting of an upper cannon 4 plates, two small ones at the top, and the two large plates forming a turning collar with slots on the inner plate and rivets. Small cop with embossed quatrefoil at the point and small wing with rolled edges. Lower canon of 2 plates. Cop secured to the vambrace by one lame above and below. The inside of the elbow covered by thirteen small plates. Brunswick, from the house of Hanover.

The details of the inside elbow lames illustrate how it was constructed. Originally the plates would not be exposed in the way they are in the images since it would have been secured to the upper and lower cannons of the vambrace. Since these leathers are for the most part lost or broken, I have exposed the plates. The central plate is formed like a narrow football. This plate is the inner-most plate. There are 6 curved plates on each side. They are articulated near their ends. The central two are riveted through the same point and the central plate, the rest are each secured to the one before. The total assembly was originally then secured to the upper and lower cannons of the vambrace by three leather straps each. These straps remain on the lower cannon of the vambrace and the rivets that used to secure them to the elbow plates can be seen on the loose plate. One of these still secures the lames to the upper cannon, the other 2 have been lost. The rivets that secured these straps to the upper and lower cannons can be seen in the external pictures of the arm.

This arm was nicely etched. Etching is in bands down the outside, and sides of the arm, around the borders, covering the wing, and on each of the plates inside the elbow. The style and details can be seen in the pictures of details after much of the paint and some rust was removed during restoration. The etching is a combination of foliate scroll work, roped bands, bands, fruit, granular backgrounds and playful faces. The small wing is etched in the center of the wing, in the border band, up onto the cop and the edge is decorated with a narrow rolled and roped border where the roping changes direction on each side and is accented by 3 vertical lines. [inv. num. A-195]

Pair of arms

Pair of arms circa 1490-1530

Composed of a pair of spaulders formed of a main plate with one plate above and five plates below, central crease, and raised and recessed border on the top. The shoulder formed with a nice bulge at the top over the top of the shoulder. A pair of elbows - one is authentic, the other a well made copy. Each of shell form, pointed at the outside of the elbow and with a flair at the inside of the bend of the elbow. The outer surface covered by three stepped flutes on each side and a central squared raised ridge. Each of these is accentuated by an engraved line at the base of the step. The outer edge is decorated by a series of five cusps. The back and inside of the wing are plain. The cops have modern straps and have four holes at the center to secure the cop to the arm. Four holes are usually indicative of laces, but these holes appear to be smaller than would be normal for this. The vambraces are formed of an inner and outer plate with rolls at the wrist and inside of the elbow. The parts are secured by hinges on the outside and a pin on the inside. The vambraces are later. The spaulders are typical of the early 16th century. The form, decorative elements and four holes indicate a late 15th century date for the elbow. Vambraces 20th c.

Measurements: Elbow thickness varies significantly reflecting the rough interior surface - a few thick areas app. .060, thin areas app. .030. Varies significantly even in spots close to each other often between .040 and 050 in one area of the center. It appears this elbow was shaped roughly and ground to its smooth surface, not hammered to the exact shape.

Weights: elbow: 7.4 ounces (210g). [inv. num. A-214]

Couter (elbow cop)

Couter (elbow cop) circa 1500

Formed in a single piece wrapping two thirds of the way around the arm. With a raised ridge bordered by a parallel recessed border around outer edge of the wing and front of the cop, each accented by an engraved line. One rivet at the center to secure a leather connecting the cop to the vambrace and rivet and hole to secure a strap around the elbow. The cop formed with a blunt medial ridge forming a shallow point. This elbow is formed in a plain style that may be of either German or Italian origin. From the personal collection of Claude Blair.

Measurements 18.5 cm wide. 6 5/8 in. tall at the widest part of the wing, 5 in. tall at the back edge, and 6 in. from the point of the center of the wing to the back edge. Thickness .050-.080, generally in the .060-.075 range. [inv. num. A-185]

German floating Elbow

German floating Elbow circa 1510-1520

Simple "Maximilian" form. Rounded flutes accented by engraved lines. 2 nearly identical elbows are in the Fitzwilliam collection (no.s HEN.M.135A-1933 and HEN.M.135B-1933) identified in the catalogue by Ian Eaves as 1510. From the R.T. Gwynn collection. [inv. num. A-58]

German Black and White Elbow

German Black and White Elbow mid 16th cent.

