The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Shaffron escutcheon
  • Shaffron escutcheon
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Germany
  • c. 1550
  • Steel and gold, embossed, etched and gilded
  • Weight: 1.12 kg
  • A358
  • European Armoury I
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Escutcheon for a shaffron, of steel with the edges turned under and roped; embossed with a flat eight-petalled ornament in the centre; the background etched with bright foliate ornament on a gilt, granulated ground, involving a cherub's head and two lions, etc. It must have come from an armour of importance. Compare the escutcheons on the shaffrons A43 and A356.

    The fact that the decoration of this piece, which is of a very high quality, consists solely of entwined foliage, cherub heads, and naturalistically represented lions, makes it almost impossible to identify the original armour from which it came with any certainty. However, the style is not dissimilar to parts of two garnitures which have decoration almost identical to each other, consisting of bands edged with lively flames, and containing regularly entwined foliage ending in fiercely snarling lion heads. The parts of the two garnitures can only be distinguished with certainty by the fact that while one has knurled edges, the other has roped edges.

    The field cuirass, tassets, cuisses, and poleyns of the garniture with roped borders are in the Royal Armouries (no. II.183; Dufty and Reid, 1968, pl. XXXIII), while what appears to be the right pauldron and the right closed vambrace for tournament combat on foot are in the Museo Stibbert, Florence (1917-18 cat., no. 1027). The left pauldron with only slight overlap at the front for use with a besagew, and a left closed vambrace, are in the Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg (Z.O. no. 3072). Part of the frontplate of a left greave of the type which does not fully enclose the calf, apparently also coming from this garniture, is in the Metropolitan Museum, New York (no. 29.158.307).

    The Hermitage also has almost all the parts of the other garniture, that with knurled edges, including close-helmet for the field which also has a falling buff, a skull-reinforce for the Freiturnier, a pair of munnions, a pair of field arms and gauntlets, laminated cuisses with poleyns attached, and a half shaffron. (Tarassuk, J.A.A.S., III, pp. 1-39, pl. IV). A saddle is in the Musée de l’Armée et de l’Histoire Militaire, Brussels (inv. no. IV.10).