The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Parade shield
  • Parade shield
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • North Italy
  • c. 1580 - c. 1600
  • Steel, gold and silver, embossed, chased and damascened
  • Diameter: 58.3 cm
    Weight: 3.29 kg
  • A331
  • European Armoury I
Commentary
History
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Parade shield or target, circular, the centre convex, the border flat; embossed and chased with traces of damascening in gold and silver; the outer edge rounded and turned under; a row of rivet holes for the lining band, but no rivets remain. It is embossed in the centre with a depiction of Samson and Delilah: Samson is represented asleep reclining on the knees of Delilah, who holds aloft a lock of his hair which an attendant is cutting off; a band of soldiers enters on the left; above, beyond a flight of steps, Samson is again seen as a captive in the hall of the Philistines. The border is embossed with chimaeras, seated figures and four pairs of putti holding square panels, roughly but minutely etched with horsemen. The damascened is now much worn and only traces remain. Eight rivets (or their holes) remain for securing the arm and hand-loops.

    The central scene, which is taken from Judges, XVI, 19, is based on an engraving by Philip Galle after Maarten van Heemskerk (Hollstein, Dutch and Flemish etchings, engravings, and woodcuts, 1450-1700, VII, n.d., nos. 33-8). A round target decorated with the same scene but by a different and more accomplished hand, formerly in the Medicean armoury, is in the Bargello, Florence (no. M780; exhibited Florence, 1971, vetr. 7, figs. 22 and 23). A round target embossed with the same subject, but with a different border, was in the collection of Baron Percy (sold Paris, Boucher, 15 June 1825 and following days, lot 21).