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Tassets: HEN.M.15F-1933

Object information

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A pair of divisible, knee-length tassets, for use by a cuirassier. The tassets are each formed of nineteen upward-overlapping lames, terminating in winged poleyns, each formed of four lames that overlap outwards from the third which is shaped to the point of the knee. The tassets can be separated between their thirteenth and fourteenth lames where they are connected to one another by studs and keyhole-slots. The first lame in each instance is angled inward at its upper edge. The centre of the inward-angled section is boxed to fit over the hinge that formerly connected it to the breastplate. The first thirteen lames are connected to one another by three modern internal leathers secured by pairs of rivets. The remaining lames of the tassets and their poleyns are connected to one another by rivets at their outer ends. Many of the connecting-rivets are now missing. The wings of the poleyns are of heart-shaped form with pronounced central puckers. The tassets have file-roped inward turns at their main edges, and are decorated with pairs of incised lines and filed nicks, cusps and ogees at their subsidiary edges. Part of the composite three-quarter armour HEN.M.15A-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: 26.0 cm
Height: 27.7 cm
Weight: 2.26 kg
Width: 26.0 cm

Acquisition and important dates

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


17th Century#
Production date: circa AD 1620


The tassets, close helmet (HEN.M.15A-1933), and rear skirt (HEN.M.15D-1933) are well matched and may originally have belonged to one another, with the exception of the poleyns which are composed of disparate elements and show traces of gilding. The main plate of the right poleyn is etched with bands and borders of scrolling foliage in the Italian fashion of about 1560-78. The main plate of the left poleyn is decorated with fluting in the German fashion of about 1510-20.

Now is a russet colour overall, but was originally bright or in parts, perhaps blued

Components of the work

Poleyns composed of gilt
Internal Leathers composed of leather
Left Poleyn
Right Poleyn

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production

Hammering : Each are formed of nineteen upward-overlapping lames, terminating in winged poleyns, each formed of four lames that overlap outwards from the third which is shaped to the point of the knee; hammered, shaped, riveted, hinged, decorated with file-roping, incised lines, filed nicks, cusps and ogees, fluting (left poleyn) and etching (right poleyn)

Identification numbers

Accession number: HEN.M.15F-1933
Primary reference Number: 17960
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Friday 8 January 2016 Last processed: Thursday 7 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

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

Citation for print

This record can be cited in the Harvard Bibliographic style using the text below:

The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Tassets" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-07-20 04:57:16

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{{cite web|url= |title=Tassets |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-07-20 04:57:16|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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