The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Parade shield
  • Parade shield
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • France or Flanders
  • c. 1570
  • Low-carbon steel and copper alloy, annealed, embossed and chased
  • Diameter: 62.3 cm
    Weight: 4.1 kg
  • A321
  • European Armoury II
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Parade shield, circular, of bright steel, slightly convex with a central spike; the surface embossed and chased with a series of combats, the edges turned under, roped, and bordered with a row of brass-headed rivets for the lining band. The composition is divided into three sections by trees. One section shows horsemen in Roman armour fighting centaurs and satyrs, the other horsemen against armed men on foot. The border is embossed with oval gadroons and squares. Pierced with four pairs of holes and three others to secure the enarmes for the arm and hand.

    A circular shield embossed with fighting figures in similar attitudes, but without the trees, was in the possession of Arthur Sims of New York. A321 belongs to a group of embossed armour which has been the subject of much study, but on which no final decision has been made. It was the Baron de Cosson who first isolated it from the Italian embossed armour of this period by naming it tentatively 'the Louvre School' (Dino Catalogue, 1901, burgonet of Henri II, No. B 29, pp. 32-4; Laking IV pp. 182, 246, ect.). It has since been attributed to Eliseus Libaerts, a goldsmith-armourer of Antwerp (Cederström and Steneberg, 1945) and the Flemish attribution is supported by the existence of a backplate in the Metropolitan Museum, signed by D. G. V. Lochorst (see Grancsay, Sculpture in Armour, 1940). The influence of the School of Fontainebleau is clear and the number of French royal pieces in the same style makes de Cosson's suggestion tenable. It is, however, possible that there are two groups: one French and one Flemish. Other examples of the school are the helmet A172 and the shield A320 in the Wallace Collection; shields at Windsor, Stockholm and Turin; armour of Henri II in the Louvre, that of Christian II at Stockholm, and another at Warsaw; and the armour of Bernard von Weimar, formerly in Wartburg and now in the Metropolitan Museum, New York. A number of drawings, for details of decoration on some of these pieces are in the Graphische Sammlung at Munich (Thomas, Vienna Jahrbuch, LV (1959), pp. 31-74; designs by Etienne Delaune, ibid., LVI (1960), pp. 7-62; and Grancsay, Met. Mus. Bulletin, New York, Summer, 1959).