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Breastplate (body armour): HEN.M.14C-1933

Object information

Current Location: Gallery 31 (Armoury)






Breastplate with skirt, for light field use. Formed of a main plate of 'peascod' fashion, with moveable gussets at the arm-openings, and a skirt of two lames. The broad, concave neck-opening and the gussets have bold, heavily-roped, inward turns. That at the neck is bordered by a file-roped raised rib. The arm-openings of the main plate are bordered by single incised lines. The gussets at the arm-openings are secured to the main plate by a modern round-headed sliding-rivet at their upper ends, and by modern externally-flush rivets at their lower ends. The upper right rivet is fitted with an hexagonal internal washer over a slightly larger octagonal internal washer. The upper left rivet, which has a brass cap, is fitted with a circular internal washer over a slightly larger square internal washer. Secured within the upper end of each gusset by a round-headed brass rivet with an octagonal internal washer is a modern leather shoulder-strap. Vacant holes pierced in the main plate, just above each of the upper articulating rivets for the gussets, may at some time have served to attach shoulder-straps. The lower edge of the main plate is flanged outwards to receive the skirt of two upward-overlapping lames. The lower edge of the skirt has an arched cut-out over the crotch. The cut-out has a file-roped inward turn bordered by a file-roped rib. The border is occupied by three functionless rivets of which the central one is of brass-capped, round-headed form, and the outer ones are of externally-flush form. The outer ends of both skirt-lames have partial turns accompanied by recessed borders. The turns of the first lame are decorated with file-roping. The upper edges of both lames are bordered by single incised lines which appear to have been refreshed, and may in the case of the first lame be modern additions. The upper edge of the second lame is decorated medially with a V-shaped nick. The lames of the skirt are connected to one another and to the flange of the breastplate at each side by modern round-headed brass rivets with square internal washers. Attached at each side of the upper edge of the second skirt-lame by pairs of round-headed brass rivets, are three modern leather straps for the attachment of tassets. The inner rivets that secure the outer straps are in each case those that also connect the two lames of the skirt to one another. The first lame of the skirt is pierced with rivet-holes that align with the outer of the rivets that secure each of the outer straps to the third lame. The outer of the rivets that secures the right central strap is fitted with an octagonal internal washer. The lower edge of the third lame of the skirt is pierced to either side with a pair of small wiring-holes. Part of the composite armour HEN.M.14A-L-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: 16.1 cm
Height: 48.8 cm
Weight: 2.46 kg
Width: 35.9 cm

Relative size of this object

35.9 cm48.8 cm16.1 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


Late 16th Century
Production date: circa AD 1580


North Italian

The breastplate is bright with a light to medium patination overall.

Components of the work

Shoulder-straps composed of leather ( modern)
Rivet Caps composed of brass (alloy)

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production

Hammering : Formed of a main plate of 'peascod' fashion, with moveable gussets at the arm-openings, and a skirt of two lames; hammered, shaped, riveted, decorated with recessed borders, raised ribs, incised lines and file-roping

Identification numbers

Accession number: HEN.M.14C-1933
Primary reference Number: 17897
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Wednesday 14 September 2022 Last processed: Wednesday 14 September 2022

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 22:12:12

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