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Armour of the English Knight

1400-1450

Tobias Capwell

Thomas Del Mar Ltd


Armour of the English Knight

1400-1450

Tobias Capwell

This was the armour of the age of Henry V, the armour that went into action at Agincourt, the armour worn by some of the most famous fighting men in English history. Here, its story is told for the first time.

This detailed, lavishly illustrated book chronicles the armour worn by English men-at-arms during the later phases of the Hundred Years War, as they fought through the great victories and humiliating defeats in France that would ultimately lead them into the Wars of the Roses.

For the first time, many unknown or rarely published visual and documentary sources have been brought together to reveal the beautiful and intimidating accoutrements of the war-like English. Huge sums were paid by the chivalric elite for human exo-skeletons of hardened steel glittering with engraved and gilded decoration, the form, function and style of which was as characteristic of the English as were their feared longbowmen. Employing rich imagery in diverse media, combined with detailed technical and decorative analysis, Armour of the English Knight creates a unique visual journey through the physical world of the late medieval armoured warrior.


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Armour of the English Knight

1400-1450 Tobias Capwell

Thomas Del Mar Ltd


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It is the nature of islands to exhibit some peculiarities in their fauna and flora, and this insularity is no less pronounced in the manners and customs of the human beings inhabiting them. J. Starkie Gardner, ‘Armour in England’, 1897


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CONTENTS FOREWORD

viii

PREFACE & ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

x

INTRODUCTION

An English Style? The English Way of War English Military Influence The English and Horses English Armour in Context English Armour and the Founding of the Royal Workshop at Greenwich The Quality of English Armour in the Late Middle Ages The Use of Effigies in the Study of Armour Monumental Effigies: Function and Significance Effigies and Status Effigies as Portraits: Of the Armour, its Wearer, or Both? Effigies and the Ownership of the Armour They Represent Technical Accuracy Dating Armour Style or Effigy Style?

PART I: 1400-30

Helmets The Bascinet The Visor The Introduction of Chin and Neck Plates Aventails of Plate The Standing Collar The Great Bascinet Great Bascinet Visors up to 1430 Retention of Older Fashions The Cuirass Tassets

Spaudlers, Besagews and the Earliest Pauldrons Vambraces Applied Decoration Mail as a Secondary Defence for the Arms Gauntlets

Leg Armour Sabatons

GLOSSARY INDEX

19 20 22 26 30 31 34 36 42 43 50 52

66

The Cuirass

221

66 80 85 88 91 95

102 108

Helmets

Spaudlers, Besagews and Pauldrons Vambraces Gauntlets

Leg Armour Sabatons

202 229 241 247 253 260

113 132 134 140 151 155 158 167 182

293

PICTURE CREDITS

17

189

PRINTED WORKS CITED

EFFIGY NAMES-PLACE CITATION CONCORDANCE

9

PART: II: 1430-1450

264

HIGH RELIEF EFFIGIES CITED

5

53

CONCLUSION APPENDIX

1

268 300 303 304 306 308

vii


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THE ENGLISH MAN-AT-ARMS AND HIS ARMOUR

2


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Visor

Outer Neck Plate

Skull

Inner Chin Plate

Spaudler Besagew

Tasset

Great Bascinet

Bascinet

Pauldron Vambrace:

Upper Cannon

Spur

Couter

Lower Cannon

Gauntlet

Side-wing Greave Sabaton

Engraved Border

Upper Cuirass or Thorax:

Orle Vervelle Cover Aventail Cuirass:

Breastplate Backplate Cuirass skirt or ‘paunce’

Upper Breastplate Upper Backplate

Lower Cuirass or Corselet: Plackart Lower Backplate

Cuisse Demi-Cuisse Poleyn Demi-Greave

3


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Armour of the English Knight

onslaught of their enemies.14 The English commanders, captains, knights, centenars and ventenars (leaders of one hundred men and twenty men respectively), all patrons of the armourer’s art, fought in the front ranks with their men, encouraging them personally with acts of valour. As Michael K. Jones observed in his study of Verneuil,

Those present remembered the heroism of the English commanders. Waurin described the bravery of the Earl of Salisbury ‘in the midst of the valiant men who fought under his banner’… Elsewhere Bedford was seen performing feats of arms with a pollaxe. This was prowesse, visible skill in combat…15 The policy of leading by example could only work as it did because those leaders were provided with quite a high level of physical protection by good armour. The positively bizarre claim that full plate armour was not actually often worn during the Hundred Years War, recently advanced by one noted historian of the period, simply does not stand up, either to the evidence or to reason.16 Similarly the notion that a kingdom of such wealth and strength would rely exclusively on foreign suppliers to outfit its warrior elite seems quite odd. If England was a tactical trend-setter in its judicious use of men-at-arms, as it most certainly was, then clearly the way in which those men-at-arms were equipped must have been considered an integral part of those tactics. A fighting man operates according to the capabilities of his equipment and within its limits. As the English developed new ways of deploying their fully-armoured soldiers, they must also have made judgements about what armour would best serve their purposes. Armour design seems always to have been defined by the use to which the equipment was expected to be put. The Italian man-at-arms of the fifteenth century was almost exclusively a mounted shocktrooper whose primary deployment took the form of the massed cavalry charge, and whose numbers often greatly exceeded those of the infantry.17 His armour then, by the early fifteenth century, had become much more heavily built-up on the more exposed left side than on the right, while Italian design in general favoured protectiveness over mobility. The equipment was suited to the use. As the English revolutionised their use, would they not also have had to advance the design of their equipment accordingly? Indeed, an English style seems to have begun to assert itself by at least the 1360s; in 1369 a Florentine code of conduct gave permission ‘for other nationalities to wear armour in the English fashion’.18

14 15 16

17

18

6

Gesta Henrici Quinti (c. 1417), chapter 13; reprinted in Curry 2000, p. 36. See also Keegan 1976, pp. 98-9. One French source, the Mémoires de Pierre de Fenin (c. 1430-40?) also mentions that the English were ‘much knocked back at the start’; reprinted in Curry 2000, p. 118. Jones 2002; for the English men-at-arms at Verneuil, see also Strickland and Hardy 2005, p. 347.

