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Field Armor

Maker
Wilhelm von Worms the Elder (active 1497–1537) and others, Nuremberg and Landshut, Germany
Date
1510–25
Material
Steel, leather, and modern restorations
Made in
Nuremberg, Bavaria, Germany, Europe
Landshut, Bavaria, Germany, Europe
Classification
Arms & armor
Current Location
On View, Gallery 125
Dimensions
68 x 30 1/2 x 19 in. (172.7 x 77.5 x 48.3 cm)
weight: 40 lb. 15 oz. (18.6 kg)
Credit Line
Museum Purchase
Rights
Public Domain
Object Number
171:1926a-n
NOTES
Field armor made for war was the most common type in the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Well-made, head-to-toe armor for the horseman combined protection, flexibility, and comfort, while limiting weight. Using primarily hand tools, the master armorer and his assistants tailored plates of iron and steel to the individual's dimensions. The design was affected not only by battlefield needs, but by art trends and fashion. The rounded shape of the breastplate and wide-toed foot defenses of this suit of armor were in accordance with fashionable male costume of the time. The curved hook at the armpit is the lance rest, a shock-absorbing bracket used with the long spear called a lance.
Lord Londesborough, England, helmet only [1]

1888/07/04
Helmet only, at auction, "Londesborough Sale," Christie, Manson and Woods, London, England, July 4th etc., 1888, lot no. 138 [2]

- 1895
Brett Collection, probably England, helmet only, sold at auction, "Brett Arms and Armor Sale," Christie, Manson and Woods, London, England, March 18-21 and 25-26, 1895, lot no. 688 [3]

- 1926
Bashford Dean (1876–1928), New York, NY, USA, composite armor [4]

1926 -
Saint Louis Art Museum, purchased at the auction of the Liechtenstein "European Arms and Armor Mainly XV, XVI, & XVII Centuries, Including Artistic and Rare Specimens from Princely Provenience." American Art Association, November 19-20, 1926, lot no. 310 [5]


Notes:
The majority of provenance and historical information about this composite suit is provided by scholar Stuart Pyhrr in notes he made based on his personal examination of the Museum's collection in 1985, 1987, and 1988. Exceptions and other supporting documents are noted [SLAM document files].

[1] Research has not yet yielded precise information about which (of at least two) Lord Londesborough was the owner, but it is likely that it was Albert Denison (1805-1860) [correspondence from Yorkshire Archaeological Society to P. Stewart; "Dictionary of National Biography," p. 351; SLAM document files].

[2] The helmet sold at the "Londesborough Sale," Christie, Manson and Woods, London, July 4th etc., 1888, lot no. 138 [Cripps-Day, Francis Henry. "A Record of Armour Sales, 1881-1924." London: G. Bell and Sons, Ltd., 1925, p. 13].

[3] The helmet sold at auction, "Brett Arms and Armor Sale," Christie, Manson and Woods, London, England March 18-21 and 25-26, 1895, lot no. 688; it was illustrated in the catalogue, plate. XVVII (4). [Cripps-Day, Francis Henry. "A Record of Armour Sales, 1881-1924." London: G. Bell and Sons, Ltd., 1925, p. 57, fig. 21].

[4] Prior to 1926, Bashford Dean, the first curator of arms and armor at The Metropolitan Museum of Art (from 1903 until his death in 1928), combined the helmet with a composite suit which had been historically separate. The provenance of the composite suit prior to Dean's ownership is unknown. Dean had a significant personal collection, which included many composite suits such as this, combining elements from different suits of armor, as well as restored and replacement parts.

[5] Auction catalogue annotated by a handwritten note identifies lot no. 310 as 171:1926. ["European Arms and Armor Mainly XV, XVI, & XVII Centuries, Including Artistic and Rare Specimens from Princely Provenience." American Art Association, Nov. 19-20, 1926, lot no. 310, pg. 114]. Minutes of the Administrative Board of Control of the City Art Museum, December 10, 1926.
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