• Sale 5863

    Arms & Armour

    30 November 2009, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 52

    A RARE FRENCH CAVALRY OFFICER'S CUIRASS

    CIRCA 1750-80

    Price Realised  

    A RARE FRENCH CAVALRY OFFICER'S CUIRASS
    CIRCA 1750-80
    Of blackened steel, the two halves each of shot-proof weight with proving dents and flanged turned edges, boldly incised with bands of double linear ornament about the borders and centrally radiating from the respective bases, the breast-plate with low medial ridge, the breast- and back-plates with most of their original lining of padded fabric and quilted chamois retained by brass-capped rivets, each retaining its full original ornamental borders of dark blue velvet edged with silver lace, the back retaining one original waist-strap and portions of the shoulder-straps all with covering en suite with the lining borders, these retained by silver-capped rivets, and in untouched condition throughout
    14¾in (37.5cm) (2)


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    A cuirass of identical pattern is preserved in the Musée de l'Armée, Paris. See Christian Aries, Armes Blanches Militaires Français, Cuirass d'Officiers XVII-XVIII siècle, XIX I fascicule 1971, figs. 2 A-D.

    This cited example is attributed to the ownership of either Maréchal de France Victor Marie Marquis de Coeuvres et Duc d'Estrées (1660-1737), or alternatively to his nephew, Louis César le Tellier, Chevalier de Louvois (to whom the d'Estrées title passed in 1739). Le Tellier was born in 1695 and spent the majority of his career in the cavalry, most notably commanding the Royal Roussillon Régiment, into which he was commissioned in 1718. Aries notes that the cuirass matches this date exactly but that it appears to have been made for an older officer.

    A comparable breast-plate, also in the Musée de l'Armée, is again identical with the exception of minor variations in the linear engraving and the addition of belt mounts. This also retains a portion of the border fabric very similar to that of the present cuirass.

    Special Notice

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