These items are under consideration for the October 2015 Study Session. The main focus includes some interesting new items in the collection and late 16th c. cuirasses to help various people interested in recreating them.


Half Suit

Half Suit circa 1590

Composed. Etched in the Pisan fashion. Pieces well matched in size and etching pattern. Consisting of a gorget of two plates (upper lames missing), a breastplate of deep peascod form, asymmetrical pauldrons, arms and a gauntlet for the left hand. Composed of items A-149, A-235, A-242, and the left gauntlet from A-244. [inv. num. A-249]


Breastplate late 15th c.

Built in the characteristic 15th c. style of 2 plates where the upper plate covers much of the chest and is overlapped by a lower plate that rises up in the center. The upper plate has simple, tapered, outward-turned rolls at the neck and arms. The roll at the neck is just slightly curved. There are two rivets for attachment of buckles at the shoulders, both of these are replaced, one has been moved somewhat to account for the loss of the end of the shoulder extension. There is another rivet right at the edge of the loss that matches the location of the rivet on the other shoulder. The lower plate has a flare at the bottom for the suspension of a fauld. There are 2 holes for the rivets to secure the fauld lames, a rivet remains in one hole. The 2 plates are presently secured by 4 rivets, the largest, central one of these would have originally been a bolt, the others are later additions. The lower plate rises to a wide peak at the center and it cut with 2 small cusps at the side. The edges of the central point are beveled over most of the edge. The bevel terminates before the cusps. This breastplate is of relatively heavy construction. The metal thickness by visual inspection in the center appears to be app. 3 mm tapering to app. 1 mm at the sides. These are estimates as it is hard to actually measure the thickness in its current configuration. A few actual measurements with a deep micrometer indicates that after the losses to rust the central upper breastplate varies between .115 and .150 in. in the center. The edge under the arm thins noticeably - the very edge is generally .040-.050 with one thin spot down to .030. Within 2 in. from the edge it thickens to .090 and then on up to the central thickness. The lower plate is more even in thickness and noticeably thinner - generally app. .050 in. It is basically a really large waste lame. There is some loss to one shoulder and at the center of the lower flare. Very similar in form to the breastplate illustrated as item 5.8 (page 89) in The Medieval Armour from Rhodes by Karcheski and Richardson. This item is in the collection of the Chateau de Grandson Switzerland. This breastplate is described as German or Italian end of the 15th/early 16th century. They also identify it as of the type called Fussknectbrust - for use by armoured infantry. This one may be intended for mounted or higher-end use since the metal thickness varies from the center to the sides. Generally these simple 2 piece breastplates are attributed to late 15th c.

Measurements: (all taken straight on the inside) - width at the narrowest spot between the armholes - 9 1/2 in., width at the bottom of the armholes 14 3/8 in., width at the waist 12 1/4 in., height from waist to the top of the center of the neck 13 7/8 in., overall height 15 1/4 in.

Weight 6 pounds 10.6 ounces (3,025 g). [inv. num. A-193]

Italian or Flemish Breastplate

Italian or Flemish Breastplate circa 1500

Formed of a single piece with a medial crease, flared bottom edge and large triangular rolls at the arms and neck. The roll at the arm with engraved/filed decoration in the form of lines. There are a set of holes on the right side for the attachment of the pins for a lance rest. This is a fine example of a rare type of breastplate made at the turn of the 16th century. Examples like it may be found in the Waffensammlung Vienna, Metropolitan Museum NY, etc. For a very similar example see Kienbusch Collection in the Philadelphia Museum of Art #1977-167-132 formerly in the Dean collection.

Size measurements: Width of neck hole - 8 1/2 in. Height of arm hole - 9 in. Arm hole to waist- 4 1/2 in. Center from top of roll to waist - 12 3/4 in. Waist flare - 3/4 in.

