The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Saddle steel
  • Saddle steel
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Italy or Spain
  • c. 1610
  • Steel, etched
  • Weight: 0.857 kg
  • A413
  • European Armoury II
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Front saddle steel, one of a pair with the rear plate A414. Formed of three plates. The upper borders are flanged with a hollow roping, within which is a sunken band etched with running foliage; the rest of the surface is entirely covered with crudely etched, strapwork ornament filled in with trophies of arms on coarse granulated ground. The middle plate contains a figure of Mars within an oval cartouche. The three pieces are pierced with eight circular holes in total for affixing them to the saddle tree, but they been joined together in recent times with nuts and bolts. The etching on the right side plate has probably been refreshed.

    The decoration on this example shows the decline of the art of armour-making towards the end of the sixteenth century and into the early seventeenth century. The trophies have been derived from the 'mops and brooms' ornament of late Milanese armour, and the scribbled granulated ground borrowed from the earlier German school. Armour of this type was used by Spanish troops in the Netherlands. Much of it was almost certainly imported from Lombardy, but some may have been made at Pamplona in Spain.