Portions of an Armor for Field and Tilt

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Jacob Halder and Workshop
English, Greenwich, active 1576-1608

Portions of an Armor for Field and Tilt, c. 1590

Steel, etched and gilded, iron, brass, and leather
H. (mounted with arm defences) 61 cm (30 in.)
Wt. 17.69 kg (39 lb. 10 oz.)
George F. Harding Collection, 1982.2241a-h

Decorated with etched and gilt ornamental bands of zigzag and scroll designs set against a blackened ground, this armor resembles 16th century garments embellished with embroidered bands and edged with lace. The cuirass (breastplate and backplate) is of peascod form, featuring a high, narrow waist extending to a point below the waistline, with a scalloped border, as seen in clothing of the period. A knight could have dressed for crusade or a sporting event by wearing different parts of this full armor.

Worn by an English courtier, this elaborately decorated armor was produced in the royal armory workshops in Greenwich, England. Founded by Henry VIII before 1515, the Greenwich Armory turned out distinctive ware throughout the Tudor and Elizabethan periods and during the early years of the English Civil War (1642–51).

— Permanent collection label

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Exhibition History

London, England, "Armour made in the Royal Workshops at Greenwich," Tower of London, May 27-September 29, 1951.

Chicago, The Art Institute of Chicago, "Arms and Armor from the Harding Museum," 11/28/1975.

Publication History

Walter Karchieski, "Arms and Armor in the Art Institute of Chicago" (Art Institute of Chicago, Little, Brown, and Company, 1995), p. 65 (ill.)

Ownership History

Duke Viktor von Ratibor, castle at Grafenegg; sold Fischer sale, Lucerne, September 2, 1933 to George F. Harding, Jr.; transferred to the George F. Harding Museum; transferred to the Art Institute of Chicago, 1982.