Italian Art, History and Culture

As Tough As Old Boots?

Essays on the Manufacture and History of Hardened Leather Armour

As Tough As Old Boots? Essays on the Manufacture and History of Hardened Leather Armour

As Tough As Old Boots?
Essays on the Manufacture & History
of Hardened-Leather Armour


A4 Format PDF, 119 pages, 105 colour illustrations, 3 black & white
*This PDF format eBook is available exclusively from this website*

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In 2003 Chris Dobson published his ground-breaking article on cuir bouilli - hardened leather armour - as part of the 1st International Arms and Armour Conference Proceedings, combining scholarly study of surviving pieces, period art and documentary references, with his skill as a Master Armourer, to reconstruct how this armour was actually made.

15 years on, continued public interest in his original publication, other archaeological finds, and a reconstruction project for Leiden Museums, have persuaded Chris to return to this fascinating subject. This new eBook includes and updates his original work - now with colour photography - and features many new photographs of more surviving cuir bouilli pieces. It includes new research using period documentary references and art, looking at the Ancient World, Medieval and Renaissance pieces for war and tournament, and horse armour. It brings together the four earliest medieval pieces of hardened leather armour: the British Museum vambrace and the Dordrecht vambraces, and includes step-by-step reconstructions of early-14th Italian vambraces and the later Leiden Vambrace. It is a mine of information for anyone wishing to study or reconstruct this armour.

1. Hardened-Leather Armour in the Ancient World
2. Hardened-Leather Armour for the Medieval Warrior
3. The British Museum, Dordrecht and Valkenburg Finds
4. Reconstruction 1: Italian Vambraces Circa 1300-10
5. The Leiden Vambrace
6. Reconstruction 2: The Leiden Vambrace
7. Medeival and Renaissance Horse Armour
8. Documents 1:
The 1335 Statute of the Florentine Painters’ Guild
9. Documents 2:
Il Libro dell'Arte of Cennino d’Andrea Cennini
10. Hardened-Leather as Auxiliary Armour

This eBook is packed with beautiful and detailed photography, much never published before. Sincere thanks are due to the major museums that have contributed photographic images, or permitted new photography especially for this publication. It includes photography from: the Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal, Paris; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the J. Paul Getty Museum; Yale University Art Gallery; the National Gallery of Art, Washington; the British Museum; Glasgow Museums; Leiden Museums; Dordrecht Museums; Valkenburg Museum; Salzburg Museum; the Schweizerisches Nationalmuseum Zürich; the Vindolanda Trust; FAI - Fondo Ambiente Italiano; the Museo e Real Bosco di Capodimonte, Naples.

How to make cuir bouilli armour
Hardened Leather Horse Bard
Medieval Hardened Leather Vambrace
15th Century Cuir Bouilli Shaffron Salzburg
Cuir Bouilli Horse Bard
Medieval Hardened Leather Vambraces
Photos from the book, credits from left to right/top to bottom: © Chris Dobson; National Gallery of Art, Washington, Public Domain; © Chris Dobson; © Salzburg Museum; © Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris; Tilman2003 (CC-BY-SA 3.0).
© Chris Dobson 2021. All rights reserved | P.IVA 03799630045