• Arms & Armour auction at Christies

    Sale 5863

    Arms & Armour

    30 November 2009, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 51

    A RARE BREAST-PLATE, FLEMISH OR ENGLISH

    LATE 15TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A RARE BREAST-PLATE, FLEMISH OR ENGLISH
    LATE 15TH CENTURY
    Of globose form with residual medial ridge over the lower third of its height, with exceptionally bold flanged outward turns at the neck and arm holes, the latter with no provision for separate gussets, and the base flanged for the skirt, engraved with later scrollwork, trophies and warrior medallions in panels on a stippled ground, and fitted with later studs for shoulder-straps
    15 5/16in (38.9cm)


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    This belongs to a rare group of one-piece breast-plates which were fashionable in the late 15th early 16th centuries. They are depicted in English church monuments of the period and notably in the Warwick Pageant manuscript of circa 1483-90. A few surviving examples bear marks that appear to be Flemish- for instance, the breast-plates of, respectively, a child's cuirass made for Philip the Handsome, Duke of Burgundy, in circa 1490 now in the Hofjagd- und Leibrüstkammer, Vienna, and of a cuirass in the Royal Armouries, Leeds (Inv.No.III71).

    A further example in the Schweizerisches Landesmuseum, Zurich (Inv.No.LM4955), bears the mark of the workshop founded in 1495 at Arbois in Burgundy.

    Only four other examples with such prominent turns at the neck and armholes appear to be recorded. One is in the Royal Armouries collection, another is in an English private collection, having come from the Tollemache ancestral armoury at Helmingham Hall, Suffolk. The third was formerly in the collections of Sir Edward Barry, Bt., thence to R. T. Gwynn, both this and the fourth were sold by Christie's, 18 July 2002, lot 285 and 16 Dec 2002, lot 66 respectively.

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