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Backplate (body armour): HEN.M.7B-1933

Object information

Awaiting location update






Backplate, for field use, with etched decoration. Formed of a single plate slightly shaped to the shoulders. The broad, concave neck-opening and the arm-openings have file-roped, inward turns. Attached at each shoulder by a modern, brass-capped, round-headed rivet is a modern, single-ended, tongued, iron buckle with an oval loop and a plain hasp with cropped corners. The left rivet lacks its brass cap. Attached at each side of the waist by a pair of modern, brass-capped, round-headed rivets with circular internal washers is a modern leather strap forming a waist-belt. The left strap terminates in a modern, single-ended, tongued, iron buckle with a rectangular loop. The lower edge of the backplate is flanged outwards. The edge of the flange has a broad, shallow cut-out at its centre, and a plain inward turn. Each end of the flange is pierced with a later wiring-hole.
The backplate is decorated at the neck and arm-openings with etched borders. The border at the neck is now almost entirely worn away, except at its outer ends. It has a V-shaped form, interrupted at its centre by a pair of circular medallions, probably etched with a classical bust, now almost entirely worn away. The medallions are flanked by a pair of adorsed winged herms with scrolling tails, now much worn. The border at the arm-openings consists of a narrow band of stylised acanthus foliage on a blackened ground. The borders at both the neck and arm-openings are enclosed by three narrow bands of which the central one is etched with cabling and the outer ones remain plain. The remainder of the backplate is decorated with seven bands of etched ornament on a blackened ground that diverge upwards and outwards from the waist to the neck and arm-openings. The ornament consists of interlacing strapwork involving oval cartouches enclosing standing figures. Each band is enclosed to either side by three narrow bands of which the central one is etched with guilloche and the outer ones remain plain. The waist-flange is etched with a series of lobes. Part of the portion of half armour HEN.M.7A-C-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: 15.0 cm
Height: 35.4 cm
Weight: 1.44 kg
Width: 34.4 cm

Relative size of this object

34.4 cm35.4 cm15 cm What does this represent?

Relative size of this object is displayed using code inspired by Good Form and Spectacle's work on the British Museum's Waddeson Bequest website and their dimension drawer. They chose a tennis ball to represent a universally sized object, from which you could envisage the size of an object.

Acquisition and important dates

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


16th century
Production date: circa AD 1580


North Italian

The backplate is bright with a medium patination overall. Its etched ornament is extensively worn throughout. The interior of the backplate shows fairly extensive deposits of solder at its top centre.

People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Strap composed of leather ( modern)
Buckle composed of iron (metal)
Rivet Caps composed of brass (alloy)
Main Plate

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production

Hammering : Formed of a single plate slightly shaped to the shoulders; hammered, shaped, riveted, with etched decoration

Identification numbers

Accession number: HEN.M.7B-1933
Primary reference Number: 17751
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Thursday 7 January 2016 Last processed: Sunday 21 March 2021

Associated departments & institutions

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

Citation for print

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2022) "Backplate (body armour)" Web page available at: Accessed: 2022-11-29 14:12:26

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