Object Title

Upper backplate

Upper backplate



Object Number



Purchased at auction, Christie's 24 April 2001 lot 74, fromm the R T Gwynn collection. Found in 1969 in a tea chest full of armour oddments at Taymouth Castle, Perthshire, sold Christie's 3 November 1970 lot 47 (120 gns), and purchased by Gwynn from the London dealer Peter Dale.

Physical Description

This is formed of four plates overlapping upwards and shaped to the back. The lower edge is flat and the lower plate deep, with a central point. The two plates above this are narrow, with matching central points. The upper plate is shaped to the shoulders. The neck and arm edges have boxed outward turns. The plates are joined by modern flush rivets at either side and in triangular tongues at the centre, the rivets with flat heads stamped with rosettes. At the centre of the lower narrow plate is a filled rivet hole for the central strap for the missing lower backplate. At the centre of the lower edge is a pair of rivet holes, one filled, the upper one for the buckle which held the strap from the upper breastplate. At the right side are two rivet holes for straps to the breastplate, and a slot in the centre of the edge, while at the left are 5 rivet holes, one broken out, for the mising hinge. There is a riveted repair at the right shoulder and a welded patch at the upper left of the lower plate.


Dimensions: height 399 mm, width 355 mm Weight: 1585 g

Inscriptions and Marks



Places Italy, Milan


The collection of the Earls of Breadalbane, housed at Taymouth Castle, was dispersed in sales in 1885 and 1917. This piece was apparently overlooked during the dispersal. This is a rare example of an early form of Italian backplate with lames with shallow cusps on the upper edges. Other examples are of armours from Churburg (nos 19 and 21), on the armour of Elector Friedrich I von der Pfalz, no. A2 in the Hofjagd- und Rüstammer, Vienna, and the 'avant' armour in Glasgow (no. '39-65e, formerly Churburg no. 20, Boccia 1982: fig. 49) It is similar in form to that shown on the effigy of Richard Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick by William Austin executed between 1449-56. Compare also the armour by Antinio Missaglia in bern Historical Museum no. SBZ 102 or about 1455-60, and the armour with pieces by Master Biaggio in the Musée de l'Hôtel de Ville, Le Landeron, Switzerland, nos 837-40 (Boccia 1982: figs 84, 86, 99, 100).