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Breastplate (body armour): HEN.M.21A-1933

Object information

Awaiting location update


Production: Unknown




Breastplate, for use by an harquebusier. Formed in one piece with a narrow, upward-flanged neck-opening, and a short flange at the waist. It is medially-ridged and dips down at the centre of the waist. Its arm and neck-openings have plain inward turns. The turn at the neck-opening is cracked and damaged at the left side. A later wiring-hole is pierced at each side of the neck-opening. A mushroom-shaped stud, to engage the shoulder-straps of the backplate, is riveted high up at each side of the chest. The left side of the breastplate is struck with the proof-mark of a bullet. Part of the incomplete half-armour HEN.M.21A-C-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: 17.0 cm
Height: 39.0 cm
Weight: 4.09 kg
Width: 34.5 cm

Relative size of this object

34.5 cm39 cm17 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.

Place(s) associated

  • London ⪼ England

Acquisition and important dates

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


17th Century
Circa 1640 - 1650


English; London

The breastplate is heavily pitted and patinated to a russet colour.

Components of the work


Materials used in production


Techniques used in production

Hammering : Formed in one piece with a narrow, upward-flanged neck-opening, and a short flange at the waist; hammered, shaped, riveted, medially-ridged

Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: indistinct mark, possibly consisting of a pair of initials of which the second can be read as C

  • Text: C
  • Location: Just below the centre of the neck-opening
  • Type: Mark

Inscription present: proof-mark of a bullet

  • Location: Left side of breastplate
  • Method of creation: Struck
  • Type: Mark

Identification numbers

Accession number: HEN.M.21A-1933
Primary reference Number: 18071
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Thursday 30 June 2016 Last processed: Sunday 21 March 2021

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 (2022) "Breastplate (body armour)" Web page available at: Accessed: 2022-11-28 00:59:59

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{{cite web|url= |title=Breastplate (body armour) |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2022-11-28 00:59:59|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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