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Tassets: HEN.M.1D-1933

Object information

Current Location: In storage


Production: Unknown




Pair of short tassets for field use. Each formed of five medially-ridged, upward overlapping lames that narrow slightly to their lower ends. The first lame has a short transverse step at its inner end. The fifth lame has rounded lower corners and an obtusely pointed lower edge. Each tasset has a partial inward turn at its upper and outer edges, and a full turn at its lower and inner edges. The turns at the inner edges of the second to fourth lames are file-roped. The turns at the inner, outer and lower edges are accompanied by a recessed border. The upper edges of the second to fourth lames are decorated at their centres with V-shaped nicks. The lames are connected to one another by modern sliding-rivets with octagonal internal washers at their outer ends, and by modern internal leathers at their centres and outer ends. The leathers are attached by externally-flush rivets. The rivet that attaches the central leather to the fifth lame is the inner of a pair of rivets that straddle the medial ridge. The outer rivet is in each case of round-headed form with an external, pewter, rosette washer. The inner rivet of the left tasset is also fitted with an external, pewter, rosette washer. All three washers are of a different form. Located just to the outside of each of the sliding-rivets on the second to fourth lames is a similar round-headed rivet. Located at the outer ends of the second to fourth lames are pairs of such round-headed rivets, of which the inner ones align with the underlying rivets for the inner internal leathers. The upper edges of the second to fourth lames are bordered by pairs of scored lines that run into the recessed borders. The fifth lame of the right tasset was formerly decorated with a spray of flutes that radiate downwards and outwards from its upper edge to its turned lower edge. The flutes have subsequently been hammered flat. Secured by a round-headed rivet at either end of the first lame of each tasset is a double-ended, tongued, iron buckle. Its loop is rectangular at its upper end, semi-circular at its lower end, and is decorated with simple filed and punched ornament. Both of the loops on the left tasset lack their lower ends. The hasps of the buckles are shaped around the rivets. That of the right outer buckle is decorated around its edge with short, punched, perpendicular lines. The remaining three hasps are plain and crudely made. Part of the composite half-armour HEN.M.1A-E-1933


History note: From the armoury of the Princes Radziwill, Castle of Niescwiez, Poland. To save the armoury from the Bolshevist uprising, the Lithuanian family of Radziwill moved it to their town house in Warsaw. According to the London dealers Fenton and Furnage, the collection was acquired by the Austrian dealers Pollak and Windonitz just before the First World War. Some pieces were sold in Germany, but most were offered for sale at Christie's, London, on 29 June 1926 and 14 June 1927 as the armoury of a 'Russian Prince'. Mr James Stewart Henderson of 'Abbotsford', Downs Road, St Helen's Park, Hastings, Sussex.

Legal notes

J.S. Henderson Bequest

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1933-03-16) by Henderson, James Stewart


19th Century
Circa 1800 CE - 1900 CE


The fifth lame of the right tasset clearly represents a restoration, since it has been cut down from a piece of early sixteenth century fluted armour. The fact that it has two rivet-holes for a central internal leather, rather than the one found on the second to fourth lames, and lacks the V-shaped nick found in the upper edges of the second to fourth lames, provides further evidence of its association. As the last two discrepancies also apply to the fifth lame of the right tasset, it is likely that it too is associated. It is quite possible that the first lames of each tasset are also associated, since they, like the fifth lames, lack the roped edges seen on the second to fourth lames. Since the roping only occurs at the inner edges of the second to fourth lames, it is possible that the outer edges of those lames have been cut down and reworked. It is likely that the second to fourth lames originally overlapped in the opposite direction. Thus the pairs of holes now showing on the outsides of those lames would have served to attach internal leathers, while the single holes, now enlarged to slots, showing on their insides, would have served as construction-holes.

The tassets are bright with a mottled, heavy patination overall. It is possible that the second to fourth lames originally had a 'black from the hammer' finish.

Components of the work

Buckle composed of iron (metal)
Rosette Washer composed of pewter
Leathers composed of leather
Right Depth 6.7 cm Height 27.9 cm Weight 0.79 kg Width 24.6 cm
Left Depth 6.8 cm Height 27.6 cm Weight 0.77 kg Width 24.9 cm

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production

Hammering : Steel, shaped and riveted, with incised, punched and filed decoration, each formed of five medially-ridges, upward overlapping lames that narrow slightly to their lower ends

Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: large number '26'

  • Text: 26
  • Location: Inside the lowest lame of each tasset
  • Method of creation: Painted in red
  • Type: Number

Identification numbers

Accession number: HEN.M.1D-1933
Primary reference Number: 17707
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Thursday 2 September 2021 Last processed: Friday 8 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Tassets" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-05-26 21:16:11

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