The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Buckler
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Italy
  • c. 1540
  • Steel, silk, textile and leather, blackened
  • Height: 36 cm
    Width: 32.7 cm, top
    Width: 23.2 cm, bottom
    Weight: 1.2 kg
  • A318
  • European Armoury I
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Buckler, quadrangular, of blackened steel. The top wider than the bottom; the surface undulating vertically so that the middle is convex. In the centre is a long hook, surrounded by an oval, and outside this a rectangular, raised the bar for sword-catching; the borders have rivets for the attachments of the lining, which still remains. It is of striped silk backed by another textile and bordered with leather, the edges turned under. The grip has a hollow on each side of it to receive the thumb, so that it can be used in either hand. Compare A319.

    Shields of this kind were commonly used in civilian fencing and are depicted in Achille Marozzo's fencing book, Opera Nova (1536). There are two similar shields in the Czartoriski Collection at Cracow; three in the Hermitage at Leningrad (H 173); one was sold by the Metropolitan Museum, New York, Christie's, Nov., 1960, lot 93, and bought by Dr. Richard Williams (ex-Uboldo Collection).

    Shields of this type are illustrated by Giacomo di Grassi in his 'Ragione di adroprar sicuramente I' arme' (Venice 1570, p. 68), which he calls 'la targa'. 'I.G. gentleman', translated this in his 'Giacomo di Grassi his true arte of defence' (London, 1594, fol. K 4) as 'the Square Target'. Shields of this type are also illustrated in use in the Traitié d' escrime dedié au Roi Henri III, by G. A. Lovino of Milan, Bibl. Nat., Paris, MS. Ital. 959 (facsimile published by the Bibliotheque Nationale, n.d.).