Object Title

Composite armour

Composite armour



Object Number



Purchased from the National Magazine Co. (William Randolph Hearst Collection) October 1952, with the help of the Pilgrim Trust, the National Art Collections Fund and a special Exchequer Grant. one of 52 items purchased together. From the armoury of Count Trapp, Schloss Churburg, offered for sale by Galerie Fischer, 13 May 1936, lot 82, sold privately via Bartel in 1936. The German leg defences that had been associated with the armour as acquired were exchanged with Count Trapp in 1957 for the Italian leg defences described below. The arm defences were acquired from the collection of E. Valentine, who purchased them about 1957 as part of another composite armour in London

Physical Description

The sallet is visored, and possibly Brescian, about 1460, with a plain outward turn on the main edge and cusped edges to the visor. The bevor has an upper plate shaped to the chin with a boxed outward turn at its upper edge bordered by lining rivet holes, and a lower plate with plain edges falling to a point at the centre and with slight cusps at either side, pierced at the bottom and cusps with pairs of hole for points. The breastplate is formed of an upper plate embossed with a low raised triangle below the neck and a medial ridge, and with a plackart continuing the ridge and with radial flutes at the bottom. It has a fauld of three lames. The backplate is Austrian, made in Innsbruck, probably by Jorg Treytz about 1480. The upper backplate has triple flutes bordering the arms, and a V-shaped rib cut with incised lines at the neck, where there is a small neck plate. The lower edge is cusped and scalloped, and a matching articulating lame joins the plate to the lower backplate, which is embossed with four radial ribs rising from the centre of the waist. The restored culet comprises four plates, matching the lower backplate. The cuisses have shallow curves with pronounced, outward turns at their upper edges, and short upper plates with rounded upper edges. The poleyns have kidney shaped wings, joined by one articulating lame above and below, and deep lower lames. The greaves are pierced with hole for mail sabatons around their lower edges.


Dimensions: As mounted, overall height: 287 mm; width: 710 mm; depth: 320 mm; II.168 A helmet: Height: 240 mm; width: 200 mm; depth: 230 mm; II.168 B Bevor: Height: 195 mm; width: 190 mm; depth: 240 mm; II.168 C Breastplate Height: 470 mm; width: 380 mm; depth: 180 mm; II.168 D Backplate: Height: 560 mm; width: 360 mm; depth: 190 mm II.168 E Right pauldron and vambrace: Height: 550 mm; width: 150 mm; II.168 F Left pauldron: Height: 570 mm; width: 290 mm;II.168 H left cuisse and greave As mounted: height: 860 mm; width: 165 mm, depth 230 mm;II.168 I Right cuisse and greave As mounted: height: 880 mm; width: 180 mm, depth 190 mm;

Inscriptions and Marks

The sallet is stamped GV under a crown and GV under a split cross twice. The bevor is stamped with cross keys, the bits pointing downwards, and M under a crown. The breastplate is stamped with ?A under a crown and indistinct letters, possibly ZO under a split cross twice. Each cuisse upper plate is stamped ?ZA under a split cross. Each greave is stamped at the centre outside the midial ridge OI. Each pauldron main plate is stamped M under crown and IO under a split cross twice.


Places Italy

Bibliographic References

O Trapp and J G Mann, The Armoury of the Castle of Churburg, London, 1929: 37-8, pl. xviii, T.18 (leg harness), 64, pl. xxix, T.23 (bevor), 62-3, pl. xxxviib (backplate), 79, T.39 (breastplate), 91-2, pl. xxxic (sallet)

A R Dufty and W Reid, European Armour in the Tower of London, 1968, pl. VI complete armour, LXXVI sallet

I D D Eaves and T Richardson, 'The Treytz Armour of Gaudenz Von Matsch at Schloss Churburg', The Journal of The Arms and Armour Society, vol.XIII, supplement, September 1990: 1-22, p. 1ff, fig.4A.

M Levkoff (ed), Hearst the collector, Los Angeles Museum of Art, 2008: 158-9, no. 19

C. Paggiarino, The Royal Armouries, masterpieces of medieval and renaissance arms and armour, Milan, 2011, volume 1