Skip to main content

Cuirass: M.1.3C-1936

Object information

Awaiting location update


Production: Unknown (Uncertain)




Cuirass, for heavy cavalry use, decorated with fluting in the 'Maximilian' fashion. The breastplate is formed of a strongly rounded main plate with movable gussets at the arm-openings, a waist-plate, a skirt of four lames, tassets of five lames each, and a folding lance-rest. The very shallow neck-opening of the main plate and the gussets have bold, angular, inward turns. The main plate is pierced at the right armpit with a single hole and, below it, a pair of holes for the attachment of a folding lance-rest. The latter is secured by two screws with internal, slotted round heads, passing through the single hole and the outer of the pair of holes into its threaded base-plate. The D-shaped base-plate is decorated around its curved edge with file-roping. The hinged, curved arm of the lance-rest is decorated with four diagonal pairs of incised lines on its front face and with a small, down-turned scroll at its tip. The main plate is decorated with a central group of seven flutes and two lateral groups of five flutes which are emphasised by pairs of incised lines and respectively diverge upwards and outwards from its lower edge towards the centres of the neck and arm-openings, but do not reach them. The centre of the neck-opening is pierced with a pair of lace-holes. The gussets at the arm-openings are secured to the main plate by modern, round-headed rivets at their upper and lower ends. Those at the upper ends move within slots in the gussets and are fitted with octagonal, internal washers. Attached within the upper end of each gusset by a single externally-flush rivet is a modern, double-ended buckle with a central tongue, roller, elaborately filed decoration and a plain, slightly spatulate hasp. Fitted within the lower edge of the main plate is a waist-plate which is deeply notched at each side, flanged outwards to receive a skirt, and decorated at its angle with a transverse incised line. The waist-plate is secured to the main plate at either side by a modern, round-head rivet with an octagonal, internal washer. Located just above and to the outside of these rivets in the waist-plate are the now-vacant, original holes for them. The flange of the waistplate is fitted with a skirt of four upward-overlapping lames. The first lame has rounded upper corners. The third lame has a later, plain, inward turn at the centre of its lower edge, indicating that it originally formed the last skirt lame. The modern fourth lame has a shallow, arched cutout at the centre of its lower edge. The edge of the cut-out has a plain, inward turn accompanied by a recessed border. The lames are connected to one another and to the waist-plate at their outer ends by modern, round-headed rivets with octagonal, internal washers. The rivets that formerly connected the first lame to the waist-plate now only fill the holes in the former since the holes in the latter have broken out. To compensate for this, the first lame has subsequently been connected to the waist-plate by slightly smaller round-headed rivets with octagonal, internal washers located just to the inside of the original rivets. The holes in the third lame for the rivets that now connect it to the fourth lame have been repaired with riveted and welded patches. A later hole located just above the right patch has subsequently been plugged by a later externally-flush rivet, as has the upper of two such holes located just to the outside of the left patch. The lames of the skirt were at one time further connected to one another and to the waist-plate by a pair of internal leathers diverging slightly from either side of the centre of the waist. These are now represented only by the vacant, single rivet-holes for attaching them. The rivet-holes for the right leather occurring within the skirt-lames do not align perfectly with the hole for the same leather occurring within the waist-plate. Two later holes pierced just to the inside of the rivet-hole for the left leather occurring within the third lame are probably associated with the former attachment of the tassets to that lame. The skirt is decorated with three diverging groups of plates, mirroring those of the breastplate. Attached to either side of the lower edge of the skirt by a pair of modern round-headed rivets with octagonal, internal washers, are a pair of tassets of nearly rectangular outline, that are increasingly curved to the thighs from top to bottom. Each tasset is formed of five upward-overlapping lames of which the fifth is taller than the rest and has a plain inward turn at its lower edge, accompanied by a recessed border. The centre of the lower edge of the left tasset has been repaired with riveted internal patches. The lames of the tassets are in each case connected to one another by modern, round-headed rivets with octagonal, internal washers at their outer ends, and by modern, internal leathers secured by single, externally-flush rivets at their inner ends and centres. The rivets for the central-leather on the first, third and fourth lames of the right tasset are located in later holes to the right of the original holes which have broken out. Each tasset is decorated with a single spray of diverging flutes, serving as a continuation of the lateral groups of flutes of the skirt. Part of the composite half armour M.1.3A-E-1936.


History note: Mrs E.W. Stead and Mr Gilbert Stead of Dalston Hall, Cumberland.

Legal notes

Given by Mrs E.W. Stead and Mr Gilbert Stead

Place(s) associated

  • Innsbruck

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (1936-01-15) by Stead, E. W. and Gilbert


16th Century, Early#
Production date: circa AD 1510


South German, possibly Innsbruck

The cuirass is bright with light to medium patination overall. The metal of the breastplate shows evidence of delamination at many points.

The skirt has been skilfully composed of disparate but well-matched pieces, possibly deriving from a common source. Although the breastplate and backplate are similarly decorated, the latter fits poorly within the former and is clearly associated with it. The vacant holes adjacent to the present articulation-holes in the waist-plate of the breastplate show that it must also be associated with the breastplate. The skirt and tassets may conceivably belong to the waist-plate, but the damage to the lower edge of the latter makes this difficult to establish with certainty. The fourth lame of the skirt is a modern restoration. Prior to this restoration, the tassets were connected directly to the third lame of the skirt which was then given a turn at the centre of its lower edge. The inner ends of the first to third lames of both tassets have been slightly trimmed. The notching of the edges of the plates between the flutes on the breastplate, skirt and tassets appears to have been carried out in modern times, to make these elements match the backplate. Alterations to the holes in the breastplate used to attach the lance-rest, show that the present lance-rest is associated with the breastplate. The relatively fresh edges and lighter colour of the waist-plate of the backplate suggest that it may be a modern restoration made to match the waist-plate of the breastplate. Discontinuities in the lines of fluting indicate that the first lame of the skirt of the backplate is associated with the other three lames. The first lame was originally detachable and shows signs of trimming at its outer ends.

Components of the work

Buckle composed of iron (metal)
Leathers composed of leather
Shoulder-strap composed of leather
Breastplate Depth 18.8 cm Height 63.3 cm Weight 3.8 kg Width 42.0 cm
Backplate Depth 19.5 cm Height 49.4 cm Weight 2.78 kg Width 35.4 cm
Main Plate

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production

Hammering : The breastplate is formed of a strongly rounded main plate with movable gussets at the arm-opening, a waist-plate, a skirt of four lames, tassets of five lames each, and a folding lance-rest; th backplate is formed of a main plate, a waist-plate and a skirt of four lames; hammered, shaped, riveted, hinged, with recessed borders, fluted, file-roped and incised decoration

Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: (?)

  • Text: 9
  • Location: Inside breastplate and backplate
  • Method of creation: Painted in white
  • Type: Number

Identification numbers

Accession number: M.1.3C-1936
Primary reference Number: 18140
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Monday 11 January 2016 Last processed: Monday 18 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) "Cuirass" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-03-04 09:48:20

Citation for Wikipedia

To cite this record on Wikipedia you can use this code snippet:

{{cite web|url= |title=Cuirass |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-03-04 09:48:20|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

API call for this record

To call these data via our API (remember this needs to be authenticated) you can use this code snippet:

More objects and works of art you might like


Accession Number: O.10B-1904


Accession Number: M.19A-1950


Accession Number: C.236-1991


Accession Number: CM.12-1943

Sign up for updates

Updates about future exhibitions and displays, family activities, virtual events & news. You'll be the first to know...