The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Mail shirt and associated mufflers
  • Mail shirt and associated mufflers
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • late 15th century
  • Low-carbon steel, hardened by quenching after construction, and copper alloy
  • Length: 71.1 cm, front
    Length: 76.2 cm, back
    Diameter: 1.07 cm, links
    Weight: 7.485 kg
  • A6
  • European Armoury I
Commentary
History
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • This good-quality piece is not only a good example of a long-sleeved haubergeon of the late medieval period, it also demonstrates how mail was used by modern collectors. At some point it had mail mittens or ‘mufflers’ attached to it with modern butted ‘jump’ links, to represent, it may be supposed, a mail shirt of the Crusading era. Later these mittens were removed and the mail shirt was mounted on the composite German field armour (A20). This was how it was displayed in Sir Richard Wallace’s lifetime, and how it continues to be shown today. Although not original, this presents an authentic image of the way in which a light German armour for the battlefield was worn, with plate armour on the arms kept to a minimum to conserve weight and preserve mobility. In this context a full mail shirt worn under the plate armour was still advisable.

    The essential quality of this shirt is demonstrated by its construction in quench-hardened steel, and by its decoration with copper alloy borders.