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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

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: 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 (2023) "Backplate (body armour)" Web page available at: Accessed: 2023-12-11 01:57:56

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