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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Thu 22 Jan, 2009 8:38 am    Post subject: Wallace A21 Sallet         Reply with quote

I have a question about the Wallace Collection's iconic mounted German Gothic armour.

In Gladius XXI, 2001, pp. 233-256, David Edge and Alan Williams wrote:

It was probably the dealer Pickert who was initially responsible for ‘improving’ the armour
that had been sold to him at Hohenaschau, and perhaps, therefore, it was he also who
commissioned the undoubted restorations (Mann, 1962: A21, 9-15), including the regrettable
addition of such features as the brass bands on certain of the pieces… nowadays viewed as a
deplorable case of ‘gilding the lily’.


The authors don't mention which lilies were gilded. Was the sallet among them? In the two full-figure color photos I've seen the lower edge of the sallet appears to have a very thin. broad applied brass or bronze edging.The form of the edging is just barely discernible in the b&w rear view of the dismounted harness (see below). Can anybody describe that edging or supply a photo? Is it decorated or plain?Chased? Stamped? One piece or two? Flush-riveted? It appears to broaden at the sallet's tail. Does anybody else see that?

I'm working on a brass edging for a Milanese sallet in the style of ca. 1490. I have as one example the famous Rhodes sallet in the RA-Leeds, but nothing else. It looks to me like A21's sallet has an edging at least as thin (22ga?) and broad (.75") as that one.

Thanks for any help you can offer!



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-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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James Arlen Gillaspie
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Location: upstate NY
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PostPosted: Thu 22 Jan, 2009 9:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

At the Armour Study Day in 2001 I was able to handle the pieces of this armour, and all the brass borders are rubbish. It would be better if they had not been applied. The sallet is an interesting one; it seems to have originally had an integral bevor (making it a closehelm), which, sadly, has been removed.
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Thu 22 Jan, 2009 9:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

James Arlen Gillaspie wrote:
At the Armour Study Day in 2001 I was able to handle the pieces of this armour, and all the brass borders are rubbish. It would be better if they had not been applied. The sallet is an interesting one; it seems to have originally had an integral bevor (making it a closehelm), which, sadly, has been removed.


Many thanks! As I feared. It does appear to be awfully plain and hardly worth the trouble.

Compare it to the RA's sallet (Royal Armouries object # IV.424). It's thin, but very finely formed and decorated. Having just started working with brass lately, I'm in awe....



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-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Jeffrey Hedgecock
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PostPosted: Thu 22 Jan, 2009 1:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The brass borders on the A21 are not just "applied" but in places are also recessed, so the surface of the brass is flush with the surface of the steel. The riveting is almost invisible.

As James said, it would have been better if the brass work had been avoided. It's plain, no decoration at all, and really doesn't add anything to the armour. It actually detracts because it give the viewer an incorrect impression of what a gothic armour should look like.

David Edge told me a few years ago that the gauntlets are complete fabrications and won't fit on human hands. Funky but very believable.

Cheers,

Jeffrey Hedgecock
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Thu 22 Jan, 2009 1:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jeffrey Hedgecock wrote:
The brass borders on the A21 are not just "applied" but in places are also recessed, so the surface of the brass is flush with the surface of the steel. The riveting is almost invisible.


Yikes! I wonder if the brass was fit to existing recesses or if the bowl was actually modified just for the modern applique.

I got the impression from reading the article cited above that the WC would have preferred to let this construction fade quietly into the background but felt they couldn't because it had become the de facto symbol of the collection--almost a mascot.

-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Jeffrey Hedgecock
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PostPosted: Fri 23 Jan, 2009 10:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It's my belief the recesses for the brass were added, not extant. The types of recesses necessary to accommodate the brass don't appear on other non-trimmed helmets or other pieces of armour, so this is why I have this opinion. If there were a bunch, or even a couple, of helmets or other similar pieces of armour that had recesses that could have just been filled in with the brass trim, I might think the A21 began this way, but I'm really not aware of any later 15th c pieces with recesses that would do the job.

It is a shame really that they fiddled with the armour, but the armour is very composite anyway, so one can't examine it very closely expecting it to be a good example of armour of the period. If looked at in a general way, it gives a good impression, but like with most composite harnesses, the translation is somewhat lacking in the details.

Cheers,

Jeffrey Hedgecock
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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Fri 23 Jan, 2009 10:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks, fellas!

What a site....I ask an impossibly obscure question about a famous harness and within hours get detailed answers from two folks who have closely examined that armour. Big Grin

-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Sean Flynt
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myArmoury Team

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PostPosted: Fri 23 Jan, 2009 10:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think I'm going to go with this, shown here with rough finish at first fitting. Not great, perhaps, but better than plain, flat brass. Also, a first attempt can be replaced by a second, third, fourth, etc. I might add a decorative element to the brass rivets--a star, maybe, as I see star motifs in lots of Austrian art of the period.


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-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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