Object Title




late 15th century

Object Number



Purchased at auction at Christie's, 5 March - 30 April 1855 from the Bernal Collection

Physical Description

It is of wood covered with gesso and painted. It is rectangular with a medial ridge narrowing to the top where it has a projecting beak. The surface is painted with a figure of St George with the dragon at his feet within a border of scrolling foliage, in black on a silvered ground, with the arms of Zwickau in Saxony painted over the saint's breastplate, as a later addition. Inside there are two pairs of staples for the carrying straps, a single iron buckle low down at the right adn the remains of a leather strap for suspension at the upper end of the central ridge.

Featured in

Hundred Years War



PaviseLength1270 mm
PaviseWeight9700 g
PaviseWidth635 mm

Bibliographic References

J.R. Planche, 'The Armoury' in J.B. Waring, A Handbook to the Museum of Ornamental Art in the Art Treasures Exhibition...being a reprint of critical notices originally published in 'The Manchester Guardian', London: Bradbury and Evans, 1857, p. 69

J.R. Planche, Some Account of the Armour and Eapons, exhibited amongst the Art-Treasures of the United Kingdom at Manchester, in 1857., London: Printed for private presentation only, 1857, p. 21.

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

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


Zwickau is recorded as having obtained sets of pavises from Bohemia throughout much of the 15th century. Although traditionally dated to the mid-15th century, the overall composition and style of St George's armour makes it more likely this examplet dates to the end of the century,

The 1857 exhibition did not publish a full catalogue of the arms and armour exhibited however an account by Planche (1857:21) decribes this particular pavise:
'Near it (a fine suit of the 15th century) is a Pavoise, a long shield so called, from behind which the archers took their aim. On it is depicted a knight armed like the equestrian figure in the nave (temp. Henry VI.) with salde and hausse col, and bearing on his shield gules, three swans argent. He is in the act of slaying a dragon.'
The same reference also describes what appears to be another piece from Zwickau, a shield (and presumably therefore not a pavise) which also depicts 'a knight bearing a shield with three swans, as on the Pavoise...'.
Planche also describes the pavise, in 'Armoury' which places it in 'THE NORTH ARMOURY ... Near the door to Vestibule 4, Modern' (1857:69).