The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Cuirass
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • North Italy
  • c. 1570
  • Steel, etched
  • Weight: 2.74 kg
  • A222
  • European Armoury III
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • 'Waistcoat' cuirass, the breastplate of moderate peascod shape, formed of two plates opening down the front in the manner of a civilian doublet. The backplate is built in three pieces, and consists of a central plate to which are hinged two side-pieces, which are riveted to the two halves of the breastplate; the side-pieces are kept in position at the top by rivet-heads fitting into slots. The breastplate is secured down the front by turning-pins at top and bottom, and has down the middle a vertical row of conical steel studs simulating buttons. The bottom edges are flanged to carry a skirt which is missing. It was formerly completed by articulated lames at the neck. See also A223-4.

    The decoration consists of bands of etched ornament, comprising trophies, weapons and pieces of armour on a granulated ground in the so-called 'Pisan' manner. The central band on both breast and backplates is widened at the top with scrolled borders, and the space is filled with a male and female figure in classical dress. On the corresponding place on the backplate, is an oval cartouche containing the standing figure of a Roman warrior. Between the bands the intervening free spaces are divided by an incised vertical line entwined with a climbing plant.

    The side-pieces are kept in position at the top by a horizontal slot in the rear edge of each which fits under a domed rivet head on each side of the back.
    The 'climbing plant', forming part of the decoration, is trefoliate and forms a zig-zag across a straight line.