Composed knight armour

German Armourer

Germany, late sixteenth/ nineteenth century

Material: Forged iron

Size: 170 cm high

review by gherardo turchi

Entirely made of the finest forged-iron, the armour we’re going to describe was produced by one of Germany’s most thriving smithies in the sixteenth century, although provided with some additional elements over the following decades.

As of the early Modern Age, several smithies had flourished to satisfy the European nobles’ increasing demand of war equipment items and weapons. Due to its great amount of wood to power fineries and blast furnaces with, Germany quickly stood out as the country provided with the larger number of smithies in Europe. This led a lot of nobles from the most important countries to ask local smithies for their widely known products, such as the armours. Despite their excellent forging skills, most German smiths were however known to get inspired by Milan and Northern Italy craftsmen’s creative talent, whose workshops they had used to get to since the earliest sixteenth century.

Plate armours were certainly the most requested war equipment items at that time. Although recalling Sigismund’s and Maximilian I’s defensive equipment, they quickly caught on across all Europe.

Forged in the latest sixteenth century as well as greatly preserved, the amazing armour we’re analysing had been provided with additional items, especially during Historicism, the artistic style catching on across Europe in the early nineteenth century. Over that period, armourers, those living in Southern Germany particularly, had used to provide earlier war equipment items with new forged-iron elements to enhance them. The model at Florence’s Stibbert Museum, skilfully set up by armourer Ernst Schmidt, is widely known to be the most relevant in the world.

The defensive clothing we’re describing certainly proves that. We can maintain its couters, poleyns, pauldrons and gardbraces have been progressively added over the time. Even though very far from the sixteenth century main forging patterns, they perfectly join with the original elements, making the whole armour such a chef-d’oeuvre, artistically speaking.       

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