Sumption 2009, pp. 751-2. This scholar’s misunderstanding of late fourteenth-century armour seems to be rooted in his misconception that men wore ‘chain-mail’ or plate armour, but not both at the same time. He creates the quite false impression that one form of armour existed as an segregated alternative for the other. Having concluded that mail was ‘cheaper and lighter than plate armour’, and that it allowed ‘freer movement and better ventilation’, he then observes that ‘the coat of mail was in turn superseded by plate body armour… made of light, carburised steel’. Although the idea that plate armour was introduced to replace mail is a technical error, since the wearing of full mail shirts under plate body armour continued until the sixteenth century, Sumption is right to acknowledge that ‘elaborate, articulated’ plate armour of this period was not especially heavy. His next statement that ‘complete suits of armour <sic> were still too heavy and rigid for comfort. They appeared on funerary monuments and in tournaments but rarely in battle’ is surprising. However, having returned to his original hypothesis that mail was the preferred alternative to plate, and having offered as evidence the fact that Charles VI of France and John of Gaunt are known to have worn mail during their careers, he then notes in conclusion that ‘like most of their men-at-arms they wore it in combination with plate pieces: breast-plates, thigh and arm pieces and gauntlets covering the forearm and wrists’; in other words, essentially all of the components that made up a full plate armour of the time.

Infantry was often decidedly lacking in Italian armies, while armoured cavalry predominated. See Mallet 1974, pp. 148-53. For example the army of Piero Gianpaolo Orsini, in the service of the pope in 1437, comprised 800 knights and men-at-arms and only 200 infantry. That of Tiberto Brandolini in 1460 was made up of 400 men-at-arms and 300 infantry, while Micheletto Attendolo commanded a force in 1441 composed entirely of 561 mounted men-at-arms; Mallett 1974, pp. 107-8. See also Oman 1924, vol. 2, pp. 301-12. Nigel Saul has deduced an interesting relationship between the representational conventions on funerary monuments and methods of knightly deployment on the battlefield. The lack of horse imagery in English funerary art, particularly after c. 1350, corresponds with the rise of the dismounted knight in English tactics. English fighting practices seem therefore to have been reflected in their approach to chivalric art, or at least to that created for funerary use. This may be contrasted with that of the Italians, who continued to produce equestrian monuments in large numbers throughout the fifteenth century; Saul 2009, pp. 212-4. It must be added however that Italian men-at-arms did sometimes fight on foot. At Castagnaro (1387), Giovanni dei Ordelaffi, commanding 9000 men-at-arms and 2600 infantrymen, crossbowmen and archers against Sir John Hawkwood, imitated his English adversary by commanding most of his fully-armoured warriors to dismount. He was still defeated, with over half his men-at-arms left dead on the field. See Hardy and Strickland 2005, pp. 249-51. Marcotti and Temple-Leader 1889, p. 40; Caferro 2006, p. 47; both also cited in Jones 2010, p. 174. Ayton has suggested that the shortened, fitted surcoat or ‘coat armour’ (see p. 115, note 70) worn by the English from around 1370 onwards was also an adaptation introduced to better suit their infantry fighting style, and also mentions changes in the armour itself, without elaborating; Ayton 1994 (1), p. 35. Long surcoats could certainly cause problems for the dismounted man-atarms: the great knight Sir John Chandos famously died as a result of a skirmish at Lussac-les-Châteaux (October 1370); fighting on icy ground, he slipped, trod on his own flowing surcoat, and fell to the ground. He tried to recover but was struck in the face by an enemy spear and mortally wounded. See Froissart 1369-1400, vol. 1, pp. 434-7 (Book I, ch. 278).

Fig. 0.1. Lowick 1419-20.


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Armour of the English Knight

ENGLISH ARMOUR IN CONTEXT The functional, fighting context of armour worn by the English was clearly quite specific, more so perhaps than that of their continental peers, allies and enemies. English men-at-arms usually went into battle on foot, wielding, almost exclusively, two-handed weapons- spears, pollaxes and two-handed ‘great’ swords.67 However, despite this primary mode of deployment, English armour also had to facilitate mounted combat, in those rare occasions when a force of English men-at-arms charged on horseback, either in a surprise flank attack, rout, or all-out frontal assault. 67

One of the earliest fencing manuscripts written in English, dating from the early fifteenth century (British Library, MS Harley 3542), deals solely with two-handed sword fighting techniques. The author is grateful to James Hester for sharing his unpublished work on this document; Hester u.p.

Fig. 0.6. Monumental brass of Sir William Fitzralph, c. 1331-8. St. John the Baptist, Pebmarsh, Essex.

By the time of the battles of Dupplin Moor and Halidon Hill the frontal slit in the surcoat was being cut away to give great freedom to the movement of the legs, while overall the garment remained quite long, reaching to the mid-calf as it had done since the twelfth century.

20

Fig. 0.7. Monumental brass of Sir John III d’Abernon, c. 1340-5. St. Mary, Stoke d’Abernon, Surrey.

Even before Crécy the English surcoat had been shortened to just below the knee, and cut out much more drastically at the front, exposing the lower edges of the hauberk and coat-of-plates.


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Introduction

English attempts to optimise their armour for their particular way of fighting can perhaps be traced back to the period just after Bannockburn, to the very beginning in fact of their exploration of dismounted fighting. Initially the equipment adjustments may have been limited to the quest for a surcoat which would not interfere with the legs and feet. First the long, flowing skirts of the knightly gown of the thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries were cut away at the front, to allow the legs to move more freely. Shortly after, the hem was shortened significantly. By 1360 the surcoat was no longer a loose-fitting garment, but was being carefully tailored to fit like a silken skin over the body armour. By the second half of the fourteenth century more and more of the body was being enclosed in plate armour, with such characteristically English features as fully-enclosed upper arms and upper legs being especially geared towards foot fighting. The advent of full plate armour provided many new areas wherein special concessions for foot combat could be made. These are explored throughout the present work.

Fig. 0.8. Monumental brass of Sir Hugh Hastings, c. 1347. St. Mary, Elsing, Norfolk.

Immediately after CrĂŠcy, the rest of surcoat had been brought up to the level of the mid-thigh.

Fig. 0.9. Monumental brass of Thomas Cheyne, c. 1368. St. Mary, Drayton Beauchamp, Buckinghamshire.

When peace was first declared in France with the Treaty of BrĂŠtigny, English dismounted tactics were fully-developed and proven in repeated engagements. The surcoat, now closely tailored to the body, was shortened a final time, taken up close to the hips, to uncover almost the whole leg.

Fig. 0.10. Monumental brass of Sir George Felbrigg, d. 1400. St. Mary, Playford, Suffolk.