The metal varies in thickness. Within an inch it can vary about .01 inch. All measurements in inches. Thickness measurements:Sides - .028-.052 - mostly in the .030-.040 range. Upper area between arm and neck (right side) - .035-.050.Mostly around .040. Same thing (left side) - .059 - .075 (thicker than the other side). At the lance rest holes - .040 - .052. At the top crease area - .070 - .080 (mostly .080). At the center near crease - .080 - .11. Center near the waist - mostly .040 - .050. Height of upper roll at the center - .66. Max height of right arm roll - .84. Max height of left arm roll - .71. [inv. num. A-66]


Breastplate circa 1550-60

Innsbruck. Officer quality black and white with embossed vine and leaf decoration. Moveable gussets at the arms. Large, tapered, roped rolls at the arms and neck all coming to a point at the center. Original buckles at the top of the gussets, one damaged. Rolled borders of the arms augmented with a narrow embossed line at the center of the gusset. The neck accented by a raised polished section with a parallel raised liine and a small secondary chevron at the center. Roping aparently filed - the rolls wiht an overall even (not embossed for the ropping) surface. Breastplate with a central crease and deep rounded point at the center. De-laminations on the inside in the lower section of the point and some small ones on the surface. One old patch near the center of the flair and one later patch at the left fauld rivet hole. Black refreshed, white areas lightly cleaned. Gusset rivets replaced. Note from Ian Eaves states:

This is actually a nice piece: an officers quality black and white armour made in Innsbruck about 1550-60.

The main maker of such armours was Michel Witz the Younger (see for example an armour preserved in the arsenal at Graz). Particularly close in style is an armour by Sebastian Katzmair of Innsbruck in Schloss Churburg (no 118 in the Trapp , Mann catalogue of 1929 as I recall).

The breastplate decoration is very similar in form to the breastplate on CH S118 in Churburg (illlustrated page 329 of the new 1996 catalogue and plate LX (b) in the 1929 Mann and Trapp catalogue)

Weight: 6 pounds 9 ounces (2975g). Height 13 1/2 in from center of neck roll to center of waist flair, 15 1/2 in. from top to bottom of center point of the flair, 11 3/8 in. wide at the waist, 13 1/2 in. under the arms. Slot in the gussets app. 3/4 in. long. [inv. num. A-241]

German  Breastplate

German Breastplate circa 1550-60

Breastplate. Black and white. Sliding gussets at the arm holes and 2 fauld lames. Drawn out to a blunted point somewhat below center. Rolls at the neck and arm holes tapering from the center and roped. Background rough from the hammer and painted black. Bands raised and polished. Central band tapering toward the waist on both the breast and fauld lames. One raised band on each side. Top of breastplate with wide scalloped raised area. Lower fauld lame with central arch cut out and rolled and roped edge. All parts originally part of the same piece. Buckles at the shoulder end of the arm gussets. Painted number 3946 in large numbers on the inside of the breast. A nice, basic, munition black and white breastplate from the mid 16th century. [inv. num. A-107]


Backplate circa 1550-1600

One large central plate with small side plates under the arms and a separate culet of one plate. Overall blackened and rough from the hammer with raised bands at the center and sides, and recessed borders at the top, arms and bottom of the culet. [inv. num. A-253]


Breastplate circa 1550-80

German. Black and white with rough from the hammer surface with raised polished bands. The neck with a tapered inward turned roped roll. The arms fitted with gussets (Left gusset associated) with inward turned tapered rolls, the right roped en suite with the neck. Retains fauld of 3 plates. Cleaned bright over its entire surface. Reblackened with paint to simulate the original appearance. The left gusset associated. The interior of the breastplate marked with assembly marks which match those on the second fauld lame and appear to match the marks (less distinct) on the original gusset. Polished bands at the center, middle of each side and sides of the breastplate which continue on the fauld (except on the right side of the upper two fauld lames where it appears the original maker omitted the bands). The bands on the breastplate are very roughly formed on the outside, tooling appearing to be made by very small, narrow pien. The bands in the fauld more cleanly made, likely because raising bands on the thinner material is easier. [inv. num. A-260]

