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Breastplate (body armour): HEN.M.123-1933

Object information

Awaiting location update


Unknown (Probably)




Breastplate with asociated tassets, for use by a pikeman. The breastplate is of late 'peascod' form, with a large neck-opening and a short, integral skirt. The arm-openings and the neck-openings have plain inward turns accompanied by single incised lines. The lateral edges of the skirt have plain inward turns accompanied by recessed borders. Riveted at each side of the chest is a pierced stud and swivel-hook to engage and secure the shoulder-straps of the backplate.
The remains of modern shoulder-straps are incorrectly riveted at each shoulder of the breastplate. Riveted at each side of the skirt is a pair of hinges that connect the tassets. The hinges for the right tasset have nearly square terminals at their upper ends, and trefoil terminals at their lower ends. The hinges for the left tasset have obtusely-pointed terminals at their upper and lower ends.
The tassets are of trapezoidal form, widening slightly to their lower ends. The right is embossed to simulate five lames. The left is embossed to simulated six lames of which the last is longer than the rest. The upper edges of the simulated lames are decorated with single incised lines. The lateral and lower edges of each tasset have plain inward turns accompanied by recessed borders. The inner border of the right tasset is stepped. The borders of the right tasset are occupied by round-headed lining-rivets. Both tassets are decorated with three vertical lines of round-headed rivets.
The tassets do not form an exact pair and are associated with the breastplate. The tassets might conceivably be of slightly later date than the breastplate.


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: 22.0 cm
Height: 63.0 cm
Weight: 4.18 kg
Width: 48.0 cm

Relative size of this object

48 cm63 cm22 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


Early 17th Century
Production date: circa AD 1630


The breastplate and tassets are heavily pitted and patinated.

Components of the work

Tasset Decoration

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production

Hammered : The breastplate is of late 'peascod' form, with a large neck-opening and a short, integral skirt; the tassets are of trapezoidal form, widening slightly to their lower ends; hammered, shaped, riveted, the breastplate decorated with recessed borders and incised lines, the tassets embossed to simulate lames, with incised lines

Inscription or legends present

  • Text: PB/19
  • Type: Label

Identification numbers

Accession number: HEN.M.123-1933
Primary reference Number: 18602
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Monday 6 January 2014 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: 2022-12-07 06:58:07

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{{cite web|url= |title=Breastplate (body armour) |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2022-12-07 06:58:07|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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