The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Target
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Italy
  • c. 1600
  • Wood, leather, iron and copper alloy
  • Diameter: 53 cm
    Weight: 1.73 kg
  • A316
  • European Armoury I
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • The buckler had been the companion of the military sword for centuries, and so it is no surprise to find its use discussed in civilian fencing books, despite the fact that it was a somewhat cumbersome thing to wear on one’s person as a matter of routine. Pre-arranged duels, such as the celebrated judicial combat fought in 1547 between Guy Chabot, Baron de Jarnac and François de Vivonne, sieur de La Châtaigneraye, did sometimes make use of them; buckler technique continued therefore to be taught in fencing schools, even as it fell out of favour on the street.

    The shield described as a ‘buckler’ in the sixteenth century was of two forms. The small fist-shield bucklers of the medieval period continued to be used, while at the same time Renaissance fencing masters also described their methods for fighting with a much larger circular shield, variously termed a buckler, target, or roundache. Such shields, especially those incorporated into garnitures of decorated armour, were made entirely of steel, although those used in a civilian fencing context were usually made of wood, sometimes reinforced with bands or plates of steel or iron. Such shields, being somewhat like those of the ancient world, also evoked images of Classical heroes in the Renaissance imagination; hence this large round shield became the standard form for rich parade shields decorated with subjects drawn from ancient mythology. This association may also have led some masters, notably Camillo Agrippa, to place some of their sword-and-target men in Classical costume.