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Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014

Parts of a field garniture with associated helmet, gauntlets, greaves and sabatons

Overview

Creator: North-German, probably Brunswick (nationality)
Creation Date: 
1563 - 1800
Materials: 
Steel and iron- decorative etching with blackened ground
RCIN 
62997
Reference(s): 
Laking AA 111
Acquirer: George IV, King of the United Kingdom (1762-1830), when King of the United Kingdom (1820-30)
Provenance: 
Benjamin Jutsham, from 1803 George IV's Inspector of Household Deliveries and Keeper of the Prince’s Armoury, recorded the arrival of this armour in his Receipt & Delivery Book on 10 October 1820: ‘A Large Case Containing it is said, a Suit of Armour. Brought over by the Hanoverian Messenger by the name of Heitmuller’. Carlton House records also date receipt of the armour as 10 October 1820: ‘This Suit of Armour ... was sent from the Free Mason’s Lodge at Hanover - it is the Suit which was worn by one of the Brunswick Family - Called - Henry the Lion’. Henry the Lion, Duke of Bavaria (1129–1195), was the grandfather of Otto, 1st Duke of Brunswick and Lüneburg (1204–52), and thus an ancestor of the House of Hanover. However, the two initials on the breastplate actually stand for Duke Julius (1528–89) and his father Duke Heinrich (1489–1568). Those around the edge of the cartouche stand for Julius, Herzog zu Braunschweig und Lüneburg. By 29 July 1831 the armour is recorded at Windsor Castle in ‘An Account of the Armour and Arms in the Guard Chamber at Windsor Castle’ prepared by the Board of Ordnance at the Tower of London following the rearrangement of the displays of armour on the accession of William IV. Item 2052 in the, later, North Corridor Catalogue which records the arrangement of and changes to displays in the North Corridor at Windsor Castle and item 2889 in Carlton House Arms & Armour Inventory (c.1790-1820).
Description:

Consisting of a close helmet with integral gorget-plates (mantelhelm), a gorget, cuirass and skirt, a pair of tassets, a pair of tasset-extensions, and a pair of further extensions including poleyns (all three together forming long cuisses), a pair of symmetrical narrow-fronted pauldrons, a pair of besagues, a pair of symmetrical vambraces, a pair of mitten gauntlets and a pair of greaves and sabatons.

The decoration of the original parts of the armour, which is etched in relief against a blackened ground mostly relieved by rows of small bright dots, consists mainly of wide vertical or diagonal bands enclosed within narrow borders with the intervening areas left bright. The bands contain floral candelabrum ornament, somewhat elongated, slender allegorical and classical figures, some of them named, grotesques, trophies, and classical heads within wreaths of laurel, all in the Mannerist style. In some places the edges of the bands are breached and the decoration spreads out beyond them at each side. These particular areas are etched in relief with symmetrical interlacing strapwork entwined with fine arabesques, all against a plain blackened ground. A similar combination of strapwork and arabesques occurs at the apex of the cup of each couter.

The turned and finely roped edges of all the plates are followed by a relatively broad band of wire-like foliate interlace arranged symmetrically around the central line of the band, all against a plain blackened ground, and consisting of stylized diamond-shaped quatrefoils alternating with ‘Turkish knots’ of an unusual form resembling five stylized diamond-shaped quatrefoils arranged 1, 3 and 1, each linked to its neighbour by curved lines forming the outline of a vesica piscis. The knots are absent from this pattern in the borders of the skirt-lames, and of the gorget.

The edges of all the transverse lames, except those which are turned, are etched with stylized roping consisting of a series of inclined Ss against a plain blackened ground. The edges of all the bands are followed by a narrow etched and blackened line from which numerous wiry, foliate tendrils project into the plain areas.
The turned edges are closely and relatively finely roped with a file. Except on the rim of the gorget, the direction of the roping reverses at the centres.

The rivets, most or all of which have been renewed at some time, are all of iron. The plates are pierced in many places with quite large round holes apparently made in order to fix the armour rigidly for display. Many of these have now been filled with patches. The leathers and straps have all been renewed.

The cuirass is dated 1563; the helmet and gauntlets roughly contemporary; the greaves and sabatons about 1800.

Measurements
Helmet: height 38. 2 cm, width 26.7 cm, depth 37.2 cm
Gorget: height 18.8 cm, internal diameter of neck 14.5 cm
Breastplate and front skirt: height from shoulders to lower edge of skirt 45.6 cm, height from centre of neck to lower edge of skirt 44.5 cm, width beneath arm-openings 40.5 cm, width at waist 31.6 cm, width of skirt 43.6 cm
Backplate and rear skirt: height 47.0 cm
Front skirt extension-lame: width 43.2 cm, height at centre 5.7 cm, height at ends 7.8 cm
Right tasset with extensions: height, 50.5 cm
Left tasset with extensions: height 55 cm
Right tasset without extensions: height 22.9 cm, width 29.2 cm
Left tasset without extensions: height 23.5 cm, width, 21.8 cm
Right tasset-extension: height 22.3 cm
Left tasset-extension: height 23.5 cm
Right lower tasset-extension: height 8½ in 21.6 cm
Left lower tasset-extension: height 22.3 cm
Rear skirt extension-lame: width 51.5 cm, height at centre 6.7 cm, height at ends 7.8 cm
Right pauldron: height 24.2 cm, width 18.9 cm
Left pauldron: height 24.6 cm, width 20.3 cm
Right besague: diameter 7 15/32 in 19.0 cm, depth 3 in 0.76 cm
Left besague: diameter in 19.0 cm, depth 7.6 cm
Right vambrace: length 50.8 cm
Left vambrace: length 50.2 cm
Right gauntlet: length 33.5 cm, width of cuff 11.8 cm
Left gauntlet: length 33.0 cm, width of cuff 14 cm
Right greave and sabaton: height 50.5 cm, length of foot 29.2 cm
Left greave and sabaton: height 50.8 cm, length of foot 29.6 cm

Further details

Category: 
Arms & Armour