The English knight at the end of the fourteenth century was fully encased in plate armour. Special features particularly suited to combat on foot included fully enclosed upper arms and upper legs, and sabatons cut low around the ankle, with the gap filled by mail ankle voiders. The surcoat had taken on its final, attenuated form. 21


Fig. 1.5. Bures d. 1417.


1410-1430 Helmet: A fundamental innovation moving into the second decade of the fifteenth century is the fully-fledged great bascinet, having solid collar plates in the front and rear. The great bascinet is at this stage strapped down to the cuirass at the back but not at the front. An inner chin-plate protects the chin and cheeks under the front collar plate. Mail continues to cover the area formerly protected by the aventail, but is now worn as a standard or ‘pisan’.

Cuirass: The solid one-piece backplate is now married to a solid backplate, often made in three pieces, a development of earlier hinged ‘reredos’ designs. The kidney-plates have been riveted to a narrower spine-lame, instead of strapped down the centre of the back. The solid backplate is hinged to the breastplate on the left side, and strapped closed on the right, so that it can be opened to accept the wearer’s body. The cuirass skirt, continuing to be worn as a separate element, often remains hinged on both sides and fastened down the back in the manner of earlier designs. Spaudlers: Unchanged.

Arms and Legs: Unchanged. Gauntlets: Unchanged. Sabatons: Unchanged.

Fig. 1.6.

64


65


HELMETS

Fig. 1.7. Detail, Monumental brass of Sir Thomas Audley, c. 1385. St. James the Great, Audley, Cheshire.

Fig. 1.8. St. George, English, c. 1390-1400. Samuel H. Kress Collection 1953.2.2, National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.

THE BASCINET

By the middle of the fourteenth century, the bascinet had become the almost universal form of head protection for men-at-arms throughout Europe, and England was no exception. This closelyfitted, pointed form of helmet was in many ways ideally suited to the English man-at-arms. It could be worn with or without a visor, and when present the visor was usually attached by means of loose-pin clasps at the pivots, so that it could always be quickly removed if necessary. The face-opening was usually cut on a sharp diagonal away from the temples down towards the lower edge. This allowed good peripheral vision when worn open-faced or when the visor was raised. The high point of the skull provided an excellent glancing surface that worked primarily to deny downward blows any purchase. The neck was protected by the pendant mail aventail, the densely-woven links of which gave reasonable protection while still allowing the close-fitting helmet to move with the wearerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s head as he looked up and down and from side to side.

66

Fig. 1.9. Detail from the Despenser Reredos, English, c. 1380-1400. St. Lukeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Chapel, Cathedral, Norwich.


Helmets

The excellence of the bascinet is implied by its success throughout Europe. In England the standard bascinet with aventail remained in service until at least the third decade of the fifteenth-century, although after 1410 it started to go out of fashion, as helmets with increased plate defences for the neck and face became essential. Between 1400 and 1410, however, the bascinet remained the standard form of head protection for the English man-at-arms, and is found in every art-form incorporating armoured figures.

Numerous examples survive. They are not of English origin, but they still represent a style prevalent in England as well as on the continent. The bascinet of c. 1400-20 tended to be drawn out into a high point at the apex of the skull. This feature was frequently taken to extremes in the first decade of the fifteenth-century, though after that date the point was gradually reduced, the skulls of later versions being more rounded. They were generally cut into a slight arch over the eyes, while in profile, from the temples downwards, the line of most bascinets proceeded on a sharp diagonal backwards. Usually reaching the level of the lower-lip or just below, the helmet was generally cut straight around the back of the neck. Protection for much of the face, chin and cheeks was provided only by the aventail. The skull was usually left plain and smooth, sometimes with a medial ridge running from the apex down towards the brow. One exception was the fluted or faceted skull, which appears on the effigy of Gronw Tudor (great-great uncle of Henry VII, d.1381) at Penmynydd on Anglesey. A surviving bascinet of a similar form is now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Fig. 1.14. Bascinet, North Italian, c. 1390. Royal Armouries, Leeds, inv. no. IV.497.

Fig. 1.15. Barthomley d. 1403.

Fig. 1.10. Bascinet, Italian, c. 1375-1400. Museo Comunale Stefano Bardini, Florence.

Fig. 1.11. Over Peover d. 1410.

Fig. 1.12 Bascinet, North Italian, c. 1380-1400. Royal Armouries, Leeds, inv. no. IV.470.

Fig. 1.13. Bakewell k. 1403.

Fig. 1.16. Penmynydd c. 1390-1400.

Fig. 1.17. Bascinet skull, c. 1350-1400. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, inv. no. 29.158.44. Altered later in the fifteenth century; the base has been cut down. Judging from the remaining lining holes, the original profile of this helmet was similar to that depicted on the Penmynydd effigy. 67


1400-1430

The aventail was usually composed of small, heavy links to form a dense and robust mail weave. Unlike the haubergeon, which by the beginning of the fifteenth century was an ancillary defence worn under the plate armour, the aventail provided primary protection for the neck and shoulders. It was desirable therefore that the aventail material be quite different from the lighter, more flexible mail reinforcing the arming coat and body armour. Very few of the surviving aventails are original to the helmets with which they are presently associated. At least two very fine examples do appear to belong however. One is now in the town museum at Le Landeron, Switzerland, while the other sits proudly on the ‘Lyle’ bascinet from Churburg Castle, now in the Royal Armouries.1

Fig. 1.18. Bascinet, North Italian , c. 1380-1400. Royal Armouries, Leeds, inv. no. IV.470.

Fig. 1.19. Bascinet, probably North Italian , c. 1400. Musee de l’ Hotel de Ville, Le Landeron, Switzerland.

1

68

Aventails were almost always lined. The quilted textile lining made the aventail comfortable to wear around the cheeks and chin, but more crucially provided a layer of padding between the mail and the body, neck and head underneath. Constructed of heavy, densely-woven mail backed with layers of shock-absorbent linen and stuffing, the aventail became a highly effective defence, not only against arrows, crossbow bolts, spears and other stabbing threats, but also against the fearsome downward blows of pollaxes, bills and halberds, attacks which, even if initially aimed at the head, might easy be deflected by the helmet down onto the area between the neck and shoulders. Some English effigies suggest such linings, with the aventail’s hem seeming to be turned over, the lowermost links being folded under and inside the lining and then presumably stitched to it.

