Object Title

Harquebusier's backplate

Harquebusier's backplate



Object Number



Purchased 15 November 1985. From the Armoury at Littlecote House, ap.18.

Physical Description

With a raised neck and narrow flange at the waist. The arm, neck and flange edges are inwardly turned. At either shoulder is a restored shoulder strap with six plates, of which the rear most three on the right, and two on the left are original. At either side of the waist is a restored waist strap and buckle.

Fragments of the original straps survive. The backplate is pierced at the centre for mounting. There is an extra rivet hole at either shoulder. The straps were restored in February 1986.


Dimensions: height 402 mm (15.9 in), width 319 mm (12.6 in) Weight: 1.8 kg ( 3 lb 14 oz )

Inscriptions and Marks

At the neck is stamped barred A for the maker, and helmeted A for the Armourers' Company of London. Inside, above the flange, is a group of six triangular punch marks, and 29 painted in orange.


Places England

Bibliographic References

Sotheby's, The Contents of Littlecote House, vol.II, 22 November 1985, lot 121.


The right shoulder plates show the method of contruction; apart from the long front terminal, which is pierced with two keyhole slots to engage the stud on the breastplate, the remaining five scales were made from a single piece of metal, riveted to the shoulder strap, then chiselled and bent to separate them. The rear two right plates are only partially separated. This feature id common to several of the Littlecote backplates. The same construction mark appears also on III.1988 (with X, and a possible pair to III.2019), 2016 (which may not be indigenous) and 2032. The pained number appears also on III.1989.