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Backplate (body armour): HEN.M.14D-1933

Object information

Current Location: Gallery 31 (Armoury)






Backplate, for field use. Formed of a single plate strongly shaped to the shoulder-blades. The broad, nearly straight neck-opening and the arm-opening have file-roped inward turns accompanied by recessed borders. The border at the neck descends to an open V-shape at its centre. The backplate is decorated medially with a single incised line that extends from just below the neck-opening to just above the waist which is decorated with a single, transverse, incised line. 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. The border contains nine lining-rivets, of which the outer ones are externally-flush to permit the overlap of the breastplate, and the remainder are of brass-capped, round-headed form. Attached by a single, round-headed brass rivet at each shoulder is a modern double-end, tongued, iron buckle that serves to receive the shoulder-strap of the breastplate. The buckle has rectangular loops and a rectangular hasp with cropped corners. Later rivet holes pierced just to the outside of each of the present buckles, must at some time have served to attach similar buckles or straps. Later wiring-holes are pierced at each side of the neck-opening. Attached by a single round-headed brass rivet at each side of the waist is a modern leather strap forming a waist-belt. The right strap terminates in a double-ended, tongued, iron buckle with rounded rectangular loops and a rectangular hasp with cropped corners and slightly constricted sides. The hasp is secured to the strap by a single flat-headed rivet. 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: 15 cm
Height: 37.4 cm
Weight: 1.43 kg
Width: 36.4 cm

Acquisition and important dates

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


16th Century, Late
Production date: circa AD 1580


North Italian

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

The backplate shows cracks at the left side of the waist, the centre of the right arm-opening, and the centre of the lower edge of the skirt, as well as dents just below the centre of the right arm-opening and at the right end of the lower edge of the skirt. Its metal shows evidence of delamination at the point of the right shoulder-blade.

Components of the work

Belt composed of leather ( modern)
Buckles composed of iron (metal)
Rivet Caps composed of brass (alloy)

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production

Hammering : Formed of a single plate strongly shaped to the shoulder-blades; hammered, shaped, riveted, decorated with recessed borders, raised ribs, incised lines and file-roping

Identification numbers

Accession number: HEN.M.14D-1933
Primary reference Number: 17902
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Wednesday 14 September 2022 Last processed: Friday 8 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

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