This helmet was sold directly to the American collector Clarence H. Mackay before 1929. It was then sold with other pieces from his collection at Christie’s in 1939, where it was bought by Sir Archibald Lyle. Lyle presented it to the Tower Armouries in 1946 in memory of his two sons, of whom one was killed at El Alamein in 1942, and the other in Normandy in 1944. It is impossible to be certain whether or not the two other aventails at Churburg (inv. nos. 13 and 15) are original to their helmets. Both have been removed at some point; that of no. 13 is currently mounted inside-out, strongly suggesting that the current mounting is modern and does not date from the working lifetime of the helmet.

Fig. 1.20. North Leigh d. 1411.


1400-1430

The common companion to the orle, the vervelle cover was almost as conspicuous as a form of helmet decoration.

Vervelles were pierced lugs onto which the aventail was attached.12 The mail itself was sewn to a leather band, which was cut to fit exactly around the side and lower edges of the bascinet. This band was punched with holes, each of which matched the placement of a vervelle (vervelles were generally placed every 10- 20 mm or so along the side and lower edges of the bascinet). The aventail band having been laid over the vervelles, a twisted cord or metal wire was run through the holes piercing each vervelle’s head. This cord was knotted at either terminal (over each temple), and so secured the whole assembly. The aventail could then easily be removed for cleaning, repair, or replacement.

Fig. 1.40. Bascinet, North Italian, c. 1400. Churburg Castle, Sluderno, inv. no. CH15.

To make the aventail band less vulnerable to damage in combat, it was sometimes made out of metal instead of leather.13 Another, perhaps more common method of reinforcement was to lay a metal plate over the leather band. This overplate was pierced with holes for the vervelles, so that it could be seated closely over the aventail band, covering it, the stitching, and perhaps also the uppermost rows of aventail links as well. Often the aventail band overplate was extended above the vervelles and decorated with piercing and filework, explaining one part of the decorative effect observed on many of the finer English effigies of this period. Parts of at least two original aventail band overplates survive, the most complete of which is found on a late fourteenth- or early fifteenthcentury Italian bascinet in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.14

12

13 14

Fig. 1.41. Bascinet, Italian, c. 1350-1400. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, inv. no. 29.158.43. 76

Vervelles, or ‘staples’, were often bought in bulk and fitted to helmets by workers in the owner’s retinue or household. For example, ‘fifty staples of diverse sorts for bascinets price of the piece 2d. 8s. 4d’ are included in a large purchase of armour and equipment by John de Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk and Earl Marshal under King Henry V (1392-1432). The acquisitions, made in preparation for the Agincourt campaign, are itemised in the Duke’s receiver’s accounts, dated 28 June, third year of the reign of Henry V (1415); see Berkley Castle Muniments 1415. The document has been quoted by kind permission of the Berkeley Will Trustees. The author is also very grateful to David Smith, Archivist at Berkeley Castle, for his assistance in confirming certain details relating to the Berkeley Castle Muniments. For further discussion of this source, see Curry 2006 and Curry 2005, p. 63. The best surviving example being found on the visored bascinet at the Musée de l’Hotel de Ville in Le Landeron; see p. 68, fig. 1.19. Inv. no. 29.158.43. Since the plate on this example seems never to have been pierced with holes along its lower edge, it must be an aventail band overplate, rather than an aventail band made out of metal, as at Le Landeron. The remnants of another aventail overplate remain on a fragmentary visored bascinet in the Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg, inv. no. W.1562.


Helmets

Fig. 1.42. Lower Quinton d. 1419.

Fig. 1.43. Bedale c. 1400-10.

Fig. 1.44. Penmynydd c. 1390-1400.

Fig. 1.45. Darfield c. 1410.

Fig. 1.46. Greystoke c. 1390-1400.

Fig. 1.47. Ripon c. 1398.

Fig. 1.48. Meriden d. 1404.

Fig. 1.49. Whatton d. c. 1400.

Fig. 1.50. Barthomley d. 1403.

Fig. 1.51. Tong d. 1409.

Fig. 1.52. Spilsby d. 1409.

Fig. 1.53. Bakewell k. 1403.

If such an overplate was the only form of augmentation at the point the aventail joined the helmet, the vervelles themselves remained uncovered and visible. Sometimes, especially on earlier or less expensive effigies, the vervelles are also visible. More often however, and almost without exception on the finer alabaster figures, the area directly over the vervelles is covered with a shaped plate in addition to the pierced and filed decoration on the upper edge of what might have been an aventail band overplate. These completely enclosed vervelle covers appear to have been relatively common amongst those of the English warrior class who could afford them. Like the orle, which could be very ornate, decorated more modestly, left plain, or lacking altogether, individual English effigies sometimes show uncovered vervelles, while others exhibit fairly basic covers, with the most heavily decorated covers restricted to the best, most expensive examples. Again, the level of decoration on the vervelle cover, or lack of it, corresponds to the quality of the effigy more generally. The appearance of the orle and vervelle cover are also related. An effigy lacking an orle also will have no vervelle cover, or will only show a plain or mildly decorated cover. Those with orles of the intermediate type, having only basic framework decoration, also tend to have vervelle covers with correspondingly modest ornament. Finally, those with the most heavily bejewelled and embroidered orles also boast equally extravagant vervelle covers. These covers were almost certainly made out of finely-worked metal, probably gilded copper or copper-alloy. The elaborate cutting and piercing represented by the effigy carvers, most often in the form of a line of intricate trefoils, certainly resembles fine goldsmithâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s work. The central band, convex in cross-section to accommodate the vervelles inside, could have been embossed with low relief designs, or alternatively decorated with engraving and punchwork.

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Helmets

THE INTRODUCTION OF CHIN AND NECK PLATES By the early fifteenth century the bascinet with attached mail aventail, which had been the universal head defence for almost a hundred years, was no longer providing adequate protection in the face of key advances in weapons. The design provided excellent protection against downward and head-on blows but was weak in the neck area. The throat was especially vulnerable and until c. 1410 was only protected by the aventail and by the collar or ‘pisan’, which provided a layered defence of linen, leather, and mail (see also p. 100). This arrangement worked well against hand weapons and light missiles, but it could not stand up to the recently-boosted striking power of the couched lance used in conjunction with the newly-developed lance-rest, or ‘arret de la cuirasse’.26 This little metal arm, attached to the breastplate, both supported the weight of the lance, allowing it to be made longer and heavier, and acted as a shock conductor by allowing an impact to be resisted with the body’s core strength rather than just with the hand, arm and shoulder. Thus the forces involved in a mounted collision with the lance were greatly increased, and a new threat to men-at-arms came into play. The throat had always been the most vital target after the eyes in couched lance combat. As early as the twelfth century, it was recognised that frontal injuries to the throat were particularly common among mounted men-at-arms. Raimon of Salerno (1180-1209), in his Surgery,27 calls special attention to lance wounds to the throat, mentioning them as being a special danger to knights when fighting others of their class:

