Object Title

Breastplate

Breastplate

Date

1600

Object Number

II.360 C

Provenance

Purchased from H Ricketts, London, February 1984, with the aid of a public appeal and assistance from the National Art Collections Fund, National Heritage Memorial Fund and Sir Emmanuel Kaye. Formerly in the collection of Lord Astor of Hever Castle, purchased from the London dealer R Partridge in 1907, sold Sotheby's 5 May 1983 lot 47.

Physical Description

The breastplate is of a single heavy plate, of deep peascod form with a sharp medial keel, and a broad flange at the wiast with a central cusp. The backplate, made in one piece and gently shaped to the spine, has a broad flange at the waist. The back and breast are attached by straps at either shoulder to simple gilt iron buckles at the shoulders of the breastplate, and straps at the waist from either side of the waist of the backplate, fastened by a cast brass buckle matching that on the bevor. The original form of this buckle was like those on the tassets and culet; it is visible on the Portland portrait. The breastplate has four straps for the tassets, the backplate has three for the culet. The neck and arm edges of the back and breast are outwardly turned and file roped, the waist inwardly turned and file roped. The waist edge is bordered by replacement picadills, attached by lining rivets.


Each plate of the armour is etched and gilt with an overall design of interlacing eared snakes in vertical bands, joined by diagonally interlacing spindly foliage with occasional flowers, amongst which are perching predatory birds, flying parrots, various insects, including grasshoppers and dragonflies, snails (some winged), long eared squirrels and gambolling hares. The surface, though blackened with rust, appears as bright steel where protected. The borders, which accompany each turned edge, are etched with a simple scrolling foilage frieze on a hatched ground. The comb of the close helmet is etched with a more complex scrolling foliage frieze on a hatched ground. Both border types are all gilt, and are bordered on either side by plain gilt bands.

Dimensions

Dimensions: height 470 mm, width 335 mm Weight: 12 lb 3 oz,

Inscriptions and Marks

None

Associations

Places France