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Object Title

Foot combat armour

Foot combat armour

Date

1591

Object Number

II.186

Provenance

Purchased at auction, Christies 2 June 1959, with the assistance of the National Art Collections Fund and the Pilgrim Trust. From the Royal Armoury, Dresden, and the Clarence H Mackay collection.

Physical Description

Consisting of close helmet, peascod breast and back, tassets, pauldrons, vambraces and gauntlets. It is blued, etched and gilt.

Dimensions

OverallDepth350 mm
OverallHeight1070 mm
OverallWidth820 mm

Associations

Bibliographic References

C. Paggiarino, The Royal Armouries, masterpieces of medieval and renaissance arms and armour, Milan, 2011 volume 2

Notes

A set of twelve identical armours was ordered by the Sophia of Brandenburg as a Christmas present for her husband, Christian I, Elector of Saxony (1560-91), in 1591. The armours were made by Anton Peffenhauser of Augsburg (1525-1603), the foremost German armourer of his day, The oldest record of this can be found on p. 197 of the complete inventory of the Rüstkammer drawn up in 1606 (from correspondance with Holger Schuckelt, curator at Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden).

The original text from the inventory book from 1606 (p. 197):

„Zwölff Blawe unnd vorgulte Fueßturnier Kuriß, unnd gehort Zu einem Jedenn Rucken und Brust, Kragenn, Spangeröl, Armbzeug, gefingerte Handschuch, kurze Beindäschlein, eine Schlagkhauben, welche Anthoni Pfeffenheuser Zu Augspurgk geschlagen, unnd haben, weilandt meinem gnedigsten Churfürsten unnd Herrn, Herrn Christian dem ersten Herzogen Zu Sachßen Hochloblicher seligster gedechtnus, solche von Dero freundlichen Herzliebsten Gemahlin Ao 91. Zum Heiligen Christstollen vorehret worden, Ihre Hochlobselige Churf. G. seind aber den 25. Septembris Zuvorn in Gottseliglich entschlaffenn.“

[side note: „Davon seind auf befehl des stalmeisters Georg von Bindtaufs den 5. Septembris Ao 1610. Drey blaue vorguldete Kuris dem Herrn Adam von Wallenstein gefolgt wordenn“]

They were made as half armours for wearing in the foot tournament with pikes over the barriers. Sadly Christian died in September 1591 before the armours were delivered. Sword cuts on the close helmet show that the armour was actually used in the tournament. Only 9 of the 12 armours still exist today. They are: 1 Detroit Institute of Arts, 1 Royal Armouries in Leeds, 1 Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, 1 Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg, 1 Hermitage in St. Petersburg, 1 Muzeum Wojska Polskiego in Warsaw and 3 Rüstkammer, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden. Three armours were given away to Adam von Wallenstein as early as 1610 - these armours appear to no longer exist. In the inventory book from 1821 there are still nine armours of this group, but as early as 1836 there are only eight. The armour that was given away in the meantime can be identified a few years later in St. Petersburg, without it being known how it got there. Another armour was given in exchange to the Berlin Armoury in 1903. This is the armour that is in Warsaw today. In 1921 one armour was given in exchange to the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg. And three armours were given to the former royal Saxon family and an art dealer from Nuremberg in 1925 and 1926. These are the armours in Leeds, New York and Detroit. The remaining three armours are still in Dresden today.

Image of Foot combat armour of Christian I Elector of Saxony, by Anton Peffenhauser. II.186
Image of Foot combat armour of Christian I Elector of Saxony, by Anton Peffenhauser. II.186
Image of Foot combat armour of Christian I Elector of Saxony, by Anton Peffenhauser. II.186
Image of Foot combat armour of Christian I Elector of Saxony, by Anton Peffenhauser. II.186
Image of Foot combat armour of Christian I Elector of Saxony, by Anton Peffenhauser
Image of Foot combat armour of Christian I Elector of Saxony, by Anton Peffenhauser
Image of Foot combat armour of Christian I Elector of Saxony, by Anton Peffenhauser
Image of Foot combat armour of Christian I Elector of Saxony, by Anton Peffenhauser
Image of Foot combat armour of Christian I Elector of Saxony, by Anton Peffenhauser
Image of Foot combat armour of Christian I Elector of Saxony, by Anton Peffenhauser
Image of Foot combat armour of Christian I Elector of Saxony, by Anton Peffenhauser
Image of Foot combat armour of Christian I Elector of Saxony, by Anton Peffenhauser
Image of Foot combat armour of Christian I Elector of Saxony, by Anton Peffenhauser
Image of Foot combat armour of Christian I Elector of Saxony, by Anton Peffenhauser
Image of Foot combat armour of Christian I Elector of Saxony, by Anton Peffenhauser