Object Title

Pair of pikeman's tassets

Pair of pikeman's tassets



Object Number

III.1843 A-B


Purchased from Peter Dale Limited on the 16th February 1985. Peter Dale Limited purchased it from a French dealer who stated that the person who had sold it to him had obtained it from one of the Armouries' disposal sales in the 1960s.

Physical Description

Each is large and made of one piece. The main edges are inwardly turned and accompanied by sunken borders containing close-set brass rivets. The right tasset has a sunken extension, inside its inner border , which is overlapped by the left tasset. The tassets are decorated with a medial ridge flanked by the sunken border and close-set rivets, and two vertical lines of rivets terminating in a lozenge of twenty one rivets near the base. Each sunken border is edged by double incised lines, and decorated with punched and incised trophies of arms, featuring drums and human -faced shields. The right tasset retains its L-shaped hinges for attachment to a breastplate. These comprise pierced, decorative vertical sections, attached by a rivet at the base and formerly with sliding-rivets near the upper edge of the tasset, and a hinged upper section with a swivel-hook on the outer side of the two slots to engage a pierced stud on the breastplate. The left tasset retains the base of its outer hinge, and has a hingeless modern inner bracket, without a swivel hook, based loosely on the originals. The outer surface is formerly corroded and buffed bright, the inner black. There is a long crack in the medial rib of the right tasset. All the rivets, except those of the hinges, are original. There is a small internal riveted repair at the outer, top corner of the right tasset.


Dimensions: Inside height: left 32.5 cm (12.7 in. ), right 32.0 cm (12.6 in.). outside height: left 35.1 cm (13.9 in.), right 34.9 cm (13.8 in.). width: left 38.8 cm (15.3 in.), right 42.1 cm (16.5 in.). Weight: Left 1.45 kg (3 lb 3 oz); right 1.4 kg (3 lb 1 oz)

Inscriptions and Marks

Small blue label numbered '20' on the left.



Probably from a Greenwich pikeman's armour of large size and high quality. The gorgets III.1420 and III.2273 are very similarly decorated, and belong to the same group of armours. The hinges are closely comparable to those of the armour II.112, and the inner one may have come from the left tasset, as the swivel hooks usually point away from the centre of the tasset. Compare the etched or incised decoration in the sunken borders of the gorget in the portrait of Thomas St. Aubyn, dated 1641 (reg. No. A2/303).