The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Gorget
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • France or South Germany
  • c. 1630
  • Copper and gold, embossed, chased and gilded
  • Weight: 0.41 kg, front
    Weight: 0.43 kg, back
  • A239
  • European Armoury III
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Gorget, of two single plates of copper gilt. The front plate is embossed and chased with a composition of King David playing the harp in the centre of a ring of dancing cherubs. The rear plate is similarly decorated in relief with a mounted combat between a Turk and two Christian warriors in Roman armour. Both plates have a raised border chased with laurel. Around the extreme edge of the plates, at intervals of about an inch, are a series of small semicircular projections in which are pierced the holes for the lining rivets. There is a further row of holes around the neck for the same purpose. The gorget is fastened with a stud on the left side of the backplate. The pivot on the other shoulder is missing.

    A gorget of gilt copper, with decoration similar in style, was in the Gurney sale, Christie's, 1898, lot 279.
    Compare the gorget of gilt copper in the Hermitage, Leningrad (Gille, pls. LX and CXXIX) embossed with Neptune, with fleurs-de-lys on a banner, and a scene with prisoners on the backplate. There is another at the Armeria Reale, Turin (C51; L. Avogardo di Quaregna, 1898, I, Pl. 60). The contemporary embossed gorget of Louis XIII in the Musée de l' Armée (G249) retains its escalloped and embroidered silk lining.

    Although in 1974 C. Blair tentatively suggested that A239 might be by the same hand as a gorget at Waddesdon Manor (No. 6), he subsequently changed his mind on this point. J. A. Godoy has recently shown that No. A239 belongs to a small group of gorgets and other pieces, the decoration of which is based on engravings by Antonio Tempesta (see also A238). The scene on the back plate of A239 derives from the central figures of one of a series of ten battle scenes executed at Rome in 1599 ('Quelque jalons sur l' influence d'Antonio Tempesta ( 1555-1630) dans Part des armuriers', Geneva, n.s. XXIX, 1981, pp. 122-3, pls. 31 and 29, respectively).
    The main scene on the front is based in reverse on an engraving by Johannes Sadeler I (1550-about 1600) after Pieter de Witte, called Candido (Holstein, Dutch and Flemish etchings, engravings, and woodcuts, 1150-1700, XXI, 1980, No. 127), the original drawing for which is discussed by K. G. Boon, Netherlandish drawings 15th and 16th centuries, 1978, No. 494.