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Your knight in shining armour? Significant suits of armour to sell at March armouries sale

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OAK FIGURE depicting a man in Maximilian armour

Military buffs and those with an appreciation of the art of chivalric combat will be keen to hear that several suits of armour – including two fine equestrian examples – hailing from a single, private collection will be coming up for auction at a museum sale on Saturday, 28th March.


Until recently exhibited at the Stratford Armouries Museum, which will now focus its attention on the English Civil War, WWI and WWII conflicts, the suits of armour include both period and reproduction examples. 

Perhaps the most impressive due to its sheer scale, quality – and the fact that it once resided in New York’s Metropolitan Museum – is lot 512; comprising a life-size knight on horseback in tournament colours, charging with joust on horse at gallop in ornamental parade armour. The knight’s armour is of bright steel with compositions of the 16th and 19th whilst the horse armour, also of bright steel, is highly decorated and complete with heraldic undercoat and blue fabric saddle seat. Mounted on a black wooden base, this notable specimen is expected to achieve in the region of £20000-40000.
Another example of equestrian armour – albeit on a somewhat smaller scale – comes in the form of lot 569. Expected to achieve in the region of £3000-5000 this very fine, ¼ scale museum display model of a mounted pageant knight is fully articulated and bedecked in handmade Gothic style armour, complete with shield over shoulder and lance, riding his wooden horse in conforming Gothic bard and with genuine tail hair; all beautifully presented on a wooden base.
Elsewhere, two fine suits of 16th Century armour, each with some later additions, come in the form of lots 534 and 539. The former, with links to Salisbury Hall near St Albans, is expected to achieve £4000-6000 while the latter, despite some deterioration to the central section of the visor, is expected to fetch £5000-8000.
Lot 555, meanwhile, a Gothic style full suit of armour in ornately decorated dulled steel and presented a bespoke Oak castellated display stand, carries an estimate of £6000-10000, and Lot 491 – a 19th Century full suit of parade armour with earlier compositions – also in a bespoke Oak castellated display stand, should fetch in the region of £2000-2500.
However, it’s not just suits of armour which look set to pique interest in this section of the catalogue. Lot 499, a wonderful and rare 16th Century carved oak figure depicting a man in Maximilian armour featuring a close pointed ‘Bellows’ visor with four vision slits and twelve ventilation holes, arched spaulders, couters with shaped side wings leading to vambraces and gauntlets, fluted breast plate fitted with a fauld of six lames, above fluted cuisse including shell-shaped side wings and pointed reticulated sabatons, joined to a square plinth and shield support. Standing an imposing 188cm tall, this lot carries an estimate of £4000-6000.
The auction, handled by West Midlands firm Cuttlestones, will take place on Saturday, 28th March at the Stratford Armouries museum, with viewing taking place for three full days prior to the sale. The full catalogue will be available to view online at from early March; with commission, telephone and live online bidding options for those unable to attend the sale in person. For more information, call Cuttlestones on 01785 714905.

lot 512 – Important 19th century horse armour complete
with knight in full suit of armour


Lot 569 – A very fine quarter scale museum display
model of a mounted pageant knight


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