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Breastplate (body armour): HEN.M.112A-1933

Object information

Awaiting location update


Production: Unknown




Breastplate, for heavy cavalry use. Formed of a medially-ridged main plate projecting forward over the belly and fitted with movable gussets at the arm-openings and a separate waist-plate. The almost straight neck-opening and the gussets have boldly roped inward turns. The main plate was formerly pierced at the right armpit with a pair of large, vertically-aligned holes for the attachment of a missing lance-rest. The holes have been plugged in modern times with large, externally-flush rivets. The gussets at the arm-openings are secured to the main plate by modern round-headed rivets with roughly-cut, circular internal washers at their upper and lower ends. The upper ones move within diagonal slots cut in the gussets. Attached within the upper end of each gusset by an externally-flush rivet is a modern double-ended, tongued, iron buckle with filed decoration. The right buckle, which lacks its tongue has a trapezoidal hasp with rounded corners. The left buckle has a parallel-sided hasp with an obtusely printed end. The right gusset is pierced just under the armpit with a later hole of uncertain function. Attached within the lower edge of the main plate by a modern round-headed rivet with a roughly-cut, circular internal washer at each side is a waist-plate which is flanged outwards at its lower edge to receive a skirt. Each side of the waist-plate is pierced with a rivet-hole for the attachment of the missing skirt. The skirt was further connected to the flange by an internal leather located mid-way along the flange at each side. A pair of modern, externally-flush rivets retain a fragment of each of the modern leathers. The centre of the flange is pierced with a small, countersunk hole of uncertain function. Together with the associated backplate HEN.M.112B-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: 17.5 cm
Height: 32.2 cm
Weight: 2.48 kg
Width: 34.5 cm

Relative size of this object

34.5 cm32.2 cm17.5 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


Mid-16th Century
Production date: circa AD 1540


South German

The breastplate is bright with some minor patches of light patination and pitting on the main plate and gussets and heavier patination on the waist-flange.

The left gusset shows a different internal colour and workmanship to the rest of the breastplate, and is almost certainly replaced.

Components of the work

Leathers composed of leather ( modern fragments)
Buckles composed of iron (metal)
Main Plate

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production

Hammered : Formed of a medially-ridged main plate projecting forward over the belly and fitted with moveable gussets at the arm-openings and a separate waist-plate; hammered, shaped, riveted

Identification numbers

Accession number: HEN.M.112A-1933
Primary reference Number: 18582
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Tuesday 20 March 2012 Last processed: Sunday 21 March 2021

Associated departments & institutions

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

Citation for print

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2022) "Breastplate (body armour)" Web page available at: Accessed: 2022-12-05 19:16:24

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