If a knight who goes into battle with poor armour is wounded in the throat so that the breath escapes through the wound when he wants to speak, he is so badly injured, then leave him alone, for he is guaranteed to die.28

A fatal lance-blow to a throat protected only by the aventail seems to have been considered a plausible, indeed familiar enough occurrence for Lydgate to employ it in his Troy Book as the way Ulysses defeats King Philomene of Paphlagonia in mounted combat:

Of Irous herte, with so gret a peyne, That thorugh his schelde, bothe plate & mail, Se smet hym vp thorugh his aventail, In-to the gorge that the strok gan glide, That from his hors he fil doun a-side, Ful perlously pighte vp-on his hed, His knyghtes wnyng sothly he were ded.29

26

27 28 29

Fig. 1.71. Detail from Romans de la Table Ronde et du quˆte du saint Graal, c. 1410. Austrian National Library, Vienna, Cod. 2537 Han, fol. 156v. Note that while the man-at-arms in the foreground pays the price for continuing to wear the out-moded, non-reinforced bascinet, several of his comrades now are equipped with additional plate defences for the neck and throat.

The lance-rest first appears in art of the 1380s, for example the effigy of Walter von Hohenklingen (d. 1386) in the Schweizerisches Landesmuseum, Zürich, cited in Blair 1958, p. 61. Another important early instance is the figure of St. George found on the Altarpiece of the Crucifixion from the Church of Chartreuse de Champmol, near Dijon, by Jacques de Baers (also Baerze), c. 1391, now in the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Dijon. The earliest surviving example is present on the segmented breastplate, made in Milan c. 1390 by ‘Master P’, which now forms part of armour no. 13 at Churburg Castle; Trapp 1929, pp. 19-26, pls. X- XIV. See also Buttin 1965. Raimon of Salerno c. 1180. For analysis and interpretation of the various extant texts, see Paterson 1986.

‘Si cavallier quan ven a cutxa mal garnitz, Es per sa gola si nafratz que l’esperitz, Eis per lo colp quan vol parlar tan es feritz, Laissa l estar que de sa mort es emplagitz.’ Lydgate 1412-20, Book II, p. 382, lines 8298-8304.

85


Helmets

THE GREAT BASCINET A solid plate protecting the wearer’s chin and throat appears to have become a typical addition to the bascinet throughout western Europe after c. 1410, if not before. The true ‘great’ bascinet was created when this plate was joined to a bascinet skull drawn down to the wearer’s shoulders. An excellent surviving example of this most basic of great bascinet constructions is now in the British Museum.

Here the skull has been extended down to overlap with the backplate,37 to which it would originally have been strapped by means of a leather attached to its interior by means of two rivets; the hole near its lower edge, probably for a bolt, is a later addition. The lower edge of the front neck plate, riveted to the sides of the skull, lines up with that of the extended onepiece skull. There are no pivot holes for an additional front neck plate, so we must assume the helmet never had one. There is also no means for fastening the helmet down at the front; fixing it in back but not in front may have been an attempt to balance protection and mobility, giving additional security while also permitting some slight movement of the helmet. The characteristic enlargement of the whole helmet, and the relative size of the face-opening, was conceived to permit the wearer’s head to move around inside. Allowance of the head to turn and nod while the helmet itself remained stationary distinguished the ‘great’ or ‘large’ bascinet from its smaller predecessors. The great bascinet was an extremely successful design. As well as being used on the battlefield until at least 1450, in the second half of the fifteenth century it was adapted for tournament combats fought both on foot and on horseback. For sporting use, great bascinets originally intended for the field were modified and pressed back into service, even into the early sixteenth century. Today a number of these helmets survive in addition to the one in the British Museum, either complete in all their parts or as fragmentary skulls only.

Fig. 1.94. Great bascinet, by Master ‘T’, Italian, c. 1410-30. Musée de l’Armée, Paris, inv. no. G. PO. 637.

37

Fig. 1.95. Great bascinet, French or Italian, c. 1410-30. Museo de Navarra, Pamplona.

Fig. 1.93. Great bascinet, c. 1410-20. British Museum, London, inv. no. M&LA OA 2190.

Fig. 1.1.96. Great bascinet, French or Italian, c. 1410-30. From the tomb of Jean Salins de Vincelles, now in the Musée de Beaux-Arts, Dijon.

Perhaps the earliest example of this helmet form is the bascinet, c. 1390-1400, which once hung over the tomb of John de Melsa (d. 1377) in the Church of St. Bartholomew in Aldborough, North Yorkshire (now Royal Armouries inv. no. IV. 1677).

Fig. 1.92. Ashwellthorpe k. 1417.

95


1400-1430

the division of the larger chest-plate into two halves, right and left, exemplified by the large group of pieces from such armours found at Chalcis in 1840.64 There were exceptions of course. A Milanese brigandine of c. 1380-1410 now in the Castello Sforzesco, Milan65 incorporates both a one-piece upper chest-plate and a large square plate protecting most of the upper back, a configuration requiring side-closures.66 Therefore it is not always possible to draw absolutely firm lines of distinction between late coats of plates and early brigandines, and the rationale for the distinctions recorded in medieval documents is ultimately unclear. However the size and number of plates and the method of closure were two visually obvious factors. Fig. 1.135. The third and newest form of body armour involved Right and left breastplates from a brigandine, Italian, first half of the fifteenth century. a one-piece, enveloping breastplate which covered the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Inv. 29.15.101-2. whole front and sides of the torso down to around the level of the navel.67 To this breastplate could be added various plates to protect the sides and back of the upper torso, and lower torso to the level of the groin. Like the coat of plates, these breastplate-based armours closed up the sides or back, and initially were often covered in textile or leather. The only surviving example of a covered breastplate of this period is now in the collection of the Bayerisches Nationalmuseum, Munich.68 To confuse modern distinctions further, the upper back defences and skirts of these armours were often of coat-of-plates or brigandine construction. The differences become more discernible when some or all of the body armour with one-piece breastplate was worn uncovered to show off the polished steel surfaces, fitted with hinged partial backplates and uncovered skirts articulating on internal leathers. But even uncovered breastplates could still be worn with covered skirts and back defences for some years into the fifteenth century. The high-waisted, hourglass body shape was still very much in fashion until around 1420 in England, and like civilian garments, the armour of the first two decades of the fifteenth century was generally designed to produce this effect. The breastplate was therefore deeply rounded over the ribs and diaphragm yet was also very closely fitted immediately below that area. It is interesting to note that when this ‘hourglass’ body shape first became fashionable in the middle of the fourteenth century, it caused some, who did not possess bodies of that shape, nevertheless to attempt to conform to the fashion, with uncomfortable results. The famous French knight Geoffroi de Charny denounced what he regarded as this quite ill-advised following of fashion in his Livre de chevalerie (c. 1350):

