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Shaffron: M.11-1945

Object information

Current Location: Gallery 31 (Armoury)


Unknown (Production)


Shaffron, for field use, with fluted decoration in 'Gothic' fashion. Formed of a single plate closely shaped to the horse's face and narrowing towards its lower end. Its upper corners are cut away in shallow, concave curves. Its sides have large, semi-circular cut-outs for the eyes with strongly flanged edges. Its centrally-cusped lower edge is also flanged outwards and decorated with a recessed border that widens towards its centre. Its upper edge is boxed inwards in an inverted, u-shaped curve. A pair of rivet-holes is pierced at the centre of the upper edge for the attachment of a missing, hinged poll-plate. A further pair of holes is pierced at each side, just above the eye-openings. A series of nineteen rivet-holes border the lower edge of the shaffron and the flanges of the eye-opening to half way up the latter. Three rivet-holes, arranged in a horizontal line, are pierced across the brow, while another, filled with an externally-flush rivet, is pierced a short distance above the central one. These various rivet-holes mostly served to secure a lining, but may also in several instances have served to secure separate side-plates and perhaps also an escutcheon or plume-holder.


History note: From the collection of the Hon. Robert Curzon, later Baron Zouche, at Parham, Sussex, sold by Sotheby's, London, 10-11 November, 1920, lot 94, for £42. It may conceivably have been acquired by him as part of a large quantity of early European armour deriving from the Imperial Arsenal at Istanbul that he purchased about 1840.

Legal notes

Given by Mr F.H. Cripps-Day

Measurements and weight

Depth: 8.4 cm
Height: 50.7 cm
Weight: 0.642 kg
Width: 21.8 cm

Relative size of this object

21.8 cm50.7 cm8.4 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: Given (1945-10-16) by Cripps-Day, Francis Henry


Late 15th century
Circa 1480 CE - 1490 CE


South German

The shaffron fitted to the front of the horses head and was held in place by leather straps and buckles. It would have been connected to the armour covering the top of the horse’s neck, the crinet, as part of a whole horse armour for use in battle. The fluted decoration, in ‘Gothic’ fashion, helped to strengthen the plate.

The shaffron is bright with light patination and some pitting. It shows evidence of heavy cleaning in the form of grinding marks.

Components of the work

Border Decoration Parts

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production

Hammered : Formed of a single plate closely shaped to the horse's face and narrowing towards its lower end; hammered, shaped, riveted, with fluted decoration, and a recessed border decorating the centrally-cusped lower edge
Patinating Formed

Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: 118 over the intials C.D.

  • Text: 118/C.D.
  • Location: Internally, at the right of its lower end
  • Method of creation: Painted in black
  • Type: Number

Inscription present: parchment tag

  • Text: CRIPPS-DAY/112/Horse leg piece
  • Method of creation: Inscribed
  • Type: Tag

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: M.11-1945
Primary reference Number: 18664
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

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2022) "Shaffron" Web page available at: Accessed: 2022-08-09 09:03:24

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{{cite web|url= |title=Shaffron |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2022-08-09 09:03:24|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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