The construction of an armour in the style of the 16th. Century

Armour design in the sixteenth century embraced the union of the rounded forms of Italian armour with the technical and structural features of German armour. At the early part of the century the breastplate was rather globose in shape but under Flemish influence this became somewhat flatter with a slight central keel. In Germany c. 1530 the central keel became more pronounced, projecting prominently in the centre. As the century progressed the breastplate once again assumed a flatter and longer waisted appearance until, c. 1580, the peascod shape which had developed in Italy in 1570 became widely adopted in Europe.

The laminated skirt of the rear tassets gradually became shorter until by the middle of the century it consisted of a single lame attached to the back of the cuirass or even just a turned out flange of the backplate itself. The front tassets departed from the shield shape made up of either a single lame or three horizontal lames and became longer overlapping the cuisse. Sometimes the laminated tassets extended to the knee, articulating with the poleyn to replace the cuisse altogether.

A simple curved poleyn, often with a central crease, articulated with the cuisse above via a single lame and the lower lame overlapped the greave. The sabatons of the time were often shaped like the broad-toed contemporary shoe of the period. The gauntlets were almost always of mitten form with a straight upper edge to the cuff - although by the end of the sixteenth century the fingered style of earlier times was beginning to make a re-appearance.

Many armours of this period are shown with either a close-helmet or a burgonet, which was an open-faced helmet with a brim over the eyes, the face being covered by a removeable buff. At first the helmets had no comb or else a very low one, but this began to grow as the century progressed reaching a considerable height by c. 1590.

Milanese close-helmet, c. 1560

A fine reproduction Milanese close-helmet c. 1560

In chronicling this construction I will try not to make the stages too repetitive of those shown in the first project. Wherever possible I have included additional details of the stages in response to various questions that have been put to me since the completion of the first armour.

The completed 16th.C armour

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