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Jacob Halder (active 1576-1608)

Armour garniture of Sir Christopher Hatton for the field, tourney, tilt and barriers 1585

RCIN 72835

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  • Armour garniture for the field, tourney, tilt and barriers.  Now consisting of a close helmet with field visor, a two-piece reinforcing bevor, a restored gorget, a breastplate with skirt and tassets, a backplate, a plackart, tasset-extensions, asymmetrical pauldrons with removable haute-pieces, vambraces, gauntlets, legharness, a half-shaffron and a set of saddle-steels.

    Of blued and russeted steel, etched and gilt; decorated with vertical and diagonal bands, scrolls, military trophies, figures, strapwork and heraldic roses.

    Measurements: Helmet: height 29.6 cm, width: 24.8 cm, depth 40.7 cm; Upper Reinforcing Bevor: height 17.2 cm, depth 19.7 cm; Lower Reinforcing Bevor: height 17.5 cm, depth 23.5 cm; Breastplate: height from shoulders to the lower edge of waist-flange 59.1 cm, height from centre of neck to lower edge of waist-flange 52.7 cm, height from centre of the neck to lower edge of the skirt 54.6 cm, height from the shoulders to the lower edge of tassets 65.4 cm; width across the shoulders 29.4 cm, width beneath arm-openings 44.8 cm, width across waist 34 cm, width across tassets 59.7 cm; Backplate: height from shoulders to bottom of skirt 44.5 cm, height from neck to waist 40 cm, width at waist 33.4 cm, width beneath arm-openings 42.3 cm, width of culet 46.1 cm; Plackart: height of main plate 49.2 cm, height of main plate and waist-lame combined 55.6 cm, width: 43.8 cm; Right Tasset-Extension: height 21.9 cm, width 34.9 cm; Left Tasset-Extension: height 21.9 cm, width 35.3 cm; Right Pauldron: height 28.3 cm, width 29.2 cm; Left Pauldron: height 28.6 cm, width 30.2 cm; Right Haute-Piece: height 12.7 cm, width 26.4 cm; Left Haute-Piece: height 14.3 cm, width 28.1 cm; Right Vambrace: length 51.5 cm; Left Vambrace: length 52.1 cm; Right Gauntlet: length 34.9 cm, transverse diameter of cuff 14.0 cm; Left Gauntlet: length 33.4 cm, transverse diameter of cuff 13.4 cm; Right Cuisse and Poleyn: total length 39.4 cm, length from top of cuisse to centre of knee 31.1 cm; Left Cuisse and Poleyn: total length 35.3 cm, length from top of cuisse to centre of knee 29.9 cm; Right Greave and Sabaton: height of greave 48.1 cm, length of foot 28.8 cm; Left Greave and Sabaton: height of greave 48.8 cm, length of foot: 28.6 cm; Right Legharness: height from centre of knee to ground 52.7 cm; Left Legharness: height from centre of knee to ground 52.7 cm; Shaffron: height 40.7 cm, width 29.9 cm, height of escutcheon 14.9 cm; Saddle-Steels: height of fore arson 46.0 cm, width of fore arson 69.5 cm, height of rear arson 28.1 cm, width of rear arson 59.37 cm.

    Weights: Helmet: 3.274 kg; Upper Reinforcing Bevor: 0.680 kg; Lower Reinforcing Bevor: 0.567 kg; Breastplate with Skirt and Tassets: 8.717 kg; Backplate and Culet: 4.281 kg; Plackart Main Plate: 4.862 kg; Plackart Waist-Lame: 1.134 kg; Right Tasset-Extension: 1.134 kg; Left Tasset-Extension: 1.219 kg; Right Pauldron: 1.467 kg; Left Pauldron: 1.829 kg; Right Haute-Piece: 0.340 kg; Left Haute-Piece: 0.354 kg; Right Vambrace: 1.814 kg; Left Vambrace: 0.737 kg; Right Gauntlet: 0.737 kg; Left Gauntlet: 0.737 kg; Right Cuisse and Poleyn: 1.191 kg; Left Cuisse and Poleyn: 1.219 kg; Right Greave and Sabaton: 1.786 kg; Left Greave and Sabaton: 1.673 kg; Shaffron: 2.098 kg; Saddle-Steels: total weight of fore arson plates 1.389 kg; total weight of rear arson plates 1.205kg.

