The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Backplate
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Germany
  • c. 1480
  • Iron or steel, fluted
  • Weight: 2.13 kg
  • A208
  • European Armoury I
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Backplate in the German 'Gothic' style, composed of seven plates. The main plate covering the upper part of the back is cut to a V-shape at the top and the space so made is filled by a separate plate, attached by three rivets. It is articulated by a narrow lame to a fourth plate covering the small of the back. To this is attached a skirt of three plates. The whole is elegantly embossed with pleated flutes and the edges are cut into cusps corresponding with the flutes. That the second plate from the top is missing is shown by the fact that the flutes do not coincide. The uppermost lame of the skirt is also missing.The round holes in the centre of the back were probably made at a much later date. On the narrow centre plate is a scored mark which has in the past been thought to resemble the mark of an armourer or assessor, but was in fact made by a modern drill, slipping as an attempt was made to bore a new hole in the plate.
    Two old buckles are attached to the shoulders.

    Compare to the backplate of Wallace Collection A21, and one from the Hearst Collection in the Royal Armouries (III.1287).
    Thipiece s is a good example of its kind. Most multi-plate Gothic back-plates with pleated flutings are of German origin, but armour 'alla tedesca' (in the German fashion) was also produced in Italy. Compare that in the painting of The Massacre of the Innocents by Matteo di Giovanni, dated 1482, in the church of Sant' Agostino at Siena (Archaeologia, LXXX, p. 136, Pl. XXIX, 5).