Elbow cop. Floating (originally held to the arm with a strap and buckle around the elbow and a pin suspending if from the upper arm). Decorated with raised foliage against a rough background (likely originally blackened). Raised areas with simple etched decoration. Recessed border with high quality etched decoration of foliage with "dot" background. This elbow was claimed to have been formerly in the collection of Stephen Granscay. [inv. num. A-96]

Couter (elbow)

Couter (elbow) circa 1570

South German for light field use. Possibly Augsburg. For the left elbow. Constructed in one piece to be secured to the arming doublet by laces. Open at the rear, with a medial ridge. Edges with notched inward-turned rolls with a band of etching along the border. [inv. num. A-154]

German Gauntlet (part)

German Gauntlet (part) circa 1490-1500

Finger, knuckle and 1 1/2 metacarpal plates of a german gothic mitten gauntlet. The finger lames are fluted so simulate fingers, the knuckle plate with rounded and creased knuckles. The first metacarpal plate is fluted with v-shaped puckers to accomadate the flutes in the knuckle and finger lames. There is half of the hinge used to attach the thumb plate, and half of the second metacarpal plate remaining. Each of the articulations is formed with sliding rivets with slots app. 1/4 in. long. 2 rivets have been lost, the parts held together by bolts. Formerly in the collection of Leonard Heinrich - armourer to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.

Thickness: Generally around .030 in. The back of hand plate is pretty consistently .028-.032. The knuckle plate varies more, generally .025-.030, the finger plates vary even more - .020-030. The hinge is folded over. The overall thickness of the two layers is .060 at the bend, the actual metal is likely a little thinner. The pin is .090 in diameter, the hinge is .450 wide at the pin. The partial plate is 3/4 in. wide at the center, .7 in. at near the bulge at the end, .85 at the bulge for the rivet. The second finger plate is just over 1 in. wide. The first plate is app. 1 1/16 in. wide. The main hand plate is 2 in wide at the first knuckle tapering to 1 11/16ths at the fourth knuckle.

Weight: 4.6 ounces (130 grams) [inv. num. A-47]

German Gothic Gauntlet

German Gothic Gauntlet circa 1480-90

Single gauntlet for the right hand. Nicely formed "gothic" gauntlet typical of the late 15th century in Germany. Fluted, engraved and pierced overall. Formed of a large metacarpal plate joined to a wrist lame by another, smaller lame. The cuff is also attached to the wrist lame. The cuff is pointed with a small outward turn. The knuckle, metacarpal, wrist and cuff plates are attached with sliding rivets allowing the wrist to flex in all directions. The knuckle plate is formed into a rounded crease over each knuckle. The base of the thumb is covered by a large plate secured to the metacarpal plate with a hinge. The thumb and fingers are covered by two plates bridged by a pointed knuckle plate that overlaps the other two plates. The finger plates are secured to a plate inside the knuckle plate. This plate is secured to the sides of the knuckle plate. Rivets replaced. Finger and thumb plates are probably also modern, but well made.

Thickness: cuff generally 0.028 in (varying, .025-.032), wrist plate and next hand plate app. .030, main hand plate .030-.055 - mostly .040-.050, knuckle plate can"t reasonably me measured due to the inner plate and finger plates.

Weight: 13.2 ounces (375 g). [inv. num. A-213]

Mitten Gauntlet

Mitten Gauntlet late 16th century

Of russet steel. Hand formed of 5 overlapping plates articulated to allow the wrist to bend down and up. Fingers covered by mitten plates formed of 5 separate plates, the final one with a narrow, inwardly turned, roped roll. Hand joined to the fingers by a roped knuckle plate. Cuff of slightly tapered tubuilar form made from an inner and outer plate. There is a small roll on the inside of the elbow. This was most likely intended to be used without a vambrace as a simple elbow gauntlet. The end of the cuff has a line of rivets to secure a leather strip, the terminal finger plate has a line of rivets to secure the glove and there are remains of a palm strap secured to the main hand plate. Half of the hinge for the thumb remains. The articulations on this gauntlet are very well executed. The rivets appear to be original. From the George F. Harding Collection, previously ex collection Henry Griffith Keasby [inv. num. A-122]

Bottom plates from a pair of German Tassets

Bottom plates from a pair of German Tassets circa 1520-30

of bright steel embossed and engraved in imitation of the slashed civilian clothing of the period. Each curved to the shape of the thigh, the lower edge (cracked) boldy roped and bordered by a recessed border defined by 2 ridges. The upper edge cusped in the center. Domed brass rivets replaced. Height 5 inches (12.8 cm). Provenance F.H. Cripps-Day. Exhibited Wilmer House Museum, Farnham, 3-29 April 1962, No. 8. [inv. num. A-29]

Pair of tasset lower plates

Pair of tasset lower plates circa 1580

Narrow rolled decoration with fine roping. Short sections of sunk border with additional recessed flute. Embossed decoration. Black ground with polished raised decoration of stylized leaves, vines and zoomorphic heads. [inv. num. A-30]