    Tests undertaken by Dr Alan R. Williams on the left cheek-piece of the close helmet, the upper section of the reinforcing bevor, the right tasset, the left tasset, the left gauntlet, the front plate of the right greave and the shaffron of the armour show them to have microhardnesses in the ranges 192–225 VPH (average 210 VPH), 162–313 VPH (average 238 VPH), 177–262 VPH (average 211 VPH), 151–201 VPH (average 170 VPH), 268–319 VPH (average 291 VPH), 370–495 VPH (average 440 VPH) and 146–185 VPH (average 165 VPH) respectively. The microhardness of the plackart, which could only be studied in section, was estimated to be approximately 120 VPH. With the exception of the right greave which has a carbon content of about 0.7%, all other parts of the armour are formed of steels having consistently lower carbon contents, namely around 0.1% to 0.4%, than the 0.6% typically found in contemporary Greenwich products. 

    The right tasset, the shaffron and the reinforcing breastplate are of particularly poor quality metals with the last element in particular being formed of little more than pure iron. An attempt seems nevertheless to have been made to harden all parts of the armour, even though its carbon content was in several instances too low for that process  to have any significant effect. The lower carbon areas show no more than a slight increase in hardness. In most cases the metal, possessing either a banded or a heterogeneous microstructure, is of a poorer quality than was usually found in Greenwich armour of its period, but occasionally, due to repeated folding and  hammering out, it has a more or less homogeneous structure, as for example in the reinforcing bevor and the right greave. The latter, because of its notably high carbon content, has responded to heat-treatment and therefore shows a greater than usual hardness. The slag content of all the samples tested is generally low.

    Text adapted from Arms and Armour in the Collection of Her Majesty The Queen: European Armour, London, 2016

    Provenance

    The armour is illustrated in the 'Almain Armourer's Album', a record of all the decorated armours made at the royal workshops at Greenwich kept by the then master-armourer Jacob Halder. It appears sixteenth in the Album, with an inscription indicating that it was made for 'Sr Christofer Hattone' (1540-91).  The armour seems to have been intended for tournament, rather than field use, with four further pieces for the tilt illustrated alongside it – a close helmet of the type that rotates on its gorget, a grandguard, a pasguard and a manifer.

    Jacob Halder, the maker of this armour, became Master Workman of the Almain Armoury on 9 October 1576 and held that office until his death on 21 March 1608. He is first recorded at Greenwich in a list of Almains of about 1557.

    The armour was given by Sir Christopher Hatton to Robert Dudley (1532-88), 1st Earl of Leicester (1564-88), who subsequently wore it for a head-and-shoulders portrait of 1585-8. It later entered the Tower Armouries and in 1685 appears to have been issued to Charles Dymoke, the King's Champion, for use at the coronation of James II.

    The armour stayed in the hands of the Dymoke family for close to two centuries, but on 17 July 1877 was offered at Christie's as lot 1, among objects from the Dymoke armoury at Scrivelsby.  On this occasion it went unsold, but it was subsequently acquired by James Gurney who passed it on to the Paris dealer, Frédéric Spitzer (1815–90). After Spitzer's death, the armour was acquired for the nation by means of a public subscription organized its then owner, Charles Davis MVO of 147 New Bond Street. It was presented to Edward VII on 13 June 1901.

    Recorded as items 1867A, 2041, 2045, 2046 and 2047 in the North Corridor Inventory of Windsor Castle.