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Pauldrons: HEN.M.8D-1933

Object information

Awaiting location update






Two pauldrons nearly forming a pair, and a vambrace for the left arm. For field use, with etched decoration. The pauldrons are each formed of seven medially-ridged lames that overlap outwards from the third which is shaped to the point of the shoulder. The first to third lames extend inwards at the chest and the back. The third lame is expanded downwards to the level of the sixth lame at both the front and the rear. The expanded portions have rounded lower, inner corners and are flanged at their outer edges. The lower inner corners are more strongly rounded at the rear than at the front. The first to third lames are connected to one another at their front and rear ends by modern rivets. The third to seventh lames are connected to one another by modern rivets at their rear ends, and by modern internal leathers at their front ends and centres. The connecting-rivets of the right pauldron move within slots. Each pauldron is fitted at its apex with a modern, single-ended, tongued iron buckle to suspend it from the collar, and pierced at its lower edge with a later or later-enlarged slot to engage the turning-pin riveted to the outside of the turner of the vambrace. The lowest lame of the pauldron is fitted at its front and rear ends, respectively, with a modern strap and buckle that fasten around the inside of the arm.
The vambrace is formed of a tubular turner, a tubular upper cannon, a winged bracelet couter and a tubular lower cannon. The turner and the upper cannon are each closed by overlapped and riveted joins at their rears. The couter is formed of three lames that overlap outwards from the third which is shaped to the point of the elbow and expands to a moderately large wing at both the front and the rear. It completely encircles the arm and is closed by an overlapped and riveted join at the rear. The lames are connected to one another and to the upper and lower cannons by rivets at their outer ends. The lower cannon is formed of an inner and an outer plate: the former fitting within the latter. The plates are connected to one another at the rear by a pair of external hinges, and fastened at the front by a modern stud riveted at the front edge of the inner plate that engages a corresponding hole pierced in the front edge of the rear plate. The main edges of both the pauldrons and the vambraces have file-roped inward turns.
The pauldrons and the vambrace are decorated with etched bands of interlacing foliage, trophies, masks and animals involving oval cartouches enclosing human figures, all on a blackened and partly stippled ground. The main and subsidiary edges of the pauldrons are both decorated with etched borders of stylised acanthus foliage on a blackened and partly stippled ground. The main bands and the borders are in every case enclosed by groups of narrower bands that are in some cases decorated with guilloche or roping. The third lame of each pauldron is decorated at the front and rear with large oval cartouches framed by stylised acanthus foliage and enclosing human figures, and at the point of the shoulder with a pair of confronted valutes enclosing portrait busts. 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

Acquisition and important dates

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


16th Century
Circa 1580 - 1590


North Italian

Small differences in their constructional details and decoration show that the pauldrons do not form an exact pair. Discontinuities in the alignment of the leathering-rivets between the third and fourth lames of the left pauldron indicated that the upper and lower halves of that pauldron are associated with one another. Differences in detail indicate that the upper and lower cannons are associated with one another, and that the couter is probably associated with both. Since all parts of the pauldrons and the vambrace are decorated with the same design, the etching must in part be modern. This is evident at many points. Some of the etching, however, is original, but shows inconsistencies in its style and execution.

The pauldrons and the vambrace are bright with a medium patination overall. Their etched decoration is extensively worn.

People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Buckles composed of iron (metal) ( modern)
Leathers, Straps composed of leather ( modern)
Left Vambrace Depth 18.4 cm Height 39.5 cm Weight 1.04 kg Width 12.5 cm
Left Pauldron Depth 19.5 cm Height 27.0 cm Weight 0.95 kg Width 30.0 cm
Right Pauldron Depth 20.0 cm Height 29.0 cm Weight 0.88 kg Width 29.5 cm
Pauldron Lames

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/10
  • Location: Pauldron and vambrace for left arm
  • Type: Label

Inscription present: tag with number

  • Text: PB/2
  • Location: Pauldron for right arm
  • Type: Label

Identification numbers

Accession number: HEN.M.8D-1933
Primary reference Number: 17760
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Thursday 7 January 2016 Last processed: Friday 8 December 2023

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 (2024) "Pauldrons" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-04-19 16:45:07

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{{cite web|url= |title=Pauldrons |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-04-19 16:45:07|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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