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"Italian Wars Gendarmes and their horses" Topic

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839 hits since 15 Apr 2018
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DucDeGueldres16 Apr 2018 10:54 a.m. PST

On the Steel Fist website I spotted some beautifully casted and painted Gendarmes horses.
What I wonder is what the housing or barding of the horses was made of.
Was it leather, mail, plate or a mix?
Where the houses painted or clad with damask.
Steel Fist also sells Damask decalls, what raises this question with me.
Like to hear what others know and/or think about this.


DucDeGueldres16 Apr 2018 11:27 a.m. PST

Something's gone wrong with the posting of this question.
The initial posting on which already 5 reactions did appear has disappeared.
Can the peaople who did react about an hour ago repeat their reaction to this same question?

Thanks a lot

Phillius Supporting Member of TMP16 Apr 2018 12:40 p.m. PST

I was not a first responder, although I've been an Italian Wars geek for many a decade.

My understanding is, that the barding was mainly made from cuir bouilli (boiled leather) or in fewer cases, plate metal. The colouring seen in contemporary art, was mostly a housing made of cloth material draped over the armour.

As I said, many decades reading a vast array of books, and I have yet to see a definitive answer to that question. Mine is a composite of much reading and where possible, visiting museums.

I did read an interesting article on a blog a few months ago though. In that article the author made reference to contemporary art work of the Italian Wars, and the number of armoured and unarmoured gensdarme horses in those art works, suggesting that the number of gensdarmes on armoured horses was considerably less than those on unarmoured horses. His argument seemed reasonable to me.

Simon Chick16 Apr 2018 12:48 p.m. PST

Phillius has got there before me.
Yes, bard in early 16th century is a mix hardened and shaped leather and/or steel plates. The former may have been painted or covered in cloth (hence the damask decals). In late fifteenth century paintings of Italian condottiere it appears to show cloth (with heraldic arms) over steel.
Hope that helps.

Druzhina16 Apr 2018 9:30 p.m. PST
Simon Chick17 Apr 2018 12:34 p.m. PST

heres the leather horse bard in the Met Museum, NYC. Not sure if this is only remaining pieces of any size and quality?



Some original paint remaining on them?

Puster19 Apr 2018 12:49 a.m. PST

Maximilian ordered buffalo leather for his army, so hardened leather and (for the rich folks) steel plate is the material. The leather might be plated or not, either may be decorated, painted or clothed, sometimes going with the fashion of the year. Unless its blank you cannot really be sure wether its steel or leather. Steel fists decals seem to be inspired by the early 16th century French Gensdarmes, as depicted in contemporary illustrations.

DucDeGueldres21 Apr 2018 4:48 a.m. PST

Thanks all of you for the very helpful information.
This helps a lot to paint my gendarmes for the French intervention in the Guelders War during the first 2 decades of the 16th century.


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