The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Partial armour
  • Partial armour
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Nuremberg, Germany
  • c. 1550
  • Iron or steel and leather, blackened
  • Weight: 11.325 kg, total weight
  • Mark: Nuremberg guild mark Stamped
    Armourer's mark: Possibly initials
  • A41
  • European Armoury III
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Black and white armours were made in very large numbers throughout the second half of the sixteenth century. They were made almost exclusively in
    the German lands, particularly in Nuremberg, the largest mass-producer of armour in the 1500s. As well as being used by German armies, black and white armours were exported all over Europe and were popular as far afield as Scotland and Ireland. While many are roughly-made ‘munitions-grade’ pieces, produced quickly, cheaply and according to designs that were simple and functional, the style was also at times favoured by officers and noblemen. A41 is, of the three black and white armours in the Wallace Collection, of a medium level of quality. The polished bands are plain and simple but well-executed, being slightly recessed into the plates. The main surfaces around them have been painted black. The overall impression of this armour is quite plain and yet quite elegant at the same time.

    Often it is impossible to say whether an armour like this would have been worn by an infantryman or horseman. The breastplate of A41 is not pierced for a lance-rest, which could be interpreted as evidence that this is an infantry armour. However, medium cavalry and pistoleer cavalry often no longer carried the spear, fighting almost exclusively with firearms, so for them the lance-rest would also have been unnecessary.