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Gauntlet: HEN.M.14I-1933

Object information

Current Location: Gallery 31 (Armoury)


Production: Unknown (Possibly)




Gauntlet for the right hand, of fingered form, for field use. Formed of a fairly short, flared cuff, a wrist-plate, five metacarpal-plates, a knuckle-plate, five scaled finger-defences, and a hinged, scaled thumb-defence. The cuff is formed of an outer plate and a slightly shorter inner plate. The latter fits within the former and is secured to it at either side by two rivets. Both rivets were originally of flat-headed type, but the lower one has in each case been replaced by one of brass with a round head. The medially-ridged outer plate rises to an obtuse central point. The upper edge of the cuff has a plain inward turn, bordered by sixteen modern round-headed brass lining-rivets. The lower edge of the cuff has a plain outward turn at the inside of the wrist where it is cut away in a concave curve. Each side of the lower edge of the cuff is pierced with a modern wiring-hole. The outer plate of the cuff is linked by a wrist-plate to a series of five metacarpal plates and a knuckle plate. The cuff, the metacarpal-plates and the knuckle-plate all overlap inwards to the wrist-plate. The wrist-plate and the metacarpal-plates are medially-ridged, while the knuckle-plate is transversely-ridged and shaped between the fingers. The lower edge of the cuff and the upper edges of the metacarpal-plates and the knuckle plate are all bevelled. The edges are bordered by single incised lines and decorated medially with V-shaped nicks. A single transverse incised line also decorates the wrist-plate mid-way between its upper and lower edges. The lower edge of the knuckle-plate is chipped at the centre of the fourth finger. The wrist-plate, cuff, the metacarpal-plates and the knuckle-plate are connected to one another at their outer ends by modern, round-headed, brass rivets. The edges of the plates project as obtusely-pointed lobes at their articulation-points. Attached within the knuckle-plate by pairs of modern round-headed brass rivets with octagonal internal washers are four finger-defences formed of between five and seven transversely-curved, downward-overlapping scales, of which the last has a rounded end. All of the scales of the second finger and the first scale of the first finger are original and have bevelled lower edges. They are secured to their underlying modern leather strips by pairs of externally-flush rivets except in the case of the last scale of the second finger, which is secured by a pair of externally-flush rivets proximally, and a single round-headed brass rivet with an octagonal internal washer distally. The remaining scales are modern restorations secured to their underlying leather strips by single externally-flush rivets except in the case of the last scales of the first, third and fourth fingers which are secured by single externally-flush rivets proximally, and single round-headed brass rivets with polygonal internal washers distally. The last lame of the fourth finger is incorrectly overlapped by the preceding lame which is pierced with a rivet-hole distally. Attached by a modern buff-leather hinge to the front edge of the gauntlet is a large modern thumb-defence. The hinge is secured to the gauntlet by the same rivet that connects the fourth and fifth metacarpal-plates to one another. The rivet is fitted with an octagonal internal washer. The hinge is secured to the rear edge of the main plate of the thumb-defence by a pair of round-headed brass rivets with octagonal internal washers. The main plate is of lozenge shape with a truncated lower end where it overlaps three downward-overlapping scales matching those of the finger-defences. The upper end of the main plate curves outwards and is medially-ridged. The lower end of the ridge terminates over the knuckle in a chevron-shaped step. The lower part of the front edge of the main plate is flanged inwards. A round-headed rivet located at the rear edge of the main plate probably served to secure a leather loop that passed around the thumb. 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: 13.1 cm
Height: 30.5 cm
Weight: 0.59 kg
Width: 13 cm

Relative size of this object

13 cm30.5 cm13.1 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


Early 17th Century
Circa 1610 CE - 1620 CE


The gauntlet originally had a 'black from the hammer' finish, now cleaned to a mottled bright finish with a medium patination overall.

Components of the work

Rivets composed of brass (alloy) ( modern)
Hinge composed of leather ( modern)
Strips composed of leather ( modern)
Lining-rivets composed of brass (alloy)
Main Plate
Outer Plate

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production

Hammering : Formed of a fairly short, flared cuff, a wrist-plate, five metacarpal-plates, a knuckle-plate, five scaled finger-defences, and a hinged, scaled thumb-defence; hammered, shaped, riveted, medially and transversely-ridged, with bevelled and incised decoration and V-shaped nicks

Identification numbers

Accession number: HEN.M.14I-1933
Primary reference Number: 17925
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) "Gauntlet" Web page available at: Accessed: 2023-06-03 19:57:06

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