Artifact of the Day


Half-armor for a member of the Papal Guard

Northern Italy (perhaps Brescia) (1570-90)

Portions of a suit of armor, consisting of breastplate, backplate and pauldrons, with rerebraces; breastplate of peascod form, has roped turn-overs at neck and borderings the gussets. All the elements are engraves with bold gilded strap-work and scrolls, that on the breastplate coming from the mouth of the grotesque mask; on both breast and back, close to the roping at the neck, is an armorer's mark-a shield with three fleurs-de-lys charged upon it, under a crown. The pauldrons have been altered, and the skirt lame has been corroded and reblued.

Burgonet: Contemporary, but probably associated. Compare similar types in Stibbert Musem (inv. #909 late XVI-early 17th c., p. 162, V.1) and WCL (assoc W/A. 54, pp.67-68, Milanese half-armor, ca. 1560-70). Helmet of A. 54 probably later, proper right cheekpiece restored. One-piece bowl, ca. 1580-1600.
Collar: Associated, and not of period (ca. 1620 or later)
Breast and back plates: Peascod shape, flexible gussets date ca. 1580-NLT 1600. This is virtually the same as # 3964 (Sibbert- V.2, plt. Cxcvii, p. 675) from Richards Collection; different waist lame. Also shown on pg. 26, #22 of Cimarelli. Breast and back belong, but most likely later engraved to match Stibbert design.
Pauldrons: Those of the Stibbert Armor are complete, similarly decorated to the breastplate. Edges are roped, with a slightly recessed border (on all lames). Ours have been drastically reworked; only the central lame of the proper left is not reworked. This is roped, but without the recessed surface. Other lames are associated, cut, and pieced together. In addition, each central lame bears a repoussed curved motif from the center lame, extending both front and rear parallerl to the arm opening terminal edges. This design is unassociated to the other designs on the remainder of the components. It appears that the foliate design was added later in an attempt to match the currass. The repoussed lines do not show up on the Stibbert pieces (of which only the proper right seems to have had restoration work done).