The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Saddle steel
  • Saddle steel
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • North Italy
  • c. 1540
  • Steel, gold and silver, embossed, counterfeit-damascened and gilded
  • Weight: 0.73 kg
  • A419
  • European Armoury II
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Front saddle steel, of three pieces, part of a set with the rear steel A418. The middle plate has been vigorously embossed with a figure of Neptune sitting on a shell amongst sea-horses and dolphins; the side plates are similarly embossed with mermen and sea-monsters; the merman on the right side wields a club, while that on the left bearing a trident and blowing a conch shell; the whole finely chased, with some traces of counterfeit-damascening in gold on a darkened ground, the edges worked to a plain semi-circular section and gilt. The bare torsos of the figures bear some traces of overlaid silver, while the waves appear to have been blued.

    The design is reminiscent of the well-known engravings of merfolk by Andrea Mantegna (Bartsch, XIII, Nos. 17-18).