The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Demi-shaffron
  • Possibly Caremolo Modrone (1489 - 1543)
  • Italy, possibly Mantua or Milan
  • c. 1540
  • Banded low- to medium-carbon steel, extensively hot-worked, and gold, embossed, russeted and gilded
  • Weight: 1.13 kg
  • A353
  • European Armoury I
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Shaffron, of steel, tinted and gilt, embossed with a wide border of scrolled flowers, the hollow edges raised and ornamented with laurel wreaths tied with fillets at intervals. There was a square spike in the centre, but this has now been removed as it is of nineteenth-century manufacture. The ear-pieces, embossed en suite, are riveted in place; the poll-plate hinged at the top is similarly embossed and decorated.

    This shaffron resembles the work of Caremolo di Modrone, a Milanese armourer in the service of Federigo Gonzaga II, fifth Marquis and first Duke of Mantua. He was responsible for two armours of the Emperor Charles V, one of which was presented by Federigo in 1534 in recognition of his having been invested with the principality of Monferrato, the other apparently directly commissioned (see Boccia and Coelho, 1967, p. 329). They are now in the Real Armería at Madrid (inv. nos. A112-14 and D63 respectively).

    Caremolo di Modrone is mentioned in an inventory of the armour belonging to the Duke of Mantua, dated 21 January, 1542 (Mann, The Lost Armoury of the Gonzagas, Arch. Journal XCV, 1939, pp. 243, 250, 284, etc).

    A half-shaffron of similar workmanship is at Konepiště in the Czech Republic, and a saddle steel in the Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Florence, both attributed to Modrone about 1540 (nos. 63 and R85 respectively; Boccia, Rossi and Morin, 1980, pls. 142-3). See also J. F. Hayward, 'Filippo Orsoni, designer, and Caremolo Modrone, armourer, of Mantua', Waffen- und Kostümkunde, 1982, pp. 1-15 and 87-102.

    A saddle with embossed steels partly silvered and partly gilt, attributable to Modrone, is at Vienna (inv. no. A1696).