The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Vamplate
  • Franz Grosschedel (active between: 1555 - 1578/9)
  • Landshut, Germany
  • c. 1571
  • Steel, copper alloy and gold, etched, gilded and blackened
  • Diameter: 29.8 cm
    Diameter: 6.4 cm, lance opening
    Weight: 1.3 kg
  • A342
  • European Armoury II
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Vamplate, cone-shaped and circular in form, the forward edge bevelled, the main outer edge turned under and bordered with modern, brass-headed-rivets for the lining band. Etched with three radiating bands and a border containing interlaced rose-branches, gilt on a blackened and granulated ground, the bands edged with gilt rose-leaves and blackened thorns; the three plain intermediate surfaces are boldly etched and gilt with the arms of the Emperor Ferdinand I (quarterly, Hungary and Bohemia with the Hapsburg insignia in pretence); the shield is ensigned by the Imperial crown and encircled with the collar of the Golden Fleece; the three plain segments are each pierced in the centre with a pair of small holes.

    This vamplate belongs to the same harness as the shaffron A359, the famous ' Rosenblattgarnitur' (rose-leaf garniture) made for the Emperor Maximilian II by Franz Grosschedel of Landshut, for the tournament held in celebration of the marriage of Archduke Charles II of Styria and Maria of Bavaria in 1571. The attribution to Franz Grosschedel was first put forward tentatively by B. Thomas in the catalogue of Art treasures from Vienna at the Tate Gallery, London, in 1949, no. 577, and more firmly by A. von Reitzenstein in 'Die Landshuter Plattner Wolfgang und Franz Grosschedel’, Münchner Jahrbuch der bildenden Kunst, V, 1954, pp. 142-53. See also Gamber, Thomas, and Schedelmann, Die schönsten Waffen and Rüstungen, 1963, no. 51. Two helmets belonging to this garniture, apparently for the free tourney and foot combat at the barriers, are now in the Musée de l' Armée, Paris (H.97, H.98). A plain upper visor of exchange for H.98 (without the holes in the brow for attachment of the tourney reinforce) is, or was, in Berlin (Z.H.W.K., XIV, 1935-6, p. 90). A shaffron, crinet, rein-guards, demi-shaffron and pair of flanchards from the Rosenblatt horse armour are also in Paris (G.577), as is a left gauntlet (G.65). The shield for the joust in the German fashion is in the Royal Armouries (III.874; Dufty and Reid, 1968, PI. CXXXIII, top right). A poll-plate, perhaps for the demi-shaffron in Paris (which is now missing that plate) is in the Museo Stibbert, Florence (1917-18., no. 2440).

    Franz Grosschedel is first recorded in 1555 acting as agent for his father, Wolfgang, probably for the so-called 'Cloud Garniture' now in Madrid (see A34). In 1556 he received the citizenship of Landshut. In 1566 he was appointed court armourer to Duke Albrecht V of Bavaria. In 1568, as well as being paid for six Kürass for various Bavarian princes, he was paid by the Emperor Maximilian II. In 1570, while working for the Elector of Saxony, he excused himself to complete some armour for the Emperor. In 1572 he was paid the enormous sum of 2550 florins for an armour for Maximilian II, presumably the Rosenblattgarnitur. In 1575 he was paid 600 florins for six armours for the Emperor, presumably for the use of his guards. Grosschedel is last mentioned in 1578-9, and his house in the New Town of Landshut was sold by his widow, Barabara Thir, in 1581. No mark is recorded for him. In addition to the Rosenblattgarnitur, von Reitzenstein attributes to him a number of pieces in the Wittelsbach collection and elsewhere (Von Reitzenstein, 1954, pp. 145-53).