Portions of a Field Armor

Assembled field armor including the breast and back plates as well as arms. In silver with gold accents.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • Assembled field armor including the breast and back plates as well as arms. In silver with gold accents.
  • View of the armor from the side. Showing arm and shoulder with braid and the chest cavity as it extends out.

Date:

1588/1590

Artist:

Jacob Halder (English, 1558-1608)
Royal Workshops of Greenwich, England

About this artwork

During the late Middle Ages and Renaissance, some of the finest armorers worked exclusively for royal patrons in the workshops set up to meet their needs. In 1511 King Henry VIII of England established such a workshop at Greenwich Palace outside London, which produced outstanding armor for the English court for over a century. It was staffed largely by German craftsmen, among them Jacob Halder, who was master workman at Greenwich when this half-armor was produced around 1588–90. Made for a high-ranking nobleman, it features crisply decorated bands of etching and gilding and a silhouette mimicking fashionable dress. The shape of the breastplate, broad at the shoulders, narrow at the waist, and dipped at the belly, imitates the peasecod (peapod-shaped) cut of a gentleman’s doublet of the same period. Despite the lavish decoration and exaggerated shape, this armor, intended for the field of battle, was capable of withstanding musket fire. Indeed, it was commissioned in 1588, at the very moment England was preparing for invasion by the Spanish Armada. But to the fashionable noble who commissioned this harness, demonstrating wealth and status was as important as protecting life and limb.

On View

Arms, Armor, Medieval, and Renaissance, Gallery 239

Artist

Jacob Halder

Title

Portions of a Field Armor

Origin

Greenwich

Date

1585–1600

Medium

Steel, brass, gilding, leather, and silk velvet textile

Dimensions

H. (mounted with arm defenses): 61 cm (30 in.) Wt. 39 lb. 10 oz. (17.7 kg)

Credit Line

George F. Harding Collection

Reference Number

1982.2241a-f

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

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