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Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014

Pair of symmetrical field spaudlers and vambraces, probably of Henry VIII

Overview

Creator: Italian (nationality)
Creation Date: 
mid sixteenth century, about 1544
Materials: 
Steel- etched blacked and gilt
Dimensions: 
Right spaudler and vambrace, length 69.9 cm; left
RCIN 
67399
Provenance: 
The painted figures inside these pieces suggest that they came from the Tower Armouries and could therefore have formed part of one of Henry VIII’s armours. The 1611 ‘Remayne of his Maties Armory’ includes, ‘Guilte vambraces late king Henry the eightes one p[ai]re’. They are also recorded in the 1628/9 Remain and thereafter a pair of parcel-gilt vambraces appears regularly in Tower inventories but without the ascription to King Henry VIII. It is possible that the pieces under discussion are the pair of ‘Vambraces p[ar]cell gilt’ recorded as having been issued with other armour from the Tower to Windsor Castle on 22 July 1688. The ‘Account of the Armour and Arms in the Guard Chamber at Windsor Castle’, dated 29 July 1831, includes ‘2 Pauldrons with Rerebraces and Vambraces United by Splints, Chased, and Richly Engraved’.
Description:

The right arm-defence consists of a spaudler permanently attached by means of a turning-joint to an upper cannon which is linked by two transverse lames to a couter which in turn is linked to the outer plate of a lower cannon by two similar lames. The inner plate of the lower cannon is hinged to the outer plate, and was originally closed by a strap and buckle (now missing). The wing of the couter is shaped like an ace of spades. The inside of the elbow is protected by a series of fifteen transverse lames that overlap inwards to the eighth. The free edges of the various plates are turned over a wire and boldly roped. The rivets are of iron fitted in the case of those visible externally with domed heads of brass.

The left spaudler and vambrace are similar to the right except that the articulation of the spaudler has been restored and the majority of the rivets are later replacements made entirely of brass and of slightly smaller size. The hasp of the buckle on the first lame is U-shaped.

The decoration consists of etching in relief against a deeply but irregularly hatched ground, originally gilt overall. The roping was also originally gilded, as were the narrow plain bands between the etching and the roping.

Further details

Category: 
Arms & Armour