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Backplate (body armour): HEN.M.6D-1933

Object information

Current Location: Gallery 31 (Armoury)


Production: Unknown




Backplate with skirt, for field use. Formed of a main plate, a waist-plate and a skirt-plate. The main plate is slightly shaped to the shoulders and the hollow of the back. Each of its lateral edges overlaps a short side-plate to which it is secured by three externally-flush rivets. The upper edge of the right side-plate is cracked along the line of the overlap. The upper edges of the side-plates form the lower ends of the arm-openings of the backplate. The arm-openings and the very slightly convex upper edge of the backplate have strongly roped inward turns accompanied by a recessed border. The border at the neck descends to a small V-shaped projection at its centre. The upper edge of the backplate is pierced at its centre with a pair of small lace-holes, and at each of its outer ends with three rivet-holes that have at various times served to retain the shoulder-straps. The present, modern shoulder-straps are secured by flat-headed rivets occupying the inner of the three holes. At the right end the upper outer holes remains vacant, and the lower outer hole, possibly the original, is plugged by a modern, round-headed rivet with a circular internal washer. At the left end, the upper outer hole has been filled with a modern, externally-flush rivet, and the lower outer hole with a modern, round-headed rivet. The original hole has broken away with a large part of the upper left corner of the main plate. The recessed border of the right arm-opening has been pierced with a later hole at the overlap of the main plate and the side-plate. The recessed border of the left arm-opening is pierced with a later hole in both the main plate and the side-plate. The outer end of each side-plate is pierced with a pair of later, vertically-aligned rivet-holes. The straight lower edge of the mainplate and its side-plates overlaps a narrow waist-plate to which it was formerly attached by a single rivet at each side. Both of the original rivet-holes in the waist-plate have cracked through to its upper edge, as has a later hole pierced just to the outside of the right one. The waist-plate has therefore been moved to the right and rigidly attached to the mainplate by three crudely-formed round-headed rivets located in later holes between them, and a fourth located in the original left hole of the main plate, and a later hole pierced in the waist-plate. Crudely-pierced, vacant holes are located just to the outside of the second from the left rivet in the main plate, and just below the central rivet in the waist-plate. The hole for the original right rivet in the main plate is filled by a modern, round-headed rivet. Attached at each side of the waist-plate by a single rivet is a leather strap forming a waist-belt. The rivet for the left strap, which terminates in a double-ended, tongued iron buckle, is flat-headed, while that for the right strap, which is more recent, is round-headed with a copper cap and a triangular internal washer. a crude hole is pierced just to the outside of each of these rivets. The lower edge of the waist-plate is flanged outwards to receive the skirt-plate. The angle of the flange is emphasised by an incised line. The right end of the waist-plate is missing. The skirt-plate is attached to the waist-plate by a modern, round-headed rivet with an octagonal internal washer. Its lower edge, which has a strongly roped inward turn accompanied by a recessed border, is cut with a broad, chevron-shaped notch at its centre, and descends to a shallow casp at each side. Its upper edge , which is bevelled, rises slightly to its centre where it is filed with a V-shaped nick. The recessed border is pierced with two later holes at each side. The right lower corner of the waist-plate is broken away. The lower edge of the waist-plate is bent and cracked just to the inside of the cusp at the left side. Part of the composite three-quarter armour HEN.M.6A-G-1933


History note: Mr James Stewart Henderson of 'Abbotsford', Downs Road, St Helen's Park, Hastings, Sussex

Legal notes

J.S. Henderson Bequest

Measurements and weight

Depth: 16 cm
Height: 40 cm
Weight: 1.9 kg
Width: 37 cm

Acquisition and important dates

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


16th Century, Mid#
Production date: circa AD 1550


South German

The backplate is bright with a medium patination overall. The left side of the skirt shows delamination of the metal.

Components of the work

Buckle composed of iron (metal)
Leathers, Straps composed of leather

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production

Hammering : Formed of a main plate, a waist-plate and a skirt-plate; hammered, shaped, riveted, decorated with file-roping, bevelled and incised lines

Identification numbers

Accession number: HEN.M.6D-1933
Primary reference Number: 17740
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Wednesday 14 September 2022 Last processed: Thursday 7 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

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

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