Tasset end plate

Tasset end plate circa 1580

Single plate. Inward turned roll around the bottom edge extending up the sides. 2 keyhole slots at the top for attachment to the upper tasset plates. Embossed and recessed decoration with etching. Recessed border around the edge with etching. Central band of etching. Purportedly from the Madrid Real Armeria after the Spanish Civil War (according to the seller), also attributed possibly to the Lisbon armoury. [inv. num. A-150]


Gorget circa 1560

South German, probably Augsburg. Of bright steel composed of 4 plates front and back. The top one with inwardly-turned and roped roll, the bottom one drawn down to a blunt point in the front. Hinged on the left side with an integral hinge in the top collar plate and a rivet n the main plates. Secured by a rivet on the rear plate engaging a keyhole in the front plate and two pins engaging holes in the upper plate on the right. Two pins are relatively rare. This may be to keep the upper plates aligned perfectly if the collar is meant to engage a roll on the bottom of the helmet. The upper one is secured to the rear plate and engages a hole in the front plate, the lower one is secured to the front plate and engages a hole in the rear plate. The top corners of the second rear plate are notched to allow the gorget to open, the plates to fit nicely and still allow for an overlap. With brass-capped rivets throughout. The rivets that secure the straps for the pauldrons are modern. The other rivets may be original, which would make the leathers original. Possibly some form of mark on the main front plate. Very nice form with tapering neck plates. The gorget includes two straps for securing the pauldrons which appear to be later replacements. Details of the contruction including the difference in thickness between the front and back plates, the double pins, beveled edges, inset hinge, brass capped rivet heads and finished edges of the inner plates indicate this likely formed part of a high quality armour. This is very similar to the gorget on Wallace A45 catalogued as A45.02.

Ex. Coll. Peter Parsons (2011), Robin Wigington (1977), Part of a South German armour sold by Sotheby , Co. London 12 Feb. 1974, lot 172.

Thickness varies on the front main plate between 0.070 in. and 0.095 in. It is generally in the 0.080 in. range. The main rear plate is thinner - 0.040 in. to 0.055 in, mostly .040-050.

Weight: 2 pounds 8 ounces (1,130 g) [inv. num. A-201]

Italian Gorget

Italian Gorget circa 1580

Gorget of two main plates with single neck-lames at the front and rear. The outer edges of the main plates are bordered by a half roll and recessed border, the laf roll roped. The neck edge of the main plates with matching roped half-rolls. The neck plates with roped full rolls. The neck plates are secured by an internal hinge at the left and a pin in the rear plate engaging a hole in the front plate on the right. The main plates are secured by a turning hook on the right which engages in a keyhole slot. Very similar to that on Corselet II.47 in the Royal Armouries (illustrated on plate LIX in European Armour in the Tower of London). [inv. num. A-114c]


Gorget circa 1600

Formed of one large main plate front and rear with two neck lames front and rear. The upper neck lame with an inward-turned rolled and ropped upper edge. The upper plates secured by an integral hinge on the left and a pin engaging a hole on the right. Expertly releathered with buff leather. [inv. num. A-159]

Shoulder plates

Shoulder plates late 16th, early 17th c.

Shoulders for a pair of munions. composed of 5 plates each. bottom plate with rolled edge. [inv. num. A-76]

German (possibly Brunswick) Munion shoulder from a pair of munions

German (possibly Brunswick) Munion shoulder from a pair of munions circa 1570

Very full shape, 6 plates, creased center line with filed notch. Bold roped lower border with double incised line decoration. Originally smooth finish, clean light gray patina. Lower buckle for attachment to arm. Original sliding rivets in rear and 2 bands of old leather. [inv. num. A-23]

Piece of Mail

Piece of Mail 16th century

Piece of Mail labeled as German. Small brass borders. Wedge rivets. [inv. num. M-4]

Piece of Mail

Piece of Mail 16th century

Piece of Mail. Rings of round cross section except at the overlap. All rings rivetted. Wedge rivets. [inv. num. M-6]

Mail Sleeve

Mail Sleeve 16th century

Formed of small rings with app. 7/32 inch inside diameter measured with a ruler. Wire thickness measured with a dial gauge app. .030 in. OD of rings app. .270 varying noticably as many of the rings are slightly oval. For these rings the ID would be app. .210 inch or 5.4 mm. This is consistent with the rough measurement. The sleeve includes an area covering the shoulder and armpit, full sleeve with bend at the elbow and tapering to the form of the arm. Rings of rounded section with flattened area for the rivet. All rings riveted. Wedge rivets with the back set flush and front forming a a shallow point. Rings of consistent size. No signs of decorative rings at the edge of the gusset. There are a very few remaining rings that are likely brass at the cuff. Small losses, but relatively sound. [inv. num. M-15]