The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Parade shield
  • Parade shield
  • Hieronymus Spacinus
  • Milan, Italy
  • after 1556
  • Steel, copper alloy, velvet and gold, blued, etched and gilded
  • Diameter: 58 cm
    Weight: 4.66 kg
  • Inscription: 'H I E R ·S P A C I N V S · M E D I O · B O N · F A C I E B A T' 'Made at Bologna by Hieronymus (or Geronimo) Spacinus of Milan'
  • A334
  • European Armoury II
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Parade shield, circular and convex, with a flat rim, the outer edge heavily roped and bordered with brass-headed rivets for the lining band (these are secured on the inner side by brass, rosette-shaped washers); in the centre a spike, square in section, with moulded base, springing from the two leaf-shapes rosettes; beneath is incised the maker's name:



    ('Made at Bologna by Hieronymus (or Geronimo) Spacinus of Milan'.)

    At the back is a broad band of steel to which the enarmes were secured; these are now missing, but the original lining of green (formerly blue) velvet with traces of fringe, remains.

    The entire surface is etched with series of cartouches arranged in four concentric circles. These are framed within entwined serpents and dolphins, and are filled with scenes executed with skill and delicacy, fully gilt on a blued ground.

    The innermost circle, surrounding the acanthus in the centre, contains the twelve signs of the Zodiac. In the next are twelve subjects from classical mythology:

    (1) Mercury destroying Argus, with Io, in the form of a heifer, in the background;

    (2) The fall of the Phaethon;

    (3) The Rape of Europa;

    (4) The Dragon devouring the companions of Cadmus;

    (5) Perseus cutting off the head of Medusa;

    (6) King Lycaon preparing human flesh;

    (7) Jupiter changing the Lycian peasants into frogs to avenge their treatment of Latona;

    (8) Apollo flaying Marsyas;

    (9) Jason taking the Golden Fleece;

    (10) Hercules carrying off the Apples of Hesperides;

    (11) Dædalus and Icarus flying from Crete;

    (12) Apollo pursuing Daphne.

    The third circle deals with events in the life of the Emperor Charles V. These have been taken from the designs of Marten van Heemskerck (van Veen), which were engraved by Dirck Volkertsz Coornhert, and first published by Hieronymus Cock of Antwerp in 1556. The etcher has, for reasons of space, omitted many of the details and some of the figures shown in the prints, and has varied the order of the series: no. V of the prints appearing in the third place on the shield, while nos. III and IV occupy the fourth and fifth places.
    The incidents represented are dated and described on the prints by the title in Latin, and a verse beneath in Spanish and French (see Thomas Kerrick, A Catalogue of the Prints… engraved after Martin Heemskerck, Cambridge, 1829.)

    (1) The Emperor Charles V seated on his Throne, 1555, on the Emperor's right hand stand Pope Clement VII and the Sultan Suleymán I (the figure of the King of France in the print is omitted); on the left is Philip, Landgrave of Hesse and the Duke of Cleeves (the Elector of Saxony being omitted). In the print these figures are held prisoners by two bands that proceed from the eagle's beak (except the Turk Suleymán, who is represented as about to take his departure: le Turcq print la fuyte): these bands are omitted on the shield (Skelton I, pl. LIV, fig. 1; Kerrich, p. 108).

    (2) The Capture of Francis I at the Battle of Pavia in 1525 (Skelton I, pl. LIV, fig. 2; Kerrich, p. 109).

    (3) The Raising of the Siege of Vienna, 1529. Although the Emperor is represented in person, it was not until the campaign of 1532 that he was personally opposed to Suleymán I. This subject is no. V in the series of prints; the representation of Vienna in the background has been omitted (Skelton I, pl. LV, fig. 1, Kerrich, p. 110).

    (4) The Death of Charles, Duc de Bourbon, at the Sack of Rome in 1527. The duke is represented as falling from a scaling ladder. This subject is no. III of the engravings (Skelton I, pl. LV, fig. 2, Kerrich, p. 110).