Waistcoat Cuirass

Waistcoat Cuirass circa 1580

Italian. Full peasscod shape mimicing the doublet of the time. Formed in three pieces, one narrow one down the center of the back and two sides which join at the center of the front. The sections are secured by a pair of interior inset hinges in the lower portion of the back. Arm holes with outward turned roped rolls bordered by an engraved line. Neck and waist edges with inward turned finely roped rolls and bordered by single incised lines. The front is decorated with a series of false buttons formed of iron rivets with brass caps, a few of which have lost their caps. The cuirass is secured closed by means of two threaded studs on the interior plate that engage holes on the outer plate. Currently one of these holes is filled with a modern brass bolt. The top edge is formed into a low straight collar, the bottom edge is flared out below the waist. Shot proof thickness with what appears to be a proof mark on the left side. A nice example of a rare type of body armour. Several defenses of this type (etched) survive in the Wallace collection. There are a few plain ones in the Graz arsenal. These are normally thought of as light civilian armours or decorative, but there are several like this one that are definitely designed for protection against weapons used in warfare.

Measurements: Width under the arms 14 in. width at the waist 10.25 in. height at the back from the waist to the top of the collar 16.25 in. Neck hole 6 in. wide and 6.25 front to back. Thickness varies significantly and apparently intentionally. Selected locations on the center back plate are app. .10 in. The shoulders vary between .16 in. and .18 in. Thick spots in the front are .30 in.

Weight: 26 pounds 11.2 ounces (12.114 kg).

Provenance: Peter Finer. Listed in the 1996 catalogue. Previously from the Christies sale Weds 22 July 1992 lot 105 where it is compared to the Cologne-made waistcoat cuirass in the Kienbusch Collection (no. 29) [inv. num. A-240]

Italian Breastplate and Backplate

Italian Breastplate and Backplate circa 1580

Breast-plate of deep peascod form with medial ridge and two embossed volutes at the top, armhole gussets, single plate skirt, and later fixed lance-rest (removed). Tall inward-turned, finely roped rolls at the neck and armholes. The armholes on the main plate have a line incised parallel to the edge. Fauld lame with incised line parallel to the upper edge and inward-turned roped roll central arch. Steel buckles at the shoulders. Back-plate shaped to the back, embossed with rounded ribs in the form of a "V" towards the top and parallel to the arm holes. With incised vertical line at the center. Inward-turned, roped rolls at the neck, arms and on the edge of the narrow waist flare. Breast of heavier form, consistent with those made for cavalry use. Breast and back associated. Similar to those on B-13 from Mantova.

Breastplate - height 15 from base to center to neck hole. Width 10 in. at the waist and 13 1/2 in. under the arms. Neck roll 1/4 in. wide and 3/8 in. tall at the center. Backplate - height 14 3/4 in. width under the arms 14 3/4, 10 1/4 in. at the waist. 11 1/4 in at the upper edge.

Breastplate - thickness at the outer edge .035 at the upper corner under the arm to .080 near the waist. At the holes for mounting the lance rest .075-.110, primarily in the .080-.095 range. Center .110-.130 in. Upper area thins to .055 in. at the upper corner, but generally .070-.085 in. Peascod thins to .055 at some spots, but generally .065-.080 near the center. Overall, the center is app. .125 in. thick, tapers out to .070-.080 in. at the sides before thinning to app. .060 in. very near the edge and top. Backplate - varies between .022 in. and .060 in. Most of the area is .030 in. to .040 in. Thickness is much more variable. It does not seem to be intentionally thickened in any specific area. [inv. num. A-114b]

German Black and White Cuirass

German Black and White Cuirass circa 1580-90

Comprising a heavy peascod breastplate with roped flanges at the neck and sliding gussets, the lower edge flanged for a skirt of 2 plates, the bottom one arched, turned and roped at the center, and matching three part backplate with separate riveted culet, the edges turned and roped, the surfaces throughout divided by bright bands and borders into blackened panels, rough from the hammer, and struck near the neck on both breast and back with the Nuremburg mark and a maker"s mark of a pair of shears in an inverted shield (possibly that of Martin Schneider). The waist belt is a modern replacement. The shoulder straps are also replacements, though one is lacking. 5 of the 6 straps for the suspension of tassets remain and they are secured by 8 lobed roset washers. The fauld lames are slightly deformed. The right gusset, breastplate and both fauld lames are marked with a chiseled "X" assembly marks - the left gusset is different - possibly due to its having been for the left (it fits and matches the right in every respect). Breast mostly .090 inch thick tapering at the sides to app. .070. [inv. num. A-19]

