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Backplate (body armour): HEN.M.13D-1933

Object information

Current Location: In storage






Backplate, for field use. Formed of a single plate 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 accompanied by a recessed border. The border at the neck widens to its centre. The backplate is decorated medially with a single incised line that extends from the border at the neck to the waist. 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 file-roped inward turn accompanied by a recessed border. Attached by a single, brass-capped, round-headed rivet with a square internal washer at each shoulder is a modern, buff-leather shoulder-strap. Located just below the rivet is a hole that may originally have served to secure the shoulder-straps. The hole at the right shoulder is occupied by an externally-flush rivet. Pierced just above each of the rivets that now retain the shoulder-straps is a pair of later, vertically-aligned wiring-holes. Attached by a pair of brass-capped, round-headed rivets with square, internal washers at each side of the waist is a modern, buff-leather strap forming a waist-belt. The left strap terminates in a double-ended, tongued iron buckle, secured by a single, flat-headed rivet. The buckle has oval loops with simple, filed ornament at their centres. Pierced at each of the outer ends of the waist are a pair of later lace-holes. Part of the composite half armour HEN.M.13A-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: 15.0 cm
Height: 38.2 cm
Weight: 1.49 kg
Width: 38.1 cm

Relative size of this object

38.1 cm38.2 cm15 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 - 1570


A small section of the left end of the waist has broken away. The centre of the left arm-opening shows a large crack that has been repaired with a riveted internal patch. The metal of the backplate has perforated just to the inside of the patch. The centre of the skirt shows a smaller crack.

North Italian

The backplate is bright with a light patination and fine pitting over most of its surface.

Components of the work

Belt composed of leather ( modern)
Shoulder-straps composed of leather ( modern)
Rivet Caps composed of brass (alloy) ( some modern)
Buckles composed of iron (metal)

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production

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

Identification numbers

Accession number: HEN.M.13D-1933
Primary reference Number: 17875
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Thursday 6 February 2020 Last processed: Wednesday 14 April 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) "Backplate (body armour)" Web page available at: Accessed: 2023-02-04 18:02:20

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