…it is not enough for them to be as God made them; they are not content with themselves as they are, but they gird themselves up and so rein themselves in round the middle of their bodies that they seek to deny the existence of the stomachs which God has given them: they want to pretend that they have not and never have had one, and everyone knows that the opposite is true. And one has seen many of those thus constricted who have to take off their armour in a great hurry, for they could no longer bear to wear their equipment; and there are others who have been quickly seized, for they could not do what they should have done because they were handicapped by being thus constricted; and many have died inside their armour for the same reason, that they could put up little defence… There might be some who would prefer to give the appearance of being a good man-at-arms rather than the reality…69 64

65 66 67

68 69

114

See Eaves 1989, note 10 and Eaves 2014. An important link between the armours found at Chalcis and the armour worn in England at the same time is provided by the armour fragments found at the site of the Dominican Friary in Boston, Lincolnshire, which compare closely to fifteenth-century brigandine skirt plates found from Chalcis, now in the Worcester Art Museum in Massachusetts (Higgins Armory Collection, nos. 809.6 and 9). See Eaves 1989, note 9. For the Chalcis find in general see ffoulkes 1911; Boccia 1981; Blair 1982.

Inv. no. 161. Thordeman cites another similar early example as being in Berlin, although the author has been unable to varify its current location; Thordeman 1939, vol. 1, p. 327, figs. 349-50. For other early brigandines, and for surviving examples in general, see de Rachewiltz, Spindler and Stadler 2004. For side-closures on brigandines, see Eaves 1989, note 5.

The newness of solid breastplates in the early fifteenth century is reflected in variations in the terminology. The term breastplate was in use from at least around 1410 if not before, sometimes termed a ‘whole’ breastplate to differentiate it from the segmented coat of plates. Examples of early usage include: the will of Sir William Langford (1411): ‘… a basynet with a ventaile, a pare of vambrace and rerebrace, a pare of legge herneys, and holle brestplate…’. Furnivall 1882, p. 19; the will of Edward, second Duke of York (1415): ‘the piece of plate… called breastplate.’ Duke of York 1415, p. 189. At around the same time however, other ways of describing solid breastplates appear to have been in use. The great wardrobe accounts of King Henry V for 14138 include further early uses of the word ‘breastplate’, but also make repeated reference to ‘shell plates’, sometimes specified as ‘shell plates of steel’, which, because of their listing immediately alongside pairs of plates, are almost certainly solid one-piece breastplates; see Richardson 2015. For the early history of the uncovered breastplate, see Thordeman 1939, pp. 320-1. Inv. no. W.195.

Charny c. 1350, pp. 188-91.


The Cuirass

Fig. 1.136. Detail from The Book of the Queen, by Christine de Pizan, French (Paris), c. 1410-4. British Library, London, MS Harley 4431, fol. 98v.

Fig. 1.137. Detail from the Great East Window of York Minster, English, c. 1405-8.

The main section could be accompanied by a skirt of plates reaching to the hips, although it was not unusual between 1400 and 1410 for the lower torso to be protected only by the padding of the arming coat and by the skirts of the haubergeon, which extended to the mid-thigh. The plate skirt, if present, was also closely-fitted to the lower torso, so that the relationship between the largeness of the chest and the smallness of the waist, so abhorred by Sir Geoffroi, was much exaggerated.

Effigies dating from c. 1400-20 are not very helpful in determining the exact construction of body armours, since it was normal at this time for a surcoat to be worn. However the heraldic ‘coat armour’70 tended in England to be closely fitted, quite different in style from the loose, flowing garments fashionable in France. On well-carved effigies the ‘hourglass’ form of the armour underneath the surcoat is suggested, indicating either a well-formed, waisted coat of plates or, increasingly, a solid cuirass. After c. 1410, a strong medial ridge in the breastplate can sometimes be made out through the coat armour, indicating a solid breastplate.71 One revealing detail, found in the Great East Window of York Minster (c. 1405-8), shows a group of four men in armour standing together; of the three in full view, two wear surcoats over their body armour but the last does not; his solid cuirass and articulated skirt, hinged down the right side, have been left uncovered. All three figures have the same tight-waisted, round-chested silhouette.

70

Fig. 1.138. Bertoline d. 1390.

71

‘Coat armour’ seems to have been the usual term used in England during the late fifteenth century to refer to a heraldic surcoat. The wardrobe accounts (1418-21) of Thomas of Lancaster, Duke of Clarence list a number of ‘cotarmours’ as purchased at the same time, and from the same source, as heraldic banners and pennons. Westminster Abbey Muniment 12163, published in Woolgar 1992-3, p. 634. Later, the 1458 inventory of the belongings of Sir John Fastolf lists ‘ij Cote Armours of silke aftir his own armys’ (that is, two heraldic surcoats, both carrying the arms of Sir John himself) and ‘j Cote Armour of whyte silke of Seynt George’ (another bearing the red cross of St. George, probably also for Sir John’s personal use); Fastolf 1458, p. 256. This is clearly also what is meant in the 1461 will of Richard, Earl of Salisbury, which mentions ‘my complete harness of armour with my coat-armour’ (‘unum hernesium de armaturis meis completum cum meis coet-armor’); Raine 1855, p. 241. Solid breastplates with strong keel-like medial ridges are probably what was being described as ‘crested shells’ in Henry V’s great wardrobe accounts of 1413-8. See Richardson 2015, p. 22.

115


1400-1430

Two patterns were routinely engraved on the decorative borders of English armour between 1400 and 1430. One of these, perhaps the most common of all patterns used during the fifteenth century, consisted of a squared quatrefoil continuously repeated, each blossom often separated from its neighbours by vertical lines of circular beads. The dominance of this pattern on armour illustrated on effigies of the first half of the fifteenth century has led art historians to assume that it was some sort of stock pattern used by one of the alabaster workshops, as Gardner believed.104 However this pattern also occurs on one of the very few surviving pieces of English armour, the funerary helm of King Henry V in Westminster Abbey. Uniquely, this piece retains its decorative copper alloy border (perhaps once gilt) running along its lower edge and engraved with this same quatrefoil pattern. The frequent appearance of the design on effigies could equally be due to the pattern having been very common on the real armour of the time. The carvers may simply have been reproducing the actual, typical appearance of their knightly patrons, in well-studied detail.

