The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Full armour
  • Full armour
  • Probably Anton Peffenhauser (c. 1525 - 1603) , Armourer
  • Augsburg, Germany
  • c. 1580
  • Steel, gold and copper alloy, etched and gilt, possibly once blued
  • Weight: 21.596 kg, total weight
  • Marks: two punched dots
    Marks: file-mark numbering assembly marks
    Marks: file-mark numbering assembly marks
    Marks: file-mark numbering assembly marks
    Marks: file-mark numbering assembly marks
    Marks: file-mark numbering assembly marks
    Mark: Augsburg guild mark
  • A39
  • European Armoury III
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • By the middle of the 16th century, court festivals and spectacles were an essential part of aristocratic and diplomatic life. Parades, pageants and tournaments built around highly elaborate, often allegorical themes were the height of fashion. Such events accomplished a number of important functions simultaneously. As well as fulfilling the ancient desire to show off the fighting and riding prowess of the warrior class, Renaissance jousts and tournaments also demonstrated the literary awareness and visual imagination of the host. Armour was obviously of vital importance for such events, being a practical requirement for the combats but also of tremendous dramatic value for events which were becoming increasingly theatrical. Participants often commissioned rich armours for use in particularly important events, while the wealthiest nobleman sometimes ordered whole series of armours in order to arm an entire tournament team. Because most 16th-century tournaments involved several different types of combat, these armours usually took the form of garnitures including exchange pieces for all forms of combat.

    Tournament festivals were nowhere more popular than in the German lands. Perhaps the most commercially successful of all Renaissance German armourers was Anton Peffenhauser of Augsburg, today most famous for several large tournament garniture series produced for German clients, particularly the Saxon Court at Dresden and the Bavarian court at Munich. The Wallace Collection includes seven composite armours which originate in the Peffenhauser workshop; six are made up of pieces from a large undecorated series, possibly made for the Bavarian court, while this one, the seventh, is decorated with elegant etched and gilt foliage and may have also been made for use in Munich. However its decoration is closely similar to that found on a series of twelve armours for foot combat at the barriers made by Peffenhauser in 1591 for Christian I of Saxony (now in museums throughout the world, including the Royal Armouries, Leeds, the State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York). Most of this armour compares quite well to the Saxon group, and indeed its helmet, cuirass, vambraces and possibly upper parts of the tassets are all of the same design for the same martial discipline. The pauldrons appear instead to be intended for the field, as is, apparently, the leg armour. The gauntlets were once plain and were etched to match the rest of the armour at a much later date. So like the other Peffenhauser armours in the Wallace collection, this one is composed in the majority of very good elements, but they are now combined in way somewhat unlike its original configuration.