The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Target
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Italy
  • c. 1580
  • Steel, gold, leather and textile, etched and gilded
  • Diameter: 49.5 cm
    Weight: 3.2 kg
  • A337
  • European Armoury II
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Round shield or target, slightly convex, with flattened border, the central spike of diamond section. Etched with five radiating bands containing strapwork and symbolical figures. The triangular areas between them are similarly filled with trophies and grotesque animals. The figures represented on the bands are Justice, Hercules with the Pillars of Hades, Judith with the head of Holofernes, Salome with the head of St. John the Baptist and Truth. The border is decorated with interlaced strapwork involving grotesque animals, birds and figures; the edge has a row of round-headed, steel rivets for lining band. There are traces of gilding on the bands and border. At the back two steel buckles, with leather for the enarmes, remain, also a steel strap into which the central spike is screwed; the buckles are secured in the front by rivets with four-sided heads (compare with A330). There is an old patch inside near the centre. The border is edged with red fringe, a restoration.

    The decoration is very similar to that of an infantry armour from the armoury of the Earls of Pembroke at Wilton House, which is signed on the breastplate POMPEO (i.e. Pompeo della Cesa). There is a pair of tassets for service on foot for a boy in the Museo Stibbert, Florence (1917-18 Cat., no. 2327). A round target with very similar decoration was in the collection of Edwin J. Brett. This was sold at Christie's, 18-26 March 1895, lot 398 (repr. in cat.), but a note in the hand of the late F. H. Cripps Day in his own copy of the sale catalogue indicates that in his view it was modern (catalogue in the library of the Collection). Another, formerly in the Stafford collection (sold Christie's, 28 March 1885, lot 103), is now in the Victoria and Albert Museum (M.108-1921). Also with similar decoration are breastplate, cabasset, and a right field arm in the Museo Stibbert, Florence (1917-18 Cat., no. 1962).