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Gauntlet: HEN.M.136A-1933

Object information

Current Location: In storage

Maker(s)

Production: Unknown

Entities

Categories

Description

Gauntlet, of mitten form, for the right hand, for field use, decorated with fluting in the 'Maximilian' fashion. Formed of a short, slightly flared cuff, five metacarpal-plates, a knuckle-plate, five finger-plates and a hinged thumb-defence. The cuff has a straight edge decorated with a narrow, raised rib accompanied by a recessed border. The cuff is formed of an outer plate and a shorter inner plate which are connected to one another at the front by an external hinge secured at either end by a pair of modern round-headed rivets. The hinge is shaped around the rivets. It is probable that the inner plate was originally rigidly riveted within the outer plate and set somewhat higher than it is now so that the upper edges of the two plates formed a continuous line. The upper edges of both plates have been trimmed, probably to remove turns. Each plate is decorated around the lower end of its recessed border with a later applied, roped rib of gilt-brass. The rib is in each case formed of embossed sheet metal and secured by a series of small round-headed rivets of brass. Four rivets secure the rib to the outer plate, and three to the inner plate. The rib on the outer plate is broken through about a third of the way along from its front end. Both the inner and the outer plates are pierced around the upper ends of their recessed borders with a series of small, close-set holes. The holes in the inner-plate are occupied by the lowest row of rings of a strip of mail formed of three rows of riveted rings. The strip of mail serves to connect the gauntlet to a Persian vambrace (HEN. M.136B-1933) with which it has been later associated. The lower edge of the inner plate of the cuff is decorated with five small, round-headed rivets of brass. A similar rivet decorates the upper inner corner of the same plate. Three vacant holes at the inner end of the plate, and a single vacant hole at its outer end may also originally have been occupied by such rivets. The outer plate of the cuff is decorated with three small, round-headed rivets of brass at its rear end, and one at its inner end. Three vacant holes at its rear end, of which the upper one is now broken out, may also originally have been occupied by such rivets, as may four at the front end of the plate, of which one is again broken out. Attached to the lower end of the outer plate of the cuff is a series of five upward-overlapping metacarpal-plates of which the last is longer than the rest and connected by a knuckle-plate with a roped transverse rib to a series of five downward-overlapping finger-plates of which the last is longer than the rest and has a convex lower edge with a recessed border. The lower edge of the last finger-plate has been trimmed, probably to remove a turn. The plates are connected to one another and to the cuff by modern, brass-capped, round-headed rivets with octagonal internal washers. They are shaped around the rivets. The rivet that secures the knuckle-plate to the first finger-plate at the front is missing, while that which secures the knuckle-plate to the first finger-plate at the rear has been replaced by one of externally-flush form without an internal washer. The rivet that connects the fourth and fifth metacarpal-plates to one another at the inner end has been replaced by one of iron and retains a fragment of a fabric strip covered with crimson silk. The replaced knuckle-plate is of gilt brass. The rear end of the first metacarpal-plate is decorated over the ulna with an almond-shaped boss. The recessed border of the final finger-plate is decorated across its centre with a later, applied, file-roped strip of brass of elongated crescentic form. The strip is secured by five small, round-headed rivets of brass. The metacarpal-plates, the knuckle-plate and the finger-plates are fitted around their external edges with a series of small, round-headed, modern, brass lining-rivets with octagonal, internal washers retaining fragments of a fabric lining-band. The rivets at the inner ends of the knuckle-plate and the final metacarpal-plate are missing. The rear end of the third metacarpal-plate is repaired with a riveted internal patch. The rear end of the fifth metacarpal-plate is pierced with a later wiring-hole. The outer plate of the cuff, the metacarpal-plates and the finger-plates are decorated with eleven longitudinal flutes emphasised by pairs of incised lines. Hinged to the front end of the last metacarpal-plate is the main plate of a thumb-defence. The modern hinge is of gilt brass and shaped around its retaining-rivets. The rivets are of brass with round heads and octagonal, internal washers. Two rivets secure the hinge to the metacarpal-plate, and one to the thumb-defence. The main plate of the thumb-defence is of lozenge-shape with a truncated lower end. Its upper end is medially-ridged. The outer half of the upper end of the main plate is decorated with seven diagonal flutes emphasised by pairs of incised lines. A pair of transverse incised lines also decorate the plate just below its medial ridge. The lower end of the plate is pierced with a pair of rivet-holes for the attachment of the missing thumb-scales. The outermost of the pair of holes is occupied by a small, round-headed rivet of brass with an octagonal, internal washer. The upper edges of the main plate are bordered by a series of small, round-headed modern brass rivets with octagonal internal washers retaining fragments of a lining-band. The outer edge of the plate is pierced with a pair of holes of uncertain function. The lower of the two, which is smaller and more crudely pierced than the other, is probably a modern wiring-hole, as is another of the same character pierced at the top of the plate.

Notes

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: 8 cm
Height: 23.8 cm
Weight: 0.97 kg
Width: 11.1 cm

Relative size of this object

11.1 cm23.8 cm8 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

Dating

Early 16th Century
Circa 1520 CE - 1530 CE

Note

South German

The gauntlet is now heavily patinated to a dark russet colour overall, matching the Persian vambrace (HEN. M.136B-1933) to which it is attached. The gilding of the knuckle-plate and of the applied strips of the cuff and the final finger-plate is now partly worn through to the base metal.

This fine and very unusual piece is made up from a mitten gauntlet, made in Germany in the early 16th century and decorated with very characteristic fluting, which has been attached to a Persian vambrace to protect the lower arm and elbow. Just when this was done is impossible to be certain but probably in the 19th or early 20th century.

Components of the work

Fabric Strip composed of silk (textile) ( crimson, fragments)
Lining-band composed of cloth ( fragments)
Knuckle-plate composed of gilt brass
Rivet composed of iron (metal)
Decoration composed of brass (alloy)
Rivet Caps composed of brass (alloy)
Borders
Parts
Ribs
Thumb-defence

Materials used in production

Steel

Techniques used in production

Hammered : Formed of a short, slightly flared cuff, five metacarpal-plates, a knuckle-plate, five finger-plates and a hinged thumb-defence; hammered, shaped, riveted, decorated with flute, incised, embossed decoration, partly gilded with applied brass decoration, recessed borders and raised ribs
Patinating
Formed

Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: '2354' over the letter 'a'

  • Text: 2354/a
  • Location: Inside
  • Method of creation: Painted in red
  • Type: Mark

Identification numbers

Accession number: HEN.M.136A-1933
Primary reference Number: 18619
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Tuesday 13 April 2021 Last processed: Wednesday 14 April 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 (2023) "Gauntlet" Web page available at: https://data.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/id/object/18619 Accessed: 2023-01-30 09:24:47

Citation for Wikipedia

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{{cite web|url=https://data.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/id/object/18619 |title=Gauntlet |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2023-01-30 09:24:47|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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