The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Three-quarter armour
  • Three-quarter armour
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • South Germany
  • c. 1520 - 1525
  • Medium-carbon steel, hardened and tempered through heat-treatments, in some parts a full-quench, in others an accelerated cooling, gold and copper alloy, embossed, pierced, etched, cross-hatched and gilt, possibly once blued
  • Weight: 12.19 kg, total weight
  • A28
  • European Armoury II
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • As well as practical, protective equipment for fighting, armour was fashionable clothing. Often it was the richest, most expensive, and most impressive clothing a Renaissance nobleman owned.

    This attribute is true of all armour, but it is never more flamboyantly displayed than on the costume armour of the German Renaissance. This armour is composed of parts of one such armour, wherein the plates were cunningly sculpted to conform to the distinctive ‘puffed and slashed’ style which defined the age. The metal has been skillfully worked to resemble billowing folds of textile, while sunken and gilt areas create the impression of slashes in the outermost layer, revealing what would have otherwise been cloth-of-gold beneath. The main surfaces have also been etched to simulate a patterned silk damask. It is also possible that the areas which are now white metal were originally heat-tinted so that they took on a rich, iridescent blue-purple colour. This armour was sculpted, etched, gilt and possibly blued, all to strengthen the illusion that it was not metal but flowing cloth.