Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Harquebusier's Armor of Pedro II, King of Portugal (reigned 1683–1706) with Buff Coat

Armorer:
Armor attributed to Richard Holden (British, London, recorded 1658–1708)
Armorer:
Helmet cheek pieces and metal plates on shoulder straps made by Daniel Tachaux (French, 1857–1928, active in France and America)
Date:
ca. 1683 and later; buff coat, 17th–18th century
Geography:
London
Culture:
British, London; buff coat, European
Medium:
Steel, gold, leather, textile
Dimensions:
armor (15.113.1–.5): Wt. 43 lb. 5 oz. (19.6 kg); helmet: 14 x 11 x 15 1/4 in. (35.6 x 27.9 x 38.7 cm); Wt. 9 lb. 10 oz. (4354 g); breastplate: 18 1/2 x 16 5/16 x 7 13/16 in. (47 x 41.4 x 19.8 cm); Wt. 10 lb. 14 oz. (4944 g); backplate: 17 1/2 x 16 1/4 x 8 1/2 in. (44.5 x 41.3 x 21.6 cm); Wt. 11 lb. 5 oz. (5126 g); reinforcing breastplate: 17 3/8 x 16 3/16 x 6 13/16 in. (44.1 x 41.1 x 17.3 cm); Wt. 9 lb. 6 oz. (4264 g); bridle gauntlet: 5 1/2 x 19 7/16 x 6 3/4 in. (14 x 49.4 x 17.1 cm); Wt. 2 lb. 2 oz. (953 g); buff coat (29.158.885): L. 35 in. (88.9 cm)
Classification:
Armor for Man
Credit Line:
Armor: Rogers Fund, 1915; buff coat: Bashford Dean Memorial Collection, Funds from various donors, 1929
Accession Number:
15.113.1–.5; 29.158.885
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 371
This armor can be identified by its decoration as having belonged to Pedro II (reigned 1683–1706). The decoration includes the crowned monogram PR for Pedro Rex (Pedro the King) and the cross of the commander of the Order of Christ, a hereditary office held by the kings of Portugal.

Harquebusiers were armored cavalrymen generally equipped with a carbine (known as a harquebus) carried at the right side on a shoulder belt, a pair of pistols holstered at the front of the saddle, and a sword. This form of armor, consisting of a triple-barred helmet, a cuirass with a bulletproof reinforcing breastplate, and an elbow gaunlet, was commonplace in England up to about 1645. The armor of King Pedro is significant not only as a very late example of this type but also as the probable work of the London armorer Richard Holden. A very similar armor made by Holden in 1686 for James II of England (reigned 1685–88) is in the Royal Armouries in the Tower of London.

The armor is shown with an associated buff coat. This sturdy leather defense, which provided effective protection against sword cuts, was worn throughout the seventeenth century, first in conjunction with armor and later alone.
Inscription: Inscribed on the helmet: a royal crown and interlaced letters P R; on the breastplate: P R.
Dean, Bashford. "Armor of Dom Pedro II, King of Portugal." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 11, no. 1 (January 1916). pp. 19–21, figs. 1–8.

Allentown Art Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and John Woodman Higgins Armory. Arms and Armor: March 15–June 14, 1964: A Loan Exhibition from the Collection of Stephen V. Grancsay, with Important Contributions by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the John Woodman Higgins Armory, Worcester, Massachusetts. Allentown, Pa.: Allentown Art Museum, 1964. pp. 20–21, no. 7, fig. 7.

European Exhibition of Art, Science, and Culture. XVII Exposição Europeia De Arte, Ciência E Cultura: Os Descobrimentos Portugueses E a Europa Do Renascimento (XVII European Exhibition of Art, Science, and Culture: the Portuguese Discoveries and Renaissance Europe). Lisbon: Montepio Geral, 1984. no. 68.

La Rocca, Donald J. "An English Armor for the King of Portugal." Metropolitan Museum Journal 30 (1995). pp. 81–96, figs. 1, 3–9, 13, 15, 17, 19, 21–22.

Cardini, Franco. Monaci in Armi: Gli Ordini Religioso-Militari Dai Templari Alla Battaglia Di Lepanto: Storia Ed Arte. Roma: Retablo, 2004. p. 197, no. 22, ill.



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