French armour collection

French armour from the late 14th century is a pretty vast subject due to the Hundred Years War, but it doesn't seem to be studdied directly. Folks latch on to the 15th century stuff from Milan and Innsbruck so readily that the stuff I love gets over shadowed.
Ok, so defining "French" is a bit tricky. I'm including anything the museum curators are purporting to be French in origin, and things from regions nominally under the rule of the kings of France during the Hundred Years War. I'm not including Burgundy in this for two reasons. The first and stronger reason is that I covered Burgundian armour (way too briefly) in an earlier post. The second is that Burgundy was only sort of under the French kings for a lot of the war. Normandy, Britainy and Aquitaine were also not entirely under the control of the French kings, with the later two being more strongly under the English kings.
Enough of that. Pictures! The next few are of Bertrand du Guesclin, the Mastiff of Britainy and marshal of France, whom I was introduced at the Crapaud tournament in the West (one of the coolest tournaments in the SCA- go fight in it if you have a chance!):

I love the gold polyns. It's unclear if that's really what the cool kids were wearing then or if it was just a way for illuminators to highlight key folks. The beltless look with the heraldic jupon is a bit ususual in illuminations of this time, it's hard to tell if it's typical here too. The more usual look is a solid colored jupon and heraldry on a shield or lance pennon like Bertrand's homies in the pic. The elongated look of the other men at arms and the large number of lames in the sabatons is similar to the Dijon St. George. I have a pet theory that they wore the pig face bascinets rotated with the beak down more than we tend to, and the folks nice enough to have their visors down in this image make me feel better about that theory. It keeps your eyes closer to wear the occular is, improving your field of vision.

This is Bertrand's tomb. The sword hardware is beautiful. The cop is small with a small fan. The vambrace has an internal hinge (rather than the externally applied ones which grew more popular later), and the arms are exposed. This is consistent with the illumination above, though note that arms hidden beneath fabric are shown in the same illumination, the Dijon St. George and quite a few others. You can see a bit of the maile collar I rambled on about in my earlier post
here. and you can also see why he was called "The Toad."

This gives a great outline. Notice the shape of the chest is very similar to the one given by the Churbug #13 and #14 breast plates.

There are only 6 lames on the sabatons here. It looks like there's a roll on the demigreave, and the cop is just a darn weird shape.

I'm not sure who this fellow with the stellar hair cut is, but he's burried with du Guesclin, and is roughly contemporary. The profile of the chest, the maile collar and the small cops are the key things I notice.

The shape of the chest could be created by solid plates, as in the Churburg #14, or pieced together as was done in this piece in the Musee de L'Armee:

I did a rendition of the arm from this suit which you can see some pictures of here.

Below is a much more detailed view of the same arm. I think it's one of the pictures I took a couple years ago:

The fan is much bigger than the ones on the effigies above, and there are external hinges and an inner lame on the vambrace. Those last two points have led Doug Strong to argue that the arm harness is more likely 15th century. The curators don't agree with him, though he's got a strong point that those traits are more typical of later pieces.
This is the elbow cop of the Dauphin in Chartres:
Note that the fan is pretty small, slightly curved in, and has holes which may indicate a border was once attached. I did a set of arms based on these years ago. The articulation is weird, since it doesn't appear to have been the hard rivetted style, and you can see related rivet holes near the edges of the cop when they're viewed edge on.
This is from the leg harness of the same piece. The legs I fight in were mostly inspired by these, as are the greaves, and I've made the sabatons. I'd never realized I'd done so much from this harness before. Maybe I should clean them up and take them to Laurel's prize tourney.

The greaves:

The sabatons:

My version is visible
Also from the same harness, and looking a lot like the contemporary Milanese mits:


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