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FFOULKES C. Armour & Weapons

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Sir John Froissart's Chronicles of England, France, Spain and the Ajoining Countries from the latter part of the reign of Edward II to the coronation of Henry IV in 12 volumes 

Chronicles of Enguerrand De Monstrelet (Sir John Froissart's Chronicles continuation) in 13 volumes 

 
 
 
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FFOULKES C.
Armour & Weapons
page 83



CHAPTER VI THE DECADENCE OF ARMOUR IN the practice of any of the crafts, or applied arts as they are-now called, the surest and most manifest signs of decadence are to be found in two aspects of that craft. The first of these is that which refers to the material used. With regard to armour this consideration is faithfully adhered to in most examples of the armourer's work up to the end of the fifteenth century ; but by the beginning of the sixteenth century we find the craftsman becoming wearied of his technical perfection and the simplicity and constructional dignity which invariably ac-companies such perfection. His efforts are now directed to fashioning his metal into such forms as in no way suggest his material, but only show a certain meretricious skill in workmanship. Fig. 41 shows a very favourite form of this artistic incoherence. The defensive properties of the helmet are in no way increased, but rather are annulled by presenting hollows and projections where before a smooth surface existed. It is superfluous to point out the grotesque and bizarre effect of this human face in metal.1 Another instance of this wilful disregard of material is to be noticed in those suits which imitate the puffed and slashed dress in fashion for civilian wear during the sixteenth century. Many of these suits exist in English and European armouries, which proves that they were popular, 1 That this fashion in helmets was a general one we may judge from the fact that most armouries possess examples of these human-faced helmets. FIG. 41. Grotesque helmet, sixteenth century. Nuremberg. I


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