Object Title

Pikeman's breastplate and tassets

Pikeman's breastplate and tassets



Object Number



Purchased 15 November 1985. From the Armoury at Littlecote House, AP84. Associated with III.2035, 2071 and IV.913. Old Tower, disposed. Formerly collection of Hilton Price, Bowden House, Bromyard, Herefordshire, sold Russell, Baldwin and Bright, Leominster, 12 May 1954; Dr. R. Williams, sold Sotherby's 18 June 1974.

Physical Description

The breastplate has a medial keel terminating in a point at the waist, which dips down to the centre, and has a broad flange. The neck, arm and flange side edges have inward turns. Those at the neck and arms are bordered by single incised lines, and those of the flange sides have sunken borders. At either side of the chest is a plain swivel hook with a pierced stud outside. Each tasset is attached by two hinges, each of which is fastened to the flange by a plain swivel hook on the l-shaped hasp, engaging a pierced rectangular stud towards the centre. The lower hasp of each has an arabesque terminal, and is attached to the tassets by five rivets. The angle of the flange is bordered by three rivets at either side. Each tasset is of one piece, embossed with seven simulated lames, the lower one deeper than those above. The main edges have inward turns with sunken borderes. Each is decorated with three vertical rows of domed headed rivets, one rivet in each row at the top of each embossed lame, with two on the lower embossed lame. The whole is painted black with gold edges.



TassetHeight295 mm
TassetWeight1220 g
TassetWeight1305 g
TassetWidth405 mm
BreastplateHeight380 mm
BreastplateWeight3235 g
BreastplateWidth357 mm

Inscriptions and Marks

Arsenal mark
A crowned IR of James II
At the neck

Bibliographic References

Sotherby's The Contents of Littlecote House, vol.II. 22 November 1985, lot 207.Spreadbury, A R 1979, Littlecote, London, p.21


The design of the hinged hasps attaching the tassets to the fauld of the breastplate are of a more ornate style than later examples and can probably be dated to c.1630. In 1985 the breastplate and tassets was located in the Guardroom at Littlecote House, Wiltshire.