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Cuisses: HEN.M.8E-1933

Object information

Current Location: Gallery 31 (Armoury)






Pair of cuisses and poleyns, for medium field use, with later etched decoration. Each formed of a cuisse of one plate and a winged poleyn of four lames. The medially-ridged, gutter-shaped cuisse has a convex upper edge which is decorated with a file-roped inward turn, bordered by a file-roped rib. Riveted within the upper corner of each cuisse is a modern buff leather strap, the outer of which terminates in a single-ended tongued iron buckle. The outer lateral edge of the cuisse is decorated with a file-roped partial inward turn. The lower edge of the cuisse is overlapped by a poleyn of four medially-ridged lames that overlap outwards from the second which is shaped to the point of the knee and has a small, oval side wing with a medial pucker at its rear. The wing of the second lame and the convex lower edge of the fourth lame are each decorated with file-roped inward turns accompanied by narrow grooves. The secondary edges of the poleyn are decorated with file-roped partial inward turns. Each poleyn shows a rust-perforation at the point of the knee. The centre of the lower edge of the fourth lame of each poleyn is pierced with a later horizontal slot intended to engage the turning-pin of a greave. It is almost certain, however, that these cuisses and poleyns would originally have been worn without greaves.
The cuisses and poleyns are each decorated medially with an etched band of trophies on a blackened and stippled ground, repeated at the upper border of the cuisse. The medial band is bordered to either side by three narrow bands of which the central one is decorated with guilloche. These narrow bands are repeated around the wings of the poleyn. The etching is modern. 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
Production date: circa AD 1580


North Italian

The cuisses are bright with a patchy light to medium patination.

These pieces protect the upper legs, cuisses, and the knees, poleyns, and were held in position by leather straps which were buckled up at the back of the leg. They have very characteristic etched decoration in the form of a central band with trophies of arms and scrolled decoration on a stippled background. Originally this was probably gilded and would have been owned by a moderately wealthy knight.

Components of the work

Buckles composed of iron (metal) ( modern)
Straps composed of leather ( modern)
Right Cuisse Depth 12 cm Height 37.8 cm Weight 0.73 kg Width 17 cm
Left Cuisse Depth 13 cm Height 37 cm Weight 0.61 kg Width 16 cm

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production

Hammered : Each formed of a medially-ridged, gutter-shaped cuisse of one plate and a winged poleyn of four lames; hammered, shaped, riveted with etched and file-roped decoration

Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: tag with number

  • Text: PB/11
  • Location: Left cuisse
  • Type: Label

Inscription present: tag with number

  • Text: PB/12
  • Location: Right cuisse
  • Type: Label

Identification numbers

Accession number: HEN.M.8E-1933
Primary reference Number: 17761
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Tuesday 13 April 2021 Last processed: Friday 8 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

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

Citation for print

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Cuisses" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-04-24 17:07:23

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{{cite web|url= |title=Cuisses |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-04-24 17:07:23|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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