The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Mail hose
  • Mail hose
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • 19th century
  • Iron or steel
  • Thickness: 0.086 cm, wire
    Diameter: 1.06 cm, links (average)
    Weight: 6.44 kg
  • A17
  • Reserve Gallery
Commentary
History
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • With very little medieval European armour of any kind surviving from before the fourteenth century, and almost no mail, collectors and museums in the 19th and early 20th centuries often constructed new pieces in an effort to represent the armour of more distant times.

    These curious mail stockings were probably put together some time in the middle of the 19th century, before they were acquired by Sir Richard Wallace. They almost certainly were not made for display at Hertford House, as they have never at any time been exhibited in any of the rooms of the house, but rather have always been kept in storage.

    It is most likely that they were made for some older display, probably in Paris, which sought to re-create an armour of the 12th- or 13th-century. In the absence of any real armour from the Crusading period, a garment vaguely resembling the mail chausses worn in that time was pieced together using real 15th- and 16th-century fragments of riveted mail, all joined together with modern butted links.