The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Gauntlet
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Italy
  • c. 1570
  • Steel and gold, etched and gilded
  • Weight: 1.01 kg
  • A278
  • European Armoury I
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Right locking gauntlet, with a deep, bell-shaped cuff with roped edge, two metacarpal and mitten of five plates, the last of these being prolonged to reach round the lower edge of the cuff. The cuff is pierced with two key-hole slots, presumably for the attachment of a strap to hold the finger-lames closed. The latter, and the two metacarpal plates, are decorated with bands of scrollwork etched and gilt, with engrailed (toothed) borders. The five plates covering the fingers are decorated with scrolled foliage, etched and gilt overall. The missing thumb-plates were attached by a leather for which internal rivets exist. The decoration upon the cuff of this gauntlet closely resembles that upon the vamplate A346, and the close-helmet A191 to which it may belong.

    In a close or locking-gauntlet the plate covering the finger-tips is prolonged to reach round to the lower edge of the cuff where it is locked by a turning-pin or stud; but in this case no trace of such a fastening remains, which is hard to explain. When a gauntlet was locked it was impossible to wrest a weapon from the wearer's hand. Lord Dillon states (Armourer's Album, p. 3) that: 'This gauntlet was only used in the tourney or melée, as neither lance nor war-sword could be used with it. In early days such a defence was not allowed, hence its occasional name of forbidden gauntlet, but in the later days of the tourney it was universally used, as may be seen in its frequent recurrence in the MS.'