The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Armet
  • Attributed to Konrad Seusenhofer (c. 1465 - 1517) , Armourer
  • Innsbruck, Germany
  • 1511
  • Medium-carbon steel, hardened through full-quenching and tempering
  • Weight: 1.94 kg
  • A154
  • European Armoury I
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • This armet, together with the matching pair of complete leg defences with sabatons (A286-7), is almost all that is left of a once spectacular armour made in the court workshop of the German Emperor Maximilian I (1459- 1519). The only other surviving piece appears to be a gauntlet, bearing the date ‘1511’, in Abbotsford in Scotland, part of the collection formed by Sir Walter Scott in the early nineteenth century.

    The armour was the work of Konrad Seusenhofer, Maximilian’s court armourer and master of his famous workshop at Innsbruck. The pieces are decorated with acid-etching, an early instance of this form of armour decoration, the etched bands containing scrolling foliage and pomegranates. The pomegranate was one of Maximilian’s personal devices; many of his portraits show him holding one of these seed-filled fruits, a symbol of the suffering and resurrection of Jesus, the husk as it splits reveals the red droplets inside-an immediate reminder of the Passion.

    Maximilian was a great armour-enthusiast. He worked closely with his court armourers to create new, ground-breaking armour designs. He had many armours, for war, jousts, tournaments and parades, including several others in a very similar style to the one to which these pieces once belonged. Parts of another of these armours, the leg armour, vambraces, and gauntlets, now are incorporated into a composite armour at Vienna (inv. no. A110), while Maximilian is depicted wearing similar armours in numerous printed portraits and on the kneeling figure that surmounts his cenotaph at Innsbruck (c. 1555-65). A similar helmet, attributed to Konrad Seusenhofer, is in the Victoria and Albert Museum (inv. no. M2708-1931).