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
  • France
  • c. 1640
  • Iron or steel, copper alloy, gold, leather and paint, fluted, gilded, blackened and painted
  • Weight: 2.466 kg, helmet
    Weight: 0.581 kg, gorget
    Weight: 1.601 kg, breastplate
    Weight: 1.686 kg, backplate
    Weight: 3.628 kg, pauldron (left)
    Weight: 3.756 kg, pauldron (right)
    Weight: 0.411 kg, gauntlet (left)
    Weight: 0.425 kg, gauntlet (right)
  • A66
  • European Armoury III
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Far from being rendered immediately obsolete by the advent of firearms, full plate armour and gunpowder weapons coexisted on the battlefields of Europe for over two hundred years. By the 17th century the mounted man-at-arms had been transformed into the cuirassier, a heavily armoured horseman who was equipped primarily with firearms (pistols and a carbine); he also continued to carry a sword.

    This composition is made up of parts from several different cuirassier armours dating from the mid-17th century. The close-helmet is of the typical French form, with wide sights and a fluted skull made in two pieces.

    The cuirass of the armour shows significant traces of fire-gilding on its hinges and clasps, which would have stood out dramatically against the blackened surfaces of the plates themselves. The breastplate also retains a notable amount of painted decoration, in the form of heraldic lilies and letter 'r's in miniscule picked out in red and white. The left breast also carries two symbols, a star and what appears to be a harp.