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Backplate (body armour): HEN.M.8C-1933

Object information

Awaiting location update






Backplate with restored skirt, for field use, with etched decoration. The backplate is made in one piece with a short flange at the waist. It is slightly shaped to the shoulder-blades and the hollow of the back. Its neck-opening, arm-openings and waist-flange have plain inward turns. A modern shoulder-strap is attached by a single round-headed rivet at each shoulder. A modern strap, forming a waist-belt is riveted at each side of the waist. The left strap terminates in a modern double-ended, tongued iron buckle. The backplate has suffered a number of small to large rust-perforations; three of which are repaired with riveted internal patches. Its metal shows extensive delamination and cracking. Attached to the waist-flange by a single rivet at each side is a modern skirt of one lame with file-roped inward turns at its straight lower and lateral edges.
The backplate is decorated with bands and borders of etched trophies involving winged herms, dolphins and cartouches depicting human figures all on a blackened ground. The junction of the upper end of the central vertical band with the border of the neck is decorated with a pair of medallions depicting confronted male and female classical busts. The medallions are flanked by a pair of confronted winged dragons. The main bands and the borders are in every case enclosed by groups of narrower bands, of which some are decorated with guilloche or roping. The lower and lateral edge of the modern skirt are decorated with etched bands of trophies on a stippled and blackened ground. This is enclosed above by three narrower bands of which the central one is decorated with guilloche. Part of the composite half armour HEN.M.8A-F-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: 17.0 cm
Height: 41.0 cm
Weight: 1.32 kg
Width: 36.2 cm

Relative size of this object

36.2 cm41 cm17 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/17th century
Circa 1600 - 1610


North Italian

The backplate and skirt are bright. The former, which is much worn, has a variable medium patination. The skirt shows a heavier pitting and patination.

The backplate would not originally have been fitted with a skirt.

People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Buckles composed of iron (metal) ( modern)
Straps composed of leather ( modern)

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production

Hammered : The backplate is made in one piece with a short flange at the waist; hammered, shaped, riveted with etched and file-roped decoration

Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: tag with number

  • Text: PB/7
  • Type: Label

Identification numbers

Accession number: HEN.M.8C-1933
Primary reference Number: 17759
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Thursday 7 January 2016 Last processed: Wednesday 14 April 2021

Associated departments & institutions

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

Citation for print

This record can be cited in the Harvard Bibliographic style using the text below:

The Fitzwilliam Museum (2022) "Backplate (body armour)" Web page available at: Accessed: 2022-12-03 18:44:36

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{{cite web|url= |title=Backplate (body armour) |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2022-12-03 18:44:36|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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