The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Cuirass
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • North Italy
  • c. 1580
  • Iron or steel and copper alloy, etched
  • Weight: 3.54 kg
  • A223
  • European Armoury III
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • 'Waistcoat' cuirass, the breastplate of peascod shape formed of two plates opening down the front in the manner of a civilian doublet. The base is flanged at the waist, the edge sunk, turned under and roped. Th backplate is made in three pieces, the outer plates hinged to the centre one and riveted at their outer edges to the two halves of the breastplate. Two studs at the top, which fit into slots, keep the outer plates in position. The breastplate is secured at the top with a turning-pin, and at the bottom, on the flange, by a hook-and-eye. The edge of the overlapping plate carries a vertical row of conical-headed studs simulating buttons. At the neck is a gorget-plate, or collar, also divided into three parts, with roped edge.

    The decoration consists of vertical, etched bands of trophies of arms, monsters and deeply etched ox-skulls on a granulated ground. At the top of the central band on the breastplate are two figures in classical dress, while in a similar position at the back is a shaped cartouche with a male figure supporting a brazier. The spaces between the bands are relieved with festoons of drapery and oval cartouches containing nude figures. The flange at the waist is etched with acanthus foliage. Brass-headed rivets for lining bands. The surface is much corroded. The flange of the waist in front has been repaired by a patch.