Art and Arms
Italian Armour 1400-1450
by CHRIS DOBSON
A4 printed book, softback.
*Publication due Autumn 2019*
Due to popular demand, Chris Dobson's next release on arms and armour marks a return to the printed book, being the best format for appreciating the beautiful images used in this volume.
The evolution of the full harness of plate armour in Italy in the first half of the 15th century was not a steady series of technical advances through which Italian armourers arrived at the style we are so familiar with from the 'AVANT' armour in Glasgow. Styles and methods of construction from the 14th century persited well into this period, with older pieces either sliding down the social scale of warriors as they went out of fashion, or being converted to bring them up to date, but the new armour styles that began to emerge in the 15th century did not follow a single narrative. Italy would not become a single country for another 400 years, and the armourers in the different city-states of the peninsular pursued different approaches when arming their clients, creating different regional fashions, and different armour designs - both new and old - co-existed on the battlefield for a considerable time. These regional differences continued throughout this period, and the picture is further complicated by armour manufactured for export to other Italian states by the dominant northern cities of Milan and Brescia, and by the movements of the professional mercenary companies of the Condottieri, regularly fighting from one end of the peninsular to the other.
Surviving armours, familiar from the pages of so many publications, simply do not reflect the full picture of armour design in Italy during this period, and in this book Chris Dobson uses his extensive knowledge of Italian art, combined with documentary evidence and surviving pieces of armour, to reassess the armour of early-15th century Italy, with sometimes surprising results. To that end, this book is packed with photos of beautiful graphic art and sculpture. But informed interpretation of that art is fundamental to the understanding of armour design, and putting surviving pieces into context, and just because a work of art was created in one part of Italy, that does not necessarily mean that it can be taken as representative of armour worn in that particular region at that time. On this theme Chris makes a case study of the frescoes in the Castle of La Manta, which students of the Battle of Agincourt will find particularly interesting.
*More information on this book willl be posted shortly*