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Gauntlet: M.2-1942

Object information

Current Location: Gallery 31 (Armoury)


Unknown (Possibly)




Gauntlet, for duelling, of fingered form for the left hand. Formed of a long, tubular cuff, three wrist-plates, five metacarpal-plates, a knuckle-plate, five scaled finger-defences, and a hinged, scaled thumb-defence. The cuff, which fits the forearm closely, flares only slightly to its straight upper edge which has a file-roped inward turn bordered by a file-roped rib. The turn and the rib are each accompanied by pairs of incised lines. The cuff is formed of an inner and an outer plate. The former fits within the latter and is connected to it at the rear by a single, large rectangular hinge secured at each end by a pair of externally-flush rivets. Each end of the hinge is shaped as three lobes, the outer of which contain the rivets. The cuff is fastened by a small circular stud riveted midway down the front edge of the inner plate that engages a corresponding circular hole pierced in the front edge of the outer plate. The inner and the outer plates are each fitted, just below the level of their connecting hinge, with a horizontal row of four externally-flush lining-rivets with circular internal washers of leather. The rivets of the inner plate retain fragments of a fabric lining-band. The slightly concave lower edge of the inner plate has a file-roped, inward turn accompanied by a pair of incised lines. The outer plate of the cuff overlaps three downward-overlapping wrist-plates of which the first two are short and have concave lower edges, bordered by pairs of incised lines, and the third is slightly larger and has convex upper and lower edges. The third plate is decorated with a file-roped, transverse rib, accompanied to either side by a pair of incised lines. Its lower end is overlapped by five upward-overlapping metacarpal-plates which have concave upper edges bordered by pairs of incised lines. The lower end of the fifth plate is overlapped by a knuckle-plate that is weakly shaped to the point of each knuckle. Pairs of incised lines decorate the upper edges and sides of each knuckle, except at the outer ends of the knuckle-plate. The cuff, the wrist-plates, the metacarpal-plates and the knuckle-plate are connected to one another at their outer ends by externally-flush sliding-rivets. The edges of the lames project as low, rounded lobes at their articulation-points. The rivet that connects the rear ends of the second and third metacarpal-plates to one another retains a fragment of leather, possibly representing the remains of a strap that fastened across the inside of the hand. A small hole pierced at the front end of the third wrist lame may also have served to attach a strap. Attached within the lower edge of the knuckle-plate by pairs of externally-flush rivets in each instance, are four finger-defences formed of between eight and eleven upward-overlapping scales, of which the last has a rounded end. The upper edge of each scale is decorated with a single incised line and a medial, V-shaped nick. Each scale is secured to an underlying leather strip by a pair of externally-flush rivets. The final scale of each finger-defence is additionally secured at its tip by a third such rivet. Attached by a modern iron hinge to the front edge of each gauntlet is a thumb-defence. The hinge, which is shaped around the rivets, is secured to the gauntlets by the rivet that connects the fourth and fifth metacarpal-plates to one another. It is secured to the rear edge of the main plate of the thumb-defence by a single externally-flush rivet. The medially-ridged main plate is of lozenge-shape with a truncated lower end where it is overlapped by five upward-overlapping scales of the same design as the finger-scales. The main plate is stepped at its lower end, and decorated just above the step with a file-roped, almond-shaped boss. Its upper end curves outwards.


History note: Mr Francis Henry Cripps-Day

Legal notes

Given by F.H.Cripps-Day

Measurements and weight

Depth: 8.9 cm
Height: 34.9 cm
Weight: 0.5 kg
Width: 10.9 cm

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (1942-06-20) by Cripps-Day, Francis Henry


17th Century, Early#
Production date: circa AD 1610


Differences in workmanship, ornament and colour indicate that the thumb and finger-defences are modern restorations. The gauntlet appears originally to have had a `black-from-the hammer' finish, but is now cleaned to a bright, heavily patinated finish.

This, very rare, type of gauntlet was worn on the right hand when duelling with swords. Unlike the usual form of gauntlet, the finger plates are very closely overlapped upwardly, the opposite of the usual gauntlet, for greater protection. It has a very long wrist for added protection.

Components of the work

Lining-band composed of cloth ( fragments)
Strap composed of leather ( fragment)
Hinge composed of iron (metal) ( thumb-defence)
Circular Washers composed of leather
Leathers composed of leather
Cuff, Third Plate
Main Plate
Thumb Defence

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production

Hammered : Formed of a long, tubular cuff, three wrist-plates, five metacarpal-plates, a knuckle-plate, five scaled finger-defences, and a hinged, scaled thumb-defence; hammered, shaped, riveted, with file-roped, incised, nicked and transversley-ribbed decoration

Identification numbers

Accession number: M.2-1942
Primary reference Number: 18651
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Tuesday 13 April 2021 Last processed: Thursday 7 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) "Gauntlet" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-05-21 08:36:52

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{{cite web|url= |title=Gauntlet |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-05-21 08:36:52|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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