German/Austrian (possibly Gratz) Breastplate

German/Austrian (possibly Gratz) Breastplate circa 1590

Including 2 buckles at shoulders. Rolled edges at arm holes and neck, full flare at waist - used without any fauld lames. Simple peascod shape. This breastplate is relatively light and most likely sword proof and not shot proof. This item is very similar to large numbers of breastplates in the Arsenal in Graz. Its original blackened finish has been removed by cleaning with acid. Originally it would have been used with a pair of tassets suspended directly from the wide flare at the waist of the breastplate - taking the place of the fauld. The holes for the tasset straps are evident. Each tasset would have been suspended by 3 straps and buckles - the ones nearest the edge and center of the breastplate were attached by 2 rivets, the central one with a single rivet. Weight 3.5 lbs.

rough inner and outer surfaces, but roughly .050-.060 inch thick overall. [inv. num. A-15]


Breastplate circa 1510-20

Italian fluted in a German style. Formed with a deep globose shape. Rolled at the neck with a large, angular inward turn. Arm holes bordered by gussets which are formed with a flare with the edge bent back, not a full roll. The waist is flared for a fauld. The center of the breastplate is fluted with a series of parallel vertical flutes terminated by a recessed band at the top and bottom. All of the flutes are accentuated by engraved lines. Marked below the center of the neck hole with a maker"s mark - possibly a crowned crossbow bolt. Given the thickness this breastplate was most likely intended for infantry or light cavalry use with later holes for a lance rest. Two later internal patches. Fauld lames missing. Similar breastplates are preserved in the Museo Stibbert Florence (cat. no. 5) which is more complex and has roped rolls, Windsor castle Mendlesham church in Suffolk, England and the Schweizerisches Landesmuseum, Zurich - which is very similar, displayed in the arms drill display with other early 16th c. infantry armour.

Measurements: 14in. (35.5 cm.) high, 11 1/2 in. wide across the gussets, 13 in. wide under the arms, 11 in. wide at the waist, gusset flares app. 5/8 in. tall, center of roll at the neck app. 3/4 in. on each side of the triangle, tapering to 3/8 in. tall and just folded over at the end.

Thickness: .050 in. at the side, mostly .070-.080 in the center. Gussets vary significantly - .040-.080 in. There does not seem to be a particular pattern to the variation.

Weight 4 pounds 2.8 ounces (1895 g). [inv. num. A-216]

Maximilian Breastplate

Maximilian Breastplate circa 1505-15

Of shallow globose form with three sprays of flutes radiating from the waist. There are seven flutes in the center spray and 5 in each of the side sprays. The outermost flute on each of the side sprays is really a step - a single sided flute. Neck with an angular inward turn. Arms with sliding gussets with similar angular inward turns. Wide waist lame. Fauld missing. Flutes accented by parallel engraved lines and semi-circular engraved ends. Waist lame with horizontal engraved lines and shallow engraved lines continuing the flutes from the breastplate and suggesting the flutes on the missing fauld. Waist lame cut out at the sides. Each gusset has a buckle at the top to secure the breastplate to the backplate. One of the buckles is likely original the other appears to be a well matched copy. The surface shows signs of rust, cleaning and delaminations. A very similar breastplate forms part of a half-harness in the Fitzwilliam Collection #M.1.3-1936 (cuirass catalogued as M.1.3.C-1936) identified as German, 1510.

Measurements: width at the chest under the arms at the corner of the gussets 13 3/4 in. width at the waist 9 in. (given the cut into the edge of the waist, it is wider than this at the real waist) width at the bottom of the main plate corner to corner 10.4 in. width of the main plate at the top 8.6 in. width at the top including the gussets 9.8 in.

