The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Full armour
  • Full armour
  • Wolfgang Grosschedel (1517 - 1562) , (breastplate)
  • Workshop of Anton Peffenhauser (c. 1525 - 1603)
  • Augsburg and Landshut, Germany
  • c. 1560- c. 1580
  • Steel, copper alloy, pierced
  • Weight: 24.72 kg, total weight
  • Mark: Three crescent-shaped marks Punched
    Armourer's mark: Probably 'LR'
    Mark: Bindenschild court mark of Austria
    Armourer's mark: Wolfgang Grosschedel of Landshut
    Mark: Five crescent-shaped marks Punched
    Mark: Three small dots Punched
    Mark: Four dots Punched
    Mark: Probably 'W' and a dot
    Mark: Pearled 'A'
  • A46
  • European Armoury III
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Like all of the Peffenhauser workshop armours in the Wallace Collection, this armour is made up of parts originally designed for different forms of joust and tournament. The leg armour would been worn in the free tourney (see A44), while the left vambrace is designed for the joust, having the small elbow reinforce typical of German jousting armours of this period. The breastplate is also quite out of place, having been made not in Augsburg but in Landshut, in the workshop of the great master Wolfgang Grosschedel. Otherwise, the majority of this armour best represents the equipment for foot combat at the barriers.

    By the late sixteenth century competitive tournament combat on foot had been popular for at least two hundred years, with specialised foot combat armour appearing towards the end of the fifteenth century. To reduce the risks and ensure that the combats remained ‘gentlemanly’, without chaotic or untidy occurrences such as wrestling or grappling, most foot combats from the 1520s onwards were fought over a waist-high wooden barrier. A pair of combatants faced each other on opposite sides of the barrier and struck at each other with spears or swords. The protection of the barrier meant that leg armour could be discarded and shoulder defences made more or less symmetrical. Close-helmets for foot combat at the barriers tended to be made very heavy, since the head was the most popular target, especially in contests with the sword. Since they must also stand up to blows struck with the spear, barriers helmets, like jousting helmets, tend also to have breaths only on the right side of the face, leaving a solid wall of steel to protect the more exposed left side. The joust may have been fought on horseback and the barriers on foot, but both were exercises in spear-play and thus involved some of the same safety imperatives.