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Breastplate (body armour): HEN.M.18B-1933

Object information

Awaiting location update


Production: Unknown (Possibly)




Breastplate, for use by a harquebusier. The breastplate is formed in one piece with a narrow, upward-flanged neck-opening and a flange at the waist. It is medially-ridged and dips strongly to the centre of the waist. Riveted at each side of the chest is a modern mushroom-shaped stud that serves to engage the shoulder-straps of the backplate. Large modern wiring-holes have been pierced at each arm-opening and to either side of the centre of the neck-opening. Those at the arm-openings have subsequently been partly closed. Attached by a single round-headed rivet at each side of the breastplate, just above the waist-flange, is a modern, hinged iron hasp for the suspension of the tassets. The distal end of the left hasp is fitted with a mushroom-shaped stud, while that of the right hasp is fitted with a symmetrical turning-pin. The arm-openings and the neck-opening have plain inward turns. The turns of the former are bordered by single incised lines. Three pairs of incised lines diverge upwards and outwards from the waist to the centres of the arm-openings and the neck-opening respectively. The centre of the left side of the breastplate is struck with the proof-mark of a bullet. The breastplate appears originally to have been made for use by an harquebusier rather than a cuirassier. Part of the composite three-quarter armour HEN.M.18A-F-1933.


History note: Probably in the Stafford Collection sold by Christies, London, 28-30 May 1885, Lot 74 for £29. Subsequently in the Amherst Collection, sold by Christies, London, 11 December 1908, Lot 56, 32 gns. Mr James Stewart Henderson of 'Abbotsford', Downs Road, St Helen's Park, Hastings, Sussex.

Legal notes

J.S. Henderson Bequest

Measurements and weight

Depth: 18.5 cm
Height: 44.0 cm
Weight: 4.75 kg
Width: 34.2 cm

Acquisition and important dates

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


17th Century#
Circa 1630 CE - 1640 CE


The armour has a russet finish over a variably-pitted surface that may originally have been either bright or 'black from the hammer'.

Components of the work

Hinge Hasp composed of iron (metal)

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production

Hammering : The medially-ridged breastplate is formed in one piece with a narrow, upward-flanged neck-opening and a flange at the waist; hammered, shaped, riveted, hinged, decorated with inicised lines

Identification numbers

Accession number: HEN.M.18B-1933
Primary reference Number: 18006
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) "Breastplate (body armour)" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-04-13 14:19:17

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{{cite web|url= |title=Breastplate (body armour) |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-04-13 14:19:17|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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