Object Title

Left pauldron

Left pauldron



Object Number

II.146 H


From the Norton Hall Collection. Presented by the National Art Collection Fund, 1942. Believed to have come from the Ducal armoury at Lucca.

Physical Description

This armour was made for Cosimo II de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany 1608-21, for foot-combat at the barriers. It comprises of a close helmet, gorget, breastplate and backplate, tassets, leg-harnesses, pauldrons and vambraces. All the main edges of the suit are turned out over wire and are file roped. The whole armour weighs 335.kg (73.6lb). This was heavy for war (field) armour but normal for tournament armour. However it would be even heavier if it still had its extra reinforcing plates for jousting. Grotesque figures of humans, animals and birds can be spotted all over this armour. The etched and gilded decoration is in the Mannerist style, noted for its bizarre, contorted figures. The armour has full pauldrons which are symmetrical and not for use with a lance. Each has a main plate which overlaps six small lames below and two larger ones above. Each pauldron is attached to a buckle on the gorget by a strap and is secured around the upper cannon by a strap and buckle along with a turning pin engaging in a slot. The left pauldron has a large threaded hole in the main plate to receive a reinforce (grandguard). Internal leathers and sliding rivets articulate the lames on each pauldron and the edged are bordered by rivets for a lining band. Decoration: Primary: On medial ridges of the breastplate, and backplate, is the primary ornamentation of etched, symmetrical scrolling foliage intertwined with figures of animals, humans, and mythical figures. Ornamentation runs in gilded and etched bands alternating with plain, bright bands. Secondary: the secondary ornamentation is indicative of the style found over the majority of the suit. This consists of scrolling foliage alternating to the left and right side. This foliage curls off to either side as it progresses, terminating in floral shapes or personified figures, but also having outgrowths from it which continues on in progression. There are also various figures interspersed within the scrolling, being either human, animal or a combination. The secondary ornamentation was originally gilt all over, but most of the raised scrolling has been polished bright. Tertiary: guilloche, which was originally gilt, but most of it has now been polished bright. A gilded band remains almost intact around the edge of the lower bevor, visible only when the visor and upper bevor are raised. Quaternary: The gilded bands throughout are bordered with an engraved and blackened roped or Greek key design with a dog tooth edge.


Places Italy

Bibliographic References

A R Dufty & W Reid, European armour in the Tower of London, 1968: pl. LX, LXI; C. Paggiarino, The Royal Armouries, masterpieces of medieval and renaissance arms and armour, Milan, 2011 volume 2


II.146K and II.146L are gauntlets now associated with this armour, with a different subsequent provenance. Other known elements of this armour are in the Wallace Collection: a close helmet for the tilt A 191, locking gauntlet for the tourney A 278, vamplate A 346; and in the Museo Nazionale (Bargello), Florence: left pauldron M 1427; shield M.766. A second vamplate was in the Laking and later the Lockett Collection. A reinforcing plate is in the Hermitage in St. Petersburg. Another similar pair of gauntlets, possibly for the same armour, was sold at Christies, London, 20 November 1996, lot 121.