Object Title





Object Number



Purchased from the Trustees of J.G. Mann, 1981. Said to have come from Penshurst, Kent: passed by marrige to the Streafield family of Chiddingstone Castle: sold through Sotheby's 26 October 1945 part of Lot 104: purchased by Fenton and Sons for J.G. Mann.

Physical Description

Etched overall


Dimensions: height 170 mm, width 315 mm, depth 280 mm Weight: 1 lb 15 oz

Inscriptions and Marks



Bibliographic References

J. Mann 'The Master of the Snails and Dragonflies', Waffen und Kostumkunde NF II, 1961, pp.14-27 pl.10

S.W. Pyhrr 'The `Master of the Snails and Dragonflies' revisted', in H. Nickel, S.W. Pyhrr (ed) Arms, Armour and Heraldry: essays in honour of Anita Reinhard New York, 1981, pp.95-114 at p.97.

S Pyhrr and T Richardson, 'The 'Master of the Snails and Dragonflies' identified' Journal of the Arms and Armour Society XIV.6, 1994: 329-63, fig. 4


This gorget belongs to a small group of armour pieces attributed by Mann to the 'Master of the Snails and Dragonflies', which may have been produced in Antwerp. It is part of a group sold by the Streatfield family of Chiddingstone Castle, through the silver dealer C.G. Walker of Romford, Sotheby's 26 October 1945. Lot 104 comprised 'portions of various English 17th century pikemans armours, including three breastplates, six tassets with simulated lames, two complete gorgets (one of which is the Mann gorget) and two parts of the same: Lot 105 was teh burgonet (now iv.569 ex-Williams) and Lot 106 comprised the breastplate (iii.1218) Backplate (III.1220) and rear portions of a gorget (III.1219). Other lots from 95-110 may also belong. The identification o fthe source of the material was made through Lord de L'Isle who told mann that 'an illegitimate daughter of his family (Sidney) married a Streatfield and tool with her a number of works of art..' (ms note in sale catalogue, 13 May 1957). It was suggested, therefore, that they may have belonged to Sir Philip Sidney (1554-86) the soldier and poet, who was involved as governor of Flushing in Leicester's expedition to the United Provinces in 1585, and recieved a mortal wound at the Siege of Zutphen in 1586. They may alternatively have belonged Philip's brother Robert, later viscount L'Isle and Earl o fLeicester (1563-1626), who was governor of Flushing from 1588-1600. Another piece, a shield bearing the same etched decoration, is known to have come from Chiddingstone. It was given along with an embossed Flemish shield, to W.I. Verschoyle-Campell by Sir Henry Streatfield's Widow.
The etched pieces are closely related to a group comprising a burgonet, breastplate and two shields (Mann p.1-7) in the hall of the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple in London. They are traditionally described as having belonged to Sir Robert Dudley, 2nd Earl of Leicester (1532-88), Sidney's uncle and companion in the low countries. Both groups are decorated with mannerist ornament from the same workshop and are based in part, at least, on engravings by Etienne Delaune (Pyhrr p.102-4). All these pieces have the same guilloche border, but the Mann gorget, Williams burgonet, Middle Temple breastplate and shields have a stippled ground while that of the others is plain. The date of teh group, 1583, is etched on the Mann gorget, and confirmed in part by the morion (Metropolitan Museum 04.3.200, Phyrr fig 2.3) which bears the date 1503, possibly also gfor 1583. Note than Mann's misreading of the date as 1585 was continued by Phyrr, and that Mann's assertion that it is decorated with three shieldds seems to arise from a confusion with III.1219, which he otherwise fails to mention. Compare also the gorget III.1322.