The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Target
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Italy
  • c. 1560
  • Wood, black cuir bouilli, leather, velvet, iron or steel, hair and gold, embossed, tooled and gilded
  • Diameter: 56.3 cm
    Weight: 2.66 kg
  • A312
  • European Armoury III
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Circular shield or target, similar in style to Wallace Collection A310-11. The basis is of wood, convex and covered with black boiled leather embossed and tooled. In the centre, within the wreath, is probably Bellerophon mounted on Pegasus, attacking a lion, surrounded by a broad band containing four wreathed rondels representing Mucius Scaevola, Marcus Curtius leaping into the pit, a standing warrior and a unicorn. Between the rondels are interlaced strapwork foliage and Roman cuirasses. On the interior, which is also cover in black leather, are leafy arabesques and two circular panels with the figure of Marcus Curtius and Macius Scaevola again; in the centre an oblong panel of green (perhaps once blue) velvet, padded with hair and fringed with gilt-wire braid. The velvet covering of one of the leather loops for the arm remains.

    A leather-covered target with four Virtues within circular wreathes in the border is in the De Walden collection at Dean Castle, Kilmarnock.

    The main scene on the front probably represents Bellerophon, the son of Glaucus king of Corinth, mounted on Pegasus, attacking the Chimera, which is traditionally a lion-like beast with a second griffin-like head, in this case missing.
    The leather of the back bears traces of gildin

    Very similar borders, including some of the subsidiary figures, occur on a target formerly in the Wartburg and now in the Deutsches Ledermuseum at Offenbach am Main (1974 Cat., No. 1.36.21). Gall (loc. cit.) groups this one with A312, and ascribes them to Milan about 1550. A target with precisely the same central design and the same border, but with different figures within the smaller wreaths in the border, is in the Armeria Reale at Turin (No. F26; Mazini, 1982, No. 95). The same version of the figure of Mucius Scaevola as on A312 is on a target also at Turin (No. F27; Mazzini, 1982, No. 96).