The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Cuirass
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Italy
  • c. 1520
  • Iron or steel
  • Weight: 3.305 kg, breastplate
    Weight: 1.885 kg, backplate
  • A216
  • European Armoury III
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Cuirass, composed of a breastplate of globose form, with slight central ridge; strongly flanged at the neck and armpits where it is boldly roped with double incisions. On the right side are four rectangular projections pierced with oblong holes for a lance-rest. An unusual feature is that it is joined to the backplate by a large, applied hinge on the left side; backplate, less strongly ridged at the armpits and neck. The edges accompanied by a slightly raised border. It is fastened to the breastplate by straps and buckles over the shoulders and a pin engaging in one of two holes on the right side, and a hinge on the left. The straps are secured by rosette-headed rivets. The strap and buckle at the waist are later.

    This breastplate shows both German and Italian features. The lance-rest is attached by a row of staples and a locking-pin in the Italian manner. Cuirasses made in Germany do not normally link together by a hinge at the side and in this case the hinge, which is of iron, is of Italian type. The buckles on the shoulders are, however, of a common German type. The hinge on the left side joining breast and back-plate is a feature found on Henry VIII's armour in the Royal Armouries (II.5) and on another breast and backplate there (II.101-2) of the same date as A216.
    Rivets show that the skirt and tassets were suspended on leathers from the lower flanges.