Object Title





Object Number



Tower arsenal.

Physical Description

The backplate is shaped to the shoulders with a low neck and a narrow flange at the waist to which is riveted a culet of two lames. The main edges have plain inward turns. At the left side is half a hinge, riveted to the outside, for fastening it to its breastplate III.72; this is a replacement, and evidence of rivet holes shows the original was smaller and fitted inside. They were fastened at the right with a strap and buckle, later replaced with a turning pin and keyhole slot. At either shoulder is a rivet for a shoulder strap.


Dimensions: Height 394 mm; width 362 mm; assembled cuirass external waist 940 mm (37 in); external chest 1085 mm (43 in); waist to shoulder 355 mm (14 in) Weight: 1750 g (3 lb 14 oz)

Inscriptions and Marks

Stamped at either side of the neck with a crowned W mark.

Bibliographic References

A.R. Dufty and W. Reid, European Armour in the Tower of London, 1968, plate CX.

G Rimer, T Richardson and J P D Cooper, Henry VIII: arms and the man, Leeds, 2009,


The breastplate III.72 is the pair to this. It is possible that the crowend W mark belonged to Jacob 'Copyn' de Watte, who was in Henry VIII's employ from 1511 and in 1516 made for the king 'iiij complete harness for the Kinges Grace of diverse faccones' (Cripps-Day, Fragmenta Armamentaria I.3, pp. 11-12, note 1). Possibly the armour which was to be silvered and engraved by Paul van Vrelant was one of these. Another breastplate of exactly the same type was in the Barry collection, sold Sotheby's 5 July 1965 lot 29, stamped with the triple pointed crowm mark found on the Rhodes shaffron sold at Hermann Historica 1985.