The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Parade shield
  • Parade shield
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Italy, probably Milan
  • c. 1550 - 1559
  • Medium-carbon steel, gold, copper alloy and silver, embossed, false-damascened, chased, blackened, gilded and formerly silvered
  • Height: 67.3 cm
    Width: 55.1 cm
    Weight: 4.11 kg
  • A325
  • European Armoury III
Further Reading
  • A truly magnificent example of the armourer’s art, this shield was undoubtedly made for Henri II of France; his initials entwined with those of his mistress, Diane de Poitiers, appear above the central composition. A burgonet helmet in the Musée de l’Armée in Paris was probably made to accompany this shield. Although the maker is unknown, it is likely that he worked in Milan, the main centre for the production of high quality ‘parade’ armour of this type. The decoration, richly embossed and damascened with gold, depicts Scipio Africanus receiving the keys of the city of Carthage after the Battle of Zama in 202 BC; by analogy, this subject might have been intended to celebrate the surrender of Calais by the English in 1558.