Skip to main content

Gauntlets: HEN.M.141-1933

Object information

Current Location: Gallery 31 (Armoury)


Production: Unknown




Pair of gauntlets, of mitten form, for field use. Each is formed of a short, flared cuff, five metacarpal plates, a knuckle-plate, five finger-plates and a hinged thumb-defence. The cuff has a straight edge with a boldly roped inward turn. It is formed of an outer plate and a shorter inner plate which fits within the latter. The outer plate is decorated with an almond-shaped boss over the ulna, outlined by a single incised line. The inner plate is decorated at its lower edge with a file-roped inward turn. The two plates are connected to one another by an external hinge at their outer ends and fastened to one another by a small, plain stud at the inner end of the inner plate engaging a corresponding circular hole in the outer plate. The hinge on the right gauntlet has an elaborately-shaped profile and is decorated with a simple, punched design. Each end of the hinge is secured by two externally-flush rivets. The hinge on the right gauntlet is a modern replacement, but probably of contemporary manufacture. It has lobed ends bordered by a simple, punched design, now much worn. Each end is secured by a single externally-flush rivet. That on the inner plate occupies the upper of the two holes for the original hinge, while that on the outer plate occupies a later hole pierced between and within them. On both gauntlets, each side of the outer plate is fitted at the wrist with an externally-flush rivet retaining a fragment of the wrist-strap. Attached to the lower end of the outer plate 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 file-roped inward turn bordered by four externally flush lining-rivets retaining an incomplete internal leather lining-band in the case of the right gauntlet. The plates are connected to one another and to the cuff at their outer ends by round-headed rivets with octagonal, internal washers. They are shaped around the rivets. Hinged to the front end of the last metacarpal-plate is a thumb-defence. That of the left gauntlet is probably original to it while that of the right is associated. The connecting-hinge of the left gauntlet is of iron, with rounded ends decorated around their margins with short, radial, punched lines. Each end of the hinge is retained by a single, modern rivet which is round-headed on the metacarpal-plate and flat-headed on the main-plate of the thumb-defence. The connecting-hinge of the right gauntlet is of buff-leather, retained by a single, modern flat-headed rivet at either end. The main plate of each thumb-defence is of lozenge shape with a truncated lower end where it overlaps two downward-overlapping scales on the left gauntlet, and three on the right gauntlet. The main plate of the right gauntlet is slightly smaller than that of the left, and more obtusely pointed at its upper end. The upper ends of both main plates are medially ridged. In the case of the right gauntlet, the lower end of the medial ridge terminates over the knuckle in a roped, almond-shaped boss. The terminal scale of each thumb-defence has a rounded bottom end. That of the left gauntlet, which is probably of early 17th century make, is medially ridged and decorated at its lower end with a pair of incised lines in chevron formation. The lower edge of each of the first two thumb-scales of the left gauntlet is decorated with a V-shaped nick. The main plate and scales of each thumb-defence are connected by internal leathers secured by externally-flush rivets. In the case of the right gauntlet two horizontally-orientated rivets secure the leather to the main plate, and two vertically-orientated rivets originally connected it to each of the scales. Those of the terminal scale have been lost, and this scale is therefore secured directly to the first scale by a modern, externally-flush rivet that passes through the original upper hole of the former and a later hole pierced in the lower edge of the latter. In the case of the left gauntlet, one rivet secures the leather to the main plate, two horizontally-orientated rivets to the first and second scales, and two vertically-orientated rivets to the terminal scale. The inner edges of the cuffs, the outer ends of the metacarpal-plates, the knuckle-plates, and the finger-plates, the edges of the main plates of the thumb-defences, and the lower edge of the final finger-plate of the right gauntlet are all pierced with numerous later holes of small size for sewing in lining-gloves. The upper edge of the outer plate of the right gauntlet is pierced with seven later holes, in five cases filled with externally flush rivets, the outer three of which retain a fragment of a later lining-band.


History note: Probably Mr James Stewart Henderson of 'Abbotsford', Downs Road, St Helen's Park, Hastings, Sussex

Legal notes

Probably J.S. Henderson Bequest

Place(s) associated

  • Nuremburg

Acquisition and important dates

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


16th century
Circa 1530 CE - 1540 CE


Armour gauntlets could either have individual fingers or, like this one, have all the fingers joined - just like winter mittens today. Mitten gauntlets were used where less dexterity was required such as for the hand holding the reins of a horse. All armour gauntlets had a leather glove sewn into the inside.

South German, Nuremberg

The gauntlets are bright with light patination overall.

Components of the work

Hinge composed of iron (metal) ( connecting-hinge to left gauntlet) leather ( connecting-hinge to right gauntlet)
Internal Leathers composed of leather
Right Gauntlet Depth 10.9 cm Height 24 cm Weight 0.349 kg Width 11.4 cm
Left Gauntlet Depth 11.2 cm Height 23.5 cm Weight 0.342 kg Width 10.7 cm
Main Plates
Terminal Scale

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production

Hammered : Each formed of a short, flared, hinged cuff, five metacarpal plates, a knuckle-plate, five finger-plates and a hinged thumb-defence; hammered, shaped, riveted, with medially-ridged, file-roped, transverse ribs and punched decoration

Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: N within a circle

  • Text: N
  • Location: Each gauntlet in the centre of the outer plate
  • Method of creation: Struck
  • Type: Mark

Identification numbers

Accession number: HEN.M.141-1933
Primary reference Number: 18636
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) "Gauntlets" Web page available at: Accessed: 2023-05-30 13:55:45

Citation for Wikipedia

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

{{cite web|url= |title=Gauntlets |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2023-05-30 13:55:45|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:

Please enter your name as you would like to be addressed
Please enter your email address
The object accession number - this is prefilled
Please enter your query with as much detail as possible

More objects and works of art you might like

Half armour

Accession Number: HEN.M.5A-E-1933

Composite armour

Accession Number: M.1.1A-H-1936

Composite armour

Accession Number: M.13-1941

Sign up for updates

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