The other main engraved border pattern, which was also very common, involved a continuous undulating vine out of which sprouts spade-shaped leaves or occasionally flowers. Patterns of this general type are frequent in medieval English design; similar designs occur, for example, in such diverse places as a fifteenth-century dagger sheath in the Museum of London105 and the exterior of Peterborough Cathedral. Indeed, both the quatrefoil and running vine patterns specifically appear much more widely in English decorative art of the period, and indeed can be found as early as the thirteenth century.106 They appear on female dress as well as on armour,107 are engraved on English metalwork (especially in copper alloy)108, on jewellery109 and in the borders of stained glass windows.110

Fig. 1.250. Nuthall c. 1410-20.

Fig. 1.251. Tong d. 1409.

104 105 106 107 108 109 110

152

Fig. 1.252. Staindrop d. 1425.

Gardner 1940, pp. 8-9.

Ward Perkins 1940, p. 194, fig. 61, number 4.

The Missal of Henry of Chichester (Salisbury c. 1250) contains an image of the Virgin wearing a robe edged with a gold-coloured, squared quatrefoil border; see Alexander and Binski 1987, p. 235, cat. no. 108.

For example on the surcoat ouverte worn by Lady Clinton (d.1421) on her fine effigy at Haversham (Buckinghamshire), and on the effigy of the wife of John de Outewich in St. Helen, Bishopsgate, London, c. 1390-1410. The author is grateful to Sally Badham for these examples. Squared quatrefoils of a simple form are engraved on the legs of a fifteenth-century English Chrismatory in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (inv. no. M.108-1923); see Marks and Williamson 2003, p. 413, cat. no. 303. Alexander and Binski 1987, p. 484, cat. no. 643. Ibid, p. 213, cat, no. 31.


Vambraces

Fig. 1.253. Funerary helm of King Henry V (d. 1422), c. 1400-20. Westminster Abbey, London.

153


Leg Armour

Below the knees, fully-enclosed greaves or â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;jambesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; were always worn over the calves. Judging by the effigies, the English greave appears to have had a very distinctive form. In profile it was very straight at the front, with the arch over the instep coming up to a very acute point, granting the foot a good range of movement. The outer ankle bone was protected by a lobe-shaped extension of the trailing edge of the front plate. Sometimes a smaller lobe covered the inner ankle bone, but not always. The greave was attached to the demi-greave by means of a rectangular turn-pin passing through a vertical slot, in the same manner as the demi-cuisse was joined to the thigh plate. This fastening seems to have been sufficient; there is usually no evidence of a demi-greave strap running around the back of the leg. The greave was constructed in much the same manner as the lower cannon of the vambrace, being carefully shaped so that it sheathed the lower leg like a metal skin.

Fig. 1.315. Over Peover d. 1410.

Fig. 1.316. Vambrace, Italian, c. 1380-1400. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, inv. 29.150.91g.

It was made up of front and rear plates, which were almost certainly hinged on the outside of the leg. Although hinges have usually been omitted from effigies c.1400-30, placement on the outer surface seems to have been standard, if the surviving lattenbordered pieces of armour, almost all of which are Italian, are anything to go by. Like those on the surviving examples, the hinges on English greaves were probably seated closely to the trailing edge of the front plate, immediately behind the yellow-metal border. This positioning is found on an Italian latten-bordered vambrace, c.1380-1400, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (inv. no. 29.150.91g).

Fig. 1.317. Swine c. 1410.

The greaves depicted on the effigies of this period must also have been hinged on the outside of the leg because they were clearly secured closed by means of two small straps on the inside of the leg; this feature is clearly depicted on a number of examples. 177


1430-1450


Fig. 2.5. Dodford d. 1445.


1440-50 Great bascinet: Neckplates now quite closely shaped to the chin and throat, more closely resembling a bevor.

Cuirass: Skirts continue to shorten after 1440, especially with the introduction of the new Italianate tasset form. The English variation of the style usually includes side-tassets often of the same size as the front tassets. Hind-tasset design uncertain, but probably similar to those observed on Iberian and Italian export armour of the same period. Because of the shorter skirt, more of the mail skirt is visible, and is generally shown to be drawn down into long dags at the front, back and sides.

Pauldrons: Asymmetric fluted designs introduced, the right having either a large or small cut-out or â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;mouthâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; to accommodate couched weapons, the left fully covering the shoulder and upper arm, offering greater protection especially at the front. Arming points and underarm straps assumed to be present, although not depicted on the effigies. Vambraces: The side-wings now take on a deeply fluted, shell-like form. Upper cannons closed with straps, lower cannons perhaps with loose-pin hinges or straps.

Gauntlets: Older hourglass form (illustrated) coexists with the newer type having an extended metacarpal plate. Leg armour: Introduction of diagonal flutes on the thigh-plates, new side-wing design to match the vambraces, and cusped uppermost poleyn lame and demi-greave. Sabatons: Articulation lames starting to be drawn out into points along the top of the foot. Continued and consistent use of downwardlapping construction indicating use of internal leathers.

Fig. 2.6. 200


201


Helmets

Fig. 2.13. Porlock c. 1440.

Fig. 2.14. Dennington d. 1441.

Fig. 2.15. Icomb d. 1431.

Fig. 2.16. Weobley d. 1437.

By the mid-1430 the front neck plate was also becoming more shapely, closely formed to the chin and undercutting inwards quite sharply to the base of the throat. The angle under the chin is quite sharp, and therefore different from earlier, great bascinet neck plates, which are much shallower. This new form often resembles the bevor designed to be worn with the sallet, which was just beginning to appear in the 1430s. The neck flange sitting down on the breastplate around the base of the throat is also now cut differently around its bottom edge, being rounded, more pointed in the centre, and again quite different from earlier versions. This transition begins to appear on brasses around a decade before it appears on the sculpted effigies. The older, wider base of the front neck plate (sometimes as wide as the breastplate itself) starts to disappear as early as the 1418 brass of John Fossebrok (Cranford St. Andrew, Northamptonshire), with narrower, curved necklines becoming more common in the 1420s. Fig. 2.12. Porlock c. 1440.

