Italian ‘Gothic’ Armour and the Export Trade
by CHRIS DOBSON
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In the 15th century, the international arms trade was dominated by North Italian armourers, who tailored their styles for different regional markets. A good example was armour ‘alla tedesca’: ‘in the German manner’. But just what was ‘alla tedesca’ armour like, and what was the response of native German armourers? In this publication Chris Dobson examines these questions, together with the effects of regional armour styles, which like languages, didn't just stop and start at national borders.
This publication is packed with new photography of Italian and German armour, and related works of art. It is a mine of information for students of 15th century armour, and there is also much here for the general history reader. Sincere thanks are due to the major museums that have contributed photographic images, or permitted new photography especially for this publication, including pieces never published before. There are also items from private collections, also published here for the first time. Contributing museums include: the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Cleveland Museum of Art; the Philadelphia Museum of Art; the Wallace Collection; the Royal Armouries; Glasgow Museums; the Bargello, Florence; the Museo Civico Bolzano; the Historisches Museum Luzern; the Landesmuseum Zürich; the Wallraf-Richartz Museum, Köln; the Germanisches Nationalmuseum Nürnberg; the Museum und Galerie im Prediger; Schwäbisch Gmünd and the Castlerock Museum, Wisconsin.
This photography is combined with extracts from 15th century Milanese, Venetian and Florentine documents and period art, all of which Chris Dobson weaves together in his text to give a greater understanding of the North Italian export trade in arms and armour: converting standard armour for the German market, making new pieces ‘alla tedesca’, and even the training of German craftsmen in Milan. There is also a section on armour produced in Innsbruck and the Tyrol. The book concludes with the onset of the Italian Wars.