The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Rear skirt
  • Rear skirt
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Italy
  • c. 1620
  • Iron or steel, leather, canvas and gold, etched and gilded
  • Weight: 2.7 kg
  • A284
  • European Armoury III
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Rear skirt (or culet) of a cuirassier armour, composed of small scales with semi-circular upper edges overlapping upwards. The uppermost row are rectangular and of larger size than the rest and are shaped to fit over the lower flange of the back-plate, to which the skirt was fastened by straps, small portions of which remain. In each lower corner is a single circular plate. The scales are etched and gilt with conventional leaves, and the upper plates with strapwork. They are riveted to buff leather backed by canvas, the edges fringed with scalloped leather pickadils.

    This type of scale culet was worn with cuirassier armours of the early seventeenth century, compare the armour of John III Sobieski, King of Poland, at Dresden.
    A simil culet in was in the Bernhard Smith sale, Sotheby's, 1884, lot 68. Another, etched with palm branches and coronets (compare to Wallace Collection A63), is in the Royal Armouries (III.698), together with the detached scales of a third (III.701). One with decoration very similar to A284, forming part of the armour of Alof de Vignacourt, is in the Armoury at Valetta, Malta (Laking Cat., No. 413). Compare also that on an armour at Windsor, formerly in the possession of the Oddi family of Padua (The Connoisseur, XCV (May, 1935), p. 263).

    The decoration is a very weak imitation of the style frequently used by Pompeo della Cesa of Milan. It is possible that this culet was made at a later date to modernise an old armour.