Thickness at the sides .030-.042 with at least one spot on the left side down to .020, top edge app. .050 (varying between .040 and .065, but mostly .050-.055, at the top of the central flute spray .075-.095, the thickest spot in the center generally .090-.120, mostly .095-.10. The thickness is current after some significant loss and cleaning to the outside (some of the engraved lines are nearly erased), it would have been measurably but not significantly thicker. [inv. num. A-170]


Tasset circa 1510-20

Formed of 3 narrow plates and one larger plate. Decorated with 7 vertical flutes (each accented with parallel vertical lines) and a recessed border at the bottom bordered by a plain, angular inward turn at the edge. The upper plate is flaired out at the front corner to fit the center of the fauld. Plates connected by sliding rivets at the outside and two internal leathers (center and inside). [inv. num. A-250]

Tasset terminal plate

Tasset terminal plate circa 1505

German. Rectangular form with widely spaced radiating flutes. Flutes with parallel incised lines on each side except for the outer-most flute which is formed as a step and only has one incised line. Upper edge bevelled, lower edge with recessed border and simple ridge simulating a roll. Holes indicate this plate was originally attached ot the other plates by a sliding rivet at the outer edge and an interior leather at the center and inner edge.

4 1/4in. tall.

Thickness varies between .060in, and .035in. Generally between .050 and .045, thinning toward the bottom and inner end. [inv. num. A-129]

German Burgonet

German Burgonet 16th century

One piece polished skull. Nuremberg guild mark. Right cheek plate stamped with Solothurn arsenal inventory numbers x 126. This helmet retains its original plume holder. Provenance: Bischoff Collection, Vienna. [inv. num. A-5]


Burgonet circa 1550

rounded bowl with frour creases - at the front, back and sides rising to a blunted point and extended in the front to form an integral up turned brim. Separate tail lame. Two cheek plates (left one replaced). Decorated with raised polished tapered bands along the creases and along the borders of the brim, neck lame and cheek plates. The recessed areas rough from the hammer and blackened with paint. outer edge of the brim, neck lame and lower edge of the cheek plates with roped inward turned rolls. Hinges, rivets and plume holder replaced. Some holes patched with modern internal patches. [inv. num. A-251]


Burgonet circa 1550-70

One piece skull boxed in four panels and rising to a point with an acorn finial. Integral brim, separate neck lame, two cheek plates (left associated, probably from the same original arsenal and from a similarly decorated, but slightly different helmet). Main edges with roped inward turns and recessed borders. The helmet decorated with four raised bands that continue onto the neck guard and peak. The edge of the peak, neck lame and ckeek plates decorated with inward turned roped rolls. Formerly black and white. Cleaned. Black areas reblackened with paint to simulate original appearance. [inv. num. A-256]


Burgonet early 17th c.

Two piece bowl joined at the center over a short, high central comb by a roll. The remainder joined by a flat riveted seam. The brim formed from a separate piece riveted to the inside of the front of the skull. The back of the skull with a neck guard formed of a single plate. Cheek plates with a flair continuing the line of the neck guard. Main edges with with plain inward turns. With old and probably working life lining quilted canvas lining stitched to leather strips at the forehead and neck. Cheek plates with loops at the lower corners used to secure a lace. The right cheek plate stamped with the number 197. Original black finish which has been refreshed with paint. Right cheek plate appears to have been reattached. Cheek plates secured at the chin in a common way - with a loop at the lower corner of each through which a thong is tied. [inv. num. A-257]


Burgonet early 17th c.

Two piece rounded skull joined at the center along the crest with a roll. Fitted at the front with a pivoted peak and at the rear with a single neck lame. Comb polished bright. Additional bright band at the middle of each side. Peak, cheek plate, and neck lame with polished borders and roped inward turned edge. Right cheek plate lost. Left cheek plate with polished front border and a raised circular area at the center polished bright and pierced with holes. Surface cleaned and black refreshed with paint. The pivoted brim moves very little. It appears that simulating pivoting has been done as an alternate way to secure a separate brim to a burgonet with a two piece skull (instead of riveting it inside as has been done on A-52, A-71 and A-234). [inv. num. A-258]