The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Demi-shaffron
  • Hanns Lutzenberger (before 1505 - 1563) , Armourer
  • Jörg Sorg II (c. 1522), Etcher
  • Augsburg, Germany
  • 1550
  • Steel, gold and copper alloy, etched, gilded, and embossed
  • Weight: 1.005 kg
  • A356
  • European Armoury II
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Half-shaffrons, which protected only the top half of the horse’s head, were commonly worn in jousts and on the battlefields of the mid- to late- sixteenth century. In the former role a full shaffron was not necessary since the horse was almost entirely protected by the high, planked tilt that prevented the two oncoming jousters from colliding, with only the ears and poll being at times exposed. In war the half-shaffron was included in garniture configurations designed for light and medium cavalry combat, when the rider was also less heavily armoured. Some examples were fitted with attachment points for a extension to protect the horse’s nose and lower face, which was added when the rider reconfigured his armour for heavy cavalry use.

    This fine half-shaffron appears to have formed part of an armour recorded in the design book of Jörg Sorg, one of the greatest South German etchers (1548-63, Wurttembergische Landesbibliothek, Stuttgart, Cod. milit. 24, fol. 11v). This album of work contains an illustration of a field armour decorated in the same manner as the Wallace Collection shaffron, above which is written Disen feldkuris hab ich dem Hans Lutzenberger gheez dem don Andreas de Ribera 1550 (‘I etched this field armour for Hans Lutzenberger; belongs to Don Andreas de Ribera 1550’). The coat-of-arms of the patron is also illustrated. The arms in the album are a mirror image of those etched on the escutcheon of the Wallace Collection shaffron, but it is almost certain that they are intended to be the same Ribera arms (Or, three bars vert), impaled with the cauldron device of another family, possibly Guzman or Pacheco.

    Original documentation relating to an extant armour is rare, pictorial records or designs even rarer. Sorg’s drawing is therefore highly important as it provides a way of understanding the artists’ original intentions, and in this case, the appearance of the whole armour, since only three small parts are presently known to survive: the Wallace Collection shaffron, and tournament reinforces for the bevor and skull (‘gupfe’) in the Museo Stibbert, Florence (inv. nos. 2813 and 2822). None of these pieces are illustrated in the album which shows only the field armour and shield. However Sorg included an annotation which explains that the garniture included other pieces that are not shown: Mer 2 hauben ain sattell ain halben stirn ain grose spanerell ain bertli und ain gupffen duernier hentschuch (‘Furthermore 2 helmets, a saddle, a half-shaffron, a large pauldron, a reinforcing bevor, and a gupfe <and a> tourney gauntlet’). The ‘gupfe’ and ‘reinforcing bevor’ are those now in Florence, while the mention of a ‘half-shaffron’ refers to the piece now in the Wallace Collection.