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Archer's Pavise: M.20-1943

Object information

Current Location: Gallery 31 (Armoury)


Archer's Pavise


Production: Unknown




Wood covered with canvas and painted. Slightly wider at bottom than at top, with rounded corners at top. The corners at bottom have been damaged. Square beak at top, cut away to a point below. Flat vertical gutter with sloping sides, down the middle. Painted with St. George and the Dragon. In the border of each corner at the top is a rose in splendour. On the back is a central leather (?) hand-grip which splays out into four ends each attached to the pavise by 3 nails. There is a metal cross-bar at top and a cross-bar of the same material as the hand-grip below the grip. There are four staples and a place for a fifth.


History note: A.W. Cox from whom purchased with the F. Leverton Harris Fund.

Legal notes

Purchased with the Leverton Harris Fund

Measurements and weight

Height: 113 cm

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bought (1943-11-06) by Cox, A.W.


15th Century, Late
Circa 1450 CE - 1500 CE


The pavise, a large shield, was used by archers or crossbowmen to shelter behind and reload their weapons when attacking the enemy. They were carried into position on the battlefield and then set down and propped up with an iron bar attached to the back of the shield. They could be used on their own or used to make a defensive wall behind which the archers could loose off their arrows and bolts. They are made of wood covered in skin, hide, canvas or similar and were often decorated, usually with the arms of the lord or commander, though here with Saint George and the dragon.

School or Style


People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Hand-grip composed of leather ( uncertain)
Part composed of wood (plant material)
Decoration composed of paint
Covering composed of canvas
Bottom Width 66 cm

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: M.20-1943
Primary reference Number: 18716
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Tuesday 13 April 2021 Last processed: Wednesday 13 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) "Archer's Pavise" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-06-24 05:48:08

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{{cite web|url= |title=Archer's Pavise |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-06-24 05:48:08|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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