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Breastplate (body armour): HEN.M.10C-1933

Object information

Awaiting location update






Breastplate with skirt, for field use. Formed of a medially-ridged main plate fitted with moveable gussets at the arm-openings, a separate waist-plate of deep-bellied form, and a modern skirt of two lames. The broad, concave neck-opening and the gussets have boldly roped inward turns, accompanied at the neck by a recessed border. The turns of the left gusset have broken through at three points. The arm-openings of the main plate are bordered by single incised lines. The main plate is pierced at the right armpit with a later pair of vertically-aligned holes for a lance-rest. The upper hole shows subsequent enlargement and elongation. A later hole pierced just below the centre of the neck-opening has subsequently been plugged with an externally-flush rivet. The gussets are secured to the main plate by modern, round-headed rivets of brass with circular internal washers at their upper and lower ends. Those at the upper end move within diagonal slots. Attached by a round-headed rivet of brass with a circular internal washer at the upper end of each gusset is a modern, single-ended, tongued, brass buckle with a trapezoidal loop. The rivets occupy later holes located a short distance beneath the originals which now remain vacant. In the case of the left gusset, a vacant hole also occurs just to the inside of the rivets. The left gusset is partly cracked through to the outer edge at its centre. The inner edge of the right gusset is pierced with three small holes of uncertain function between its articulating rivets. A similar hole is pierced at the right of the waist of the main plate. Overlapping the lower edge of the main plate, and attached to it by a modern, round-headed rivet of brass with a circular internal washer at each side is a waist-plate of deep-bellied form. The upper edge of the waist-plate is bordered by a single incised line. The lower edge of the waist-plate is flanged outwards to receive a modern skirt of two upward-overlapping lames. The lames are of shallow chevron-shaped form. The lower edge of the second has a plain, partial, inward turn over the crotch. The lames are connected to one another at each side by brass-capped, round-headed rivets with square, internal washers. The first lame is connected to the flange of the waist-plate by six similar rivets which also serve to retain external buff-leather straps for the attachment of tassets. The left rivet occupies the original hole for attaching the skirt. The right rivet occupies a later hole pierced just to the inside of the original hole which has broken out to the edge. The remaining rivets all occupy later holes. Two later holes have been pierced just above and to the outside of the original right hole, and single holes just above and to the outside of the original left hole and just to the outside of the second from right rivet. A further single hole pierced at the centre of the waist-flange has subsequently been plugged. Part of the composite half armour HEN.M.10A-G-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: 18.3 cm
Height: 47.0 cm
Weight: 2.3 kg
Width: 36.7 cm

Relative size of this object

36.7 cm47 cm18.3 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
Circa 1560 - 1565


North Italian

The breastplate and its skirt are bright with light patination and occasional heavy rust-pits overall. The surface of the metal shows evidence of delamination at some points.

Components of the work

Rivets composed of brass (alloy) ( modern)
Rivet Caps, Buckle composed of brass (alloy)
Straps composed of leather
Main Plate

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production

Hammering : Formed of a medially-ridged main plate fitted with moveable gussets at the arm-openings, a separate waist-plate of deep-bellied form, and a modern skirt of two lames; hammered, shaped, riveted, with incised and file-roped decoration

Identification numbers

Accession number: HEN.M.10C-1933
Primary reference Number: 17791
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Friday 8 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 (2023) "Breastplate (body armour)" Web page available at: Accessed: 2023-06-05 20:29:19

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