Hofmann's iron half suit of armour in Chillon Castle
Hofmann's iron half suit of armour in Chillon Castle3
Hofmann's iron half suit of armour in Chillon Castle1
Hofmann's iron half suit of armour in Chillon Castle5
Keep Map Chillon Castle

Item of the month of March

Iron half suit of armour
This plated suit of armour has been dated back to the 1560s through stylistic cross-checking with other contemporary examples. The top right-hand side of the chest guard bears the hallmark of the Hofmann armourer line. The Hofmanns were of German origin and based in Frauenfeld (Canton of Thurgau) from 1552.

This suit of armour probably joined the Chillon collections in around 1893. That year, the castle curator, Aloys de Molin (1861-1914) attended an auction organised by the antique dealer, Gubler, in Zurich. Since furniture was being sold at exorbitant prices, he settled for weapons and armour, purchasing around 20 items.
This half suit of armour is made up of 12 elements pieced together with leather straps: breastplate and backplate, gorget, arms, gauntlets, segmented tassets (two pieces of plate armour designed to protect the thighs), and finally the codpiece, a fairly rare item used to cover the crotch. The only part missing is the visor, which protected the face.
The year 1592 is engraved in the centre of the breastplate. Since the armour was manufactured prior to this date, it must allude to an important event; it could perhaps be linked to the Frauenfeld Shooting Society, whose members were depicted on a painted wooden panel this exact same year.
This armour was extensively restored in 2014. It underwent treatment to uncover its original, so-called “white” colour – obtained through polishing after forging – which had been altered due to corrosion. It had formerly been considered a black suit of armour.
Half suit of armour
Circa 1560
German or Swiss
Iron, copper-based alloy and leat
her
MCAHL
Inv.: 00161

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