Royal Armouries

Composite ‘Maximilian’ Armour


monochrome photo of an armour helmet

Close helmet from a composite 'Maximilian' armour. German, about 1520 (II.12)

  • monochrome photo of an armour helmet

    Close helmet from a composite 'Maximilian' armour. German, about 1520 (II.12)

  • monochrome photo of armoured figures on foot and horseback

    View of the 'armour of Henry VII' with supporting Maximillian armours, about 1870. © Private collection 2013

  • colour photo of full-length armour with fluted decoration

    Composite armour. German, about 1520 (II.14, III.755)

  • monochrome illustration of 5 armour helmets

    The de Courcy armour at the Tower of London, illustrated in Grose, 1786, pl. 14

  • monochrome illustration of a 3/4 length armour on a post with surrounding close ups

    The close helmet illustrated by Grose, pl. 8, fig. 1-2

Date: 1520 | Object number: II.12


Object Provenance: German, about 1520
Object Number: II.12

Composite ‘Maximilian’ Armour


The close helmet is formed of a skull with a restored articulated tail of three lames, a sparrow’s-beak visor and bevor, both articulated by the same pivots. The skull is fluted, is encircled around the nape of the neck with a row of lining rivets, and there are two pairs of holes for pointing the lining at either side. The main edges have narrow boxed outward turns. The bevor was originally secured by a spring catch at the right side. The visor has a divided sight, and is pierced with circular breaths about the transverse ridge and with three horizontal slots at either side below it.

The breastplate is globose, with gussets at the arms and a heavy boxed outward turn at the neck. It is decorated with four transverse flutes below the neck, and a spray of fluted on the main section. At either shoulder is an original iron buckle with a decorated rectangular frame. The breastplate overlaps a wasp-like waist plate, to which is riveted a fauld of four lames, overlapping upwards, articulated by rivets at either end, and modern black leathers at either side. The lowest fauld lame has an arch with a roped turn at its lower centre, and has a tasset of six lames permanently riveted at either side. The upper and lower of these lames have a transverse roped rib, and the central four are embossed with fine flutes. The tasset lames are riveted at the outside, with two narrow, modern black leathers at the centre and inside. The backplate is formed of one piece, flat-topped, with plain inward turns and wide recessed borders at the neck and arms, a plain lower edge, and restored straps. The main section is fluted.

Each vambrace is formed of a spaudler of seven lames, the upper two overlapping upwards and plain, the rest overlapping downwards, articulated by modern leathers at the centre and front, by rivets at the rear, and decorated with sprays of flutes. The left arm is composed of an original spaudler, the upper cannon of a corslet vambrace, the couter and outer lower cannon of a Maximilian armour, and the inner lower cannon from a 17th century cuirassier vambrace, with double incised lines. The right one is composed of a restored spaudler and a vambrace from a corslet, with restored reinforcing couter.

The cuisses are composed of main plates with boldly boxed upper edges, transverse pairs of flutes below these, and three sprays of flutes on the main section. The poleyns have heart-shaped wings decorated with sprays of flutes, and have articulating lames above and below connecting them to the cuisse and a wide lower poleyn plate, all decorated with a central band of fluting. The lowest edge has a turn and recessed border. The greaves are modern. Each is plain, formed of front and rear plates extending to the base of the heel, joined by hinges at the outside and spring studs at the inside, with permanently attached sabatons of nine lames, overlapping away from the broad central lame, the last lame widened and shaped to form a square-toed terminal. The exterior is polished bright throughout.

The helmet is stamped with six stars.
The helmet is published in Grose as part of the ‘armour of John de Courcy, earl of Ulster’, at the Tower, and so formed part of the old Tower armoury. The rest of the armour was probably purchased at Oxenham’s on 21 July 1842, lot 251. Displayed in bay 6 in the New Horse Armoury by 1877.



Object Provenance: German, about 1520
Object Number: II.12

Related Objects

Composite ‘Maximilian’ Armour Click on the title link above to find out more.

Dates from 1520 | Object number: II.14, III.755

Thomas Quellin(us) and the Horse Armoury Click on the title link above to find out more.

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