205


Helmets

Fig. 2.28. Aston c. 1430-40.

The work is rougher, the material cheaper, and the present state of preservation poor. Nevertheless in this case it is clear that the skull of the helmet has higher sides like a sallet and therefore a shorter tail. Working around the physical difficulty of laying his subject down whilst wearing a helmet with its tail projecting out from the base of the skull, he has raised the head slightly more than usual and makes the tail disappear conveniently into the mantling of the helm. The higher tail makes the skull look much more like a sallet, and it is easier to believe that it could work as a freely turning helmet.

An alternative idea, that these strange effigial head pieces record the appearance of their original sources somewhat more faithfully, is encouraged by the survival of a group of vaguely similar helmets. These pieces, part of the Chalcis armour horde,11 are not directly comparable, and the author does not intend to suggest that their type was being worn in England. They are worthy of note at this point because, like the helmets represented on the Merevale-Willoughby group, they combine the high, pointed apex of a bascinet with the lengthened sides and swept tail of a sallet or Italian barbuta. Indeed it would not be wrong to classify them as barbutes, although Boccia classified them as ‘great sallets’ in English.12 The Chalcis helmets are also extended at the sides to narrow the face-opening and protect the cheeks, a characteristic feature of the barbute. The English effigial helmets do not have skulls extended forward in this way, but are instead cut back. They do however protect the cheeks by means of the attached chin-plate, which is presumed to have been riveted to the sides of the skull as are those remaining on some of the surviving great bascinets.13 It is tempting to wonder whether a fifteenth-century Italian armourer, examining one of these unusual English helmets, would have labelled it a barbute. Tantalisingly, the inventory of the workshop of the Florentine armourer Jacopo Guidetti, drawn up in 1429, lists ‘three English barbutes’.14 It is of course impossible to determine what these particular helmets actually looked like and what distinguished them from Italian barbutes. However this reference does reinforce the historical reality of helmet types which have not survived, and whose contemporary classifications are no longer understood.

Fig. 2.29. Barbute or ‘great sallet’, Italian, early fifteenth century. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, inv. no. 29.158.45.

11

See ffoulkes 1911.

13

Good examples are Churburg Castle, no. 19; Musée de l’Armée, Paris, nos. H.PO.637; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 04.3.237.

12

14

Boccia 1981.

‘3 barbute all’inghilese’. Magistrato dei Pupilli 164, ‘Erede di Jacopo di Filippo Guidetti, 1429. Archivio di Stato, Florence, c.80a. The author is very grateful to Christopher Dobson for this reference.

213


1430-1450

Apart from a pin and staple, another method of neck plate attachment in use from at least c. 1440, both on great bascinets and the bevors accompanying sallets, was strapping to the cuirass, either by means of a separate and dedicated buckle attached to the upper breastplate, or by employing the same buckle, mounted on the plackart, which took the chest-strap on the upper breastplate. The former method was employed on the bevors worn with sallets from perhaps the 1440s, as for example is illustrated on the Netherlandish â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Trajan and Herkenbaldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; tapestry (c. 1450; based on lost paintings by Rogier van der Weyden15) now in the Historical Museum, Bern. The latter method is clearly illustrated on the effigy of Sir Humphrey Stafford (Bromsgrove c.1440-1450).

The visors worn between 1430 and 1450 in England appear for the most part to have continued to resemble the rounded, globose or bulbous types which had been in use for ten to twenty years previously. Those which appear in England are more or less consistent in their form with those found in continental depictions. Under the bevor or neck plates, the English man-at-arms continued to wear a pisan or mail standard. Between 1430 and 1450, the mantle of the standard was more commonly worn under the cuirass rather than over it as had earlier been the fashion; on effigies dating from after 1430, mail can no longer be seen extending beyond the edge of the bascinet neck plates as was most usual in the previous two decades. After c. 1440, effigy carvers began to portray their subjects as being bareheaded, and in these cases the mail standard is clearly visible.

15

Fig. 2.31. Bromsgrove c. 1440-50.

Fig. 2.32. Dodford d. 1445.

214

Fig. 2.30. Detail from The Story of Trajan and Herkenbald, South Netherlands, c. 1450. Historical Museum, Bern.

See Buri and Stucky-SchĂźrer 2001, pp. 41-63.


Helmets

Fig. 2.34. Three details from the Grand Armorial Equestre de la Toison d’Or, c. 1435. Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris, MS 4790, fols. 116, 11, 113.

Fig. 2.33. Detail from the Book of Hours of Margaret Beauchamp, Countess of Salisbury, English (Rouen), c. 1444. Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, MS 41-1950, fol. 2v. Note that the closely-fitted bevor is here shown to be pivoted onto the skull of the helmet. This is perhaps one of the earliest representations of what could be called a ‘close-helmet’, differentiated from the great bascinet by its closer overall fit and lack of an inner chin-plate.

Fig. 2.35. Detail of a window depicting St. George, c. 1430-40. West window, Dean’s private chapel, Windsor Castle.

Fig. 2.36. Detail, history bible, by an Utrecht Master, c. 1443. Koninklijke Bibliotheek, The Hague, MS 69 B10, fol. 8r.

215


Tobias Capwell is the author of numerous books on medieval and Renaissance arms and armour. These include The Real Fighting Stuff: Arms and Armour at Glasgow Museums (2006), Masterpieces of European Arms and Armour in the Wallace Collection ( 2011; Apollo Magazine Book of the Year 2012), and The Noble Art of the Sword: Fashion and Fencing in Renaissance Europe 1520-1630 (2012). Toby is also a practitioner of the knightly fighting arts . For twenty years he has been riding and fighting in full plate armour all over the world as a member of the international competitive jousting community. It is this personal, physical experience on which Toby draws, combining it with his more traditional research methods, in an effort to recreate a sense of armour as a practical, functional, everyday aspect of life in the Middle Ages. He is Curator of Arms and Armour at the Wallace Collection and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London. Thomas Del Mar Ltd.

Thomas Del Mar Ltd is Londonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s leading specialist auctioneers of antique arms, armour and militaria, which has held sales since 2005. In addition to organising auctions, the company assists with collection management and advises a number of European ancestral families, international museums and collectors.

Photograph by Cassandra Parsons. ŠThe Wallace Collection, London.


www.thomasdelmar.com

Armour of the English Knight 1400-1450 by Tobias Capwell  

published by Thomas Del Mar Ltd, London, 2015. Selected pages for online preview.

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