Très rare armure pour la joute « à l'italienne », Italie du Nord, fin XVIe siècle. Photo Pierre Bergé & associés

Very rare armour for the "Italian tilt", North Italian, late 16th century.

Assembled on elements from disparate tilting armours, including several lesser restorations and now forming a fine representation of an armour of this rare type, comprising close helmet with one-piece skull incised with pairs of lines flanking the base of a cabled low comb, pierced with five pairs of lace holes on both sides at the rear, fitted with a pair of cheek-pieces on vertical hinges and closed over the chin, V-shaped tubular plume-holder (associated), the visor and bevor pivoted at common points above the hinges, the visor fitted with a deep brow reinforce also forming the upper edge of the very narrow sight, the lower edge projecting forwards to form a pointed prow and seated below the upper edge of the bevor, locked both by a hook and a spring-catch on the right (the spring-catch not engaging), the bevor also closed by a hook on the right and fitting over the upper edges of the cheek-pieces, fitted with neck-guard of one lame with turned roped edge, the neck-guard, the visor, the bevor and the cheek-pieces all incised with double linear borders en suite with the skull, hinged gorget of three lames front and rear, the upper lames with a cabled turn, breast-plate of heavy construction formed with a medial ridge, out turned basal flange, a prominent roped turn below the neck, a pair of moveable arm-gussets en suite, skirt of one lame, static lance-rest retained by three bolts, and fitted with a standing crescentic plate above the lance-rest and following the contour of the opening for the right arm, fitted with uppergrandguard, guardaviso, covering almost the entire left surface of the helmet bevor and cheek-piece, extended around the front to cover half of the opposing side and swept back in a concave plane over the front of the right shoulder, retained by a single bolt engaging the right side of the bevor and by the upper two bolts which also retain the lower-grandguard, guardastanca (the bolts moved), the upper-grandguard kept clear of the surface of the bevor by the addition of a pair of projecting internal buffers at the top of the breast-plate, the lower grandguard covering almost all of the left side of the upper torso, retained by three bolts at the front, the back-plate fitted with skirt of one lame, iron shoulder-straps, joined to the breast-plate by a hinge on the left and closed by a stud on the right, the frontal skirt carrying two asymmetrical tassets each of three lames and almost forming a pair, the left tasset of characteristic greater length and formed with an angular flange along the inner edge and an angular ridge within a recessed panel widening toward a point, the opposing tasset with plain raised inner edge, a central ridge matching the left tasset, and the lower lame finished with a rounded contour and turned roped edge, a pair of full arm defences, comprising symmetrical light spaulders (the left a modern reconstruction hidden beneath the grandguard), a pair of couters, a pair of hinged tubular lower-cannons, the right couter fitted with a reinforce, guardacubito destro, the left arm fitted with a large pasguard, soprabracchiale, retained by a single bolt engaging the left couter, the left arm with a tilting gauntlet of heavy construction, its mitten plates each formed with a guard projecting over the inner edge, the right gauntlet of conventional type with flared pointed tubular cuff hinged on the outside and embossed for the ulna, the inner plate boxed behind the wrist, a pair of full leg-defences with gutter-shaped cuisses each with a prominent plain turn over the top, winged poleyns each with two articulations above and three below, hinged greaves, a pair of armoured tilting stirrups, and the right reinforcing couter, the pasguard, the left tilting gauntlet and the poleyns all with double linear incised borders en suite with the helmet: on a purpose-built fabric-covered-mannequin.

H.: 166 cm - Wt.: 27.065 kg, and with the stirrups: 29.395 kg. Résultat : 270 000 €

The Italian tilt required light blunt lances made of poplar wood. Each participant was required to break a lance with three successive opponents  by racing on either side of a barrier (la palenca) placed in the centre of the lists. It was apparently during an Italian tilt that King Henry II of France was
mortaly wounded on the 30th June 1559.

This armour for the Italian tilt is among the most complete known and apparently the only one recorded in private hands.

Comparable armours are in the following museums: The Musée de l'Armée, Paris (G.176 & G.177), The Royal Armouries, Leeds (II.188), The Poldi-Pezzoli Museum, Milan (n°1983), The Art Institute of Chicago (1982.2405; ex- Harding 2278), and The Philadelphia Museum of Art (1977-167-24, Kienbusch collection).

See, MANN, James, European arms and armour, Wallace collections catalogues, 1962, volume I p. 77-78 n°A61, pl. 42, stating the list of the tilting armours of this type. NORMAN, A. V. B., European arms and armour supplement to the Wallace collection catalogues, 1986, p. 33 n°A61, completing the list published by Sir James Mann. DUFTY, Arthur Richard, European armour in the Tower of London, 1968, pl. XXXIV, (inv. II.188). BOCCIA, Lionello G. & GODOY, José A., Museo Poldi-Pezzoli, Armeria I, 1985, n°7 p. 73-75 & 179-180, ill. 18-20. KARCHESKI, Walter J., Jr.: Arms and Armor in the Art Institute of Chicago, 1995, p. 38 & 121. FALLOWS, Noel, Jousting in Medieval and Renaissance Iberia, 2010, p. 139, 140 ill. 83-85.

Pierre Bergé & associés. Mardi 13 décembre à 15h00. Grand Sablon 40 Grote Zavel, Bruxelles. « Le musée fantastique » de Karsten Klingbeil armes et armures anciennes. EMail : contact@pba-auctions.com - Tél. : Paris +33 (0)1 49 49 90 00 - Bruxelles + 32 (0)2 504 80 30