    (5) Pope Clement VII besieged in the Castle of Sant' Angelo, 1527. A trumpeter, having passed the statues of St. Peter and St. Paul is sounding the summons to surrender; above is the Pope and two cardinals. This incident is no. IV of the engravings (Skelton I, pl. LVI, fig. 1, Kerrich, p. 110).

    (6) The Deliverance of the New World, 1530. Portions of human flesh are being roasted over a fire; on the left is a man being disembowelled: Les Indiens vivans de chair humaine En cruaulte incomparable à dire Sont convaincuz par la puissance haultaine. This represents the state of life from which the New World was delivered by Charles's discoveries and conquests (Skelton I, pl. LVI, fig. 2, Kerrich, p. 110).

    (7) The Entry into Tunis after the defeat of Barbarossa in 1535. The engraver of the shield has omitted the banner in the foreground bearing the crescent and stars, and the archway giving access to Tunis is but slightly indicated (Skelton I, pl. LVII, fig. 1, Kerrich, p. 111).

    (8) The Submission of the Duke of Cleves in 1543. The Duke is on his knees offering a shield charged with the arms of Gelderland, to which duchy he resigned all pretensions; a supporting figure, with banner and keys is omitted (Skelton I, pl. LVII, fig. 2, Kerrich, p. 111).

    (9) The Arrival of reinforcements under Maximilian, Count of Buren, in 1546. This incident is given a minor place in the composition, but van Heemskerck, being a Fleming, has given it first place in the inscription; Charles appears three times in the engravings and twice on the shield, and it is the victorious ending of the campaign of 1546 that is chiefly represented (Skelton I, pl. LVIII, fig. 1, Kerrich, p. 112).

    (10) The Surrender of the Elector of Saxony after his defeat at Mühlberg in 1547. Charles, mounted, is shown with his brother, Ferdinand, King of the Romans, on the right; on the left may be the elector's kinsman and enemy, Maurice, Duke of Saxony, to whom his territory and the electoral hat were resigned (Skelton I, pl. LVIII, fig. 2, Kerrich, p. 112).

    (11) The Submission of the Protestant Cities in 1547. Three kneeling figures surrender their keys to the Emperor (in the engraving there are five); this presumably not a particular incident, but the conditions following the dispersal of the League of Schmalkalde, when Protestantism was at the feet of the Emperor (Skelton I, pl. LIX, fig. 1, Kerrich, p. 113).

    (12) The Submission of Philip, Landgrave of Hesse, in 1547. Philip is on his knees before Charles, who is surrounded by the seven electors (the etcher of the shield has omitted three)–
    Comme vng aigneau en toute humilite
    Icy se rend le Lantgrave a mercy
    Au bon vouloir de sa grand' Maieste
    Qui l' a receu humainement aussy.
    (Skelton I, Pl. LIX, Fig 2, Kerrich, p. 113).

    The fourth circle, which covers the rim, has twelve oblong panels containing the following biblical subjects:–

    (1) The Creation of the World;
    (2) The Creation of Adam;
    (3) The Creation of Eve;
    (4) The Fall;
    (5) The Voice of the Lord God;
    (6) The Expulsion;
    (7) Adam and Eve toiling;
    (8) The Death of Abel;
    (9) The Punishment of Cain;
    (10) Noah commanded to build the Ark;
    (11) The Deluge;
    (12) the Sacrifice on Ararat.

    Nothing is known about Geronimo Spacini of Milian apart from his signature on this shield. In the Metropolitan Museum at New York there is an embossed shield also based on a drawing by van Heemskerck in the British Museum, depicting Charles V taking prisoner the Elector of Saxony at the Battle of Mühlberg (Mackay sale, Christie's, 27th July, 1939, lot 60; now Metropolitan Museum of Art inv. no. 42.50.5, see Grancsay, 'A parade shield of Charles V', Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s. VIII, 1949-50, pp. 122-32).

    This is the first shield in the list of arms and armour acquired by Meyrick from Domenic Colnaghi, about 1818. The list, which is now in the Library of the Royal Armouries, states that it came from the collection of 'the Count Branchettes (of Bologna)', and had been in that family for a number of years.