The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Full armour
  • Full armour
  • Wolfgang Grosschedel (1517 - 1562) , (some elements including breastplate)
  • Landshut and Augsburg, Germany, and France
  • c. 1550- c.1570 and 19th century
  • Steel, copper alloy, velvet and leather, etched
  • Weight: 3.41 kg, helmet
    Weight: 1.048 kg, gorget
    Weight: 2.25 kg, breastplate
    Weight: 1.23 kg, pauldron (left)
    Weight: 1.16 kg, pauldron (right)
    Weight: 1.615 kg, vambraces
    Weight: 0.595 kg, gauntlet (left)
    Weight: 0.439 kg, gauntlet (right)
    Weight: 2.551 kg, legs in all (left)
    Weight: 2.579 kg, legs in all (right)
    Weight: 1.771 kg, demi-shaffron
    Weight: 7.71 kg, saddle
  • Armourer's mark: Wolfgang Grosschedel trace
    Mark: Landshut guild mark trace
    Mark: Augsburg guild mark
  • A34
  • European Armoury III
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Incorporating some good elements, this armour is without doubt one of the most heavily reworked and restored in the Wallace Collection. The best quality elements were made in the workshop of Wolfgang Grosschedel, court armourer to King Philip II of Spain and one of the great masters of the south German city of Landshut. They are part of a very large series of joust and tournament garnitures generally known as the ‘running-vine’ series, after the style of the strapwork bands and borders, which are filled with undulating, flowering vines etched with breathtaking skill. The best original parts of this armour, belonging to the running-vine series are the breastplate, shaffron, manifer or jousting gauntlet for the left hand, and saddle steels.

    The rest of the armour is a patchwork of other 16th-century elements combined with old pieces re-etched in the 19th century, and completely modern fabrications.

    The arm and leg defences come from a completely different armour, made in Augburg in the middle of the 16th century. These pieces are clearly distinguished from the Landshut parts by their scaled edges, which is not part of the running-vine system of decoration, and by the ornament filling the recessed bands, which involves musical instruments, weapons, pieces of armour and other objects, rather than vines. They are also stamped with the city mark of Augsburg.

    The helmet is a study in 19th century interference. The skull is an original, but the etched decoration has been much refreshed. The pivoted bevor is also a 16th-century piece, but, originally plain and undecorated, was etched in an attempt to match it to the skull in the 19th century. The visor meanwhile is entirely modern, of an inauthentic form, and etched in a skilful but unconvincing way.

    Overall the armour now bears little resemblance to any of the armours from which any of the authentic elements come, and the value and interest of the good elements as single pieces greatly outweigh the significance of the assembly overall.