Skip to main content

Backplate (body armour): HEN.M.9D-1933

Object information

Awaiting location update






Backplate, for field use, later adapted for use in the annual Giuoco del Ponte in Pisa. Formed of a single plate weakly shaped to the shoulder-blades and the hollow of the back. The broad, shallow neck-opening and the arm-openings have file-roped inward turns. The backplate is decorated medially with a single incised line, now much rubbed. The lower edge of the backplate is flanged outwards to form a short skirt. The edge of the skirt, which is slightly arched at its centre, has a plain, inward turn. Attached by a single, round-headed rivet with an octagonal, internal and external washer at each shoulder is a modern, leather shoulder-strap. A vacant rivet-hole located just below each of the straps may conceivably represent their original attachment-points. Pierced some way beneath each of these holes is a later hole of larger size, fitted with a lead eyelet. Attached by a single, round-headed rivet with an octagonal, internal and external washer at each side of the waist is a modern leather strap forming a waist-belt. The left strap terminates in a modern, double-ended, tongued iron buckle with rectangular loops. Attached by a pair of flat-headed rivets midway up each of its sides is a later horizontal iron strip which is stepped at its front end and must at some time have served to connect the backplate to a breastplate. Part of the composite armour HEN.M.9A-K-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: 16.5 cm
Height: 34.0 cm
Weight: 1.27 kg
Width: 34.0 cm

Acquisition and important dates

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


16th Century, Late
Circa 1580 - 1590


North Italian

The backplate is bright with a variable light to medium pitting and patination overall.

Components of the work

Buckles composed of iron (metal) ( modern)
Straps composed of leather ( modern)
Connecting Strip composed of iron (metal) ( to connect backplate to breastplate)
Eyelet composed of lead

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production

Hammering : Formed of a single plate weakly shaped to the shoulder-blades and the hollow of the back; hammered, shaped, riveted, with incised and file-roped decoration

Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: an eagle in display over a letter M

  • Text: M
  • Location: Left side, just below the arm opening
  • Method of creation: Struck
  • Type: Mark
  • Text: 'G' 'P'
  • Location: To left and right side of waist respectively
  • Method of creation: Incised
  • Type: Mark

Identification numbers

Accession number: HEN.M.9D-1933
Primary reference Number: 17768
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Friday 8 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) "Backplate (body armour)" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-07-16 13:51:39

Citation for Wikipedia

To cite this record on Wikipedia you can use this code snippet:

{{cite web|url= |title=Backplate (body armour) |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-07-16 13:51:39|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

API call for this record

To call these data via our API (remember this needs to be authenticated) you can use this code snippet:

Sign up for updates

Updates about future exhibitions and displays, family activities, virtual events & news. You'll be the first to know...