Sunday, September 29, 2019

Greenwich Armour: The work to get to this point.

As I stated in an earlier post, this armour was started by Robert MacPherson (Talents I have seen) and after an injury, Mac was unable to continue with the armour. Mainly because the work left to be done was all of the "heavy" work, the thicker jousting pieces and sinking all of the surfaces than needed etching & gilding.
Jeffery Wasson took up the challenge of completing this massive project. Massive, in that, not only was this a complex, advanced late period armour, but it was also a complete garniture. That being an armour with multiple separate components to allow the armour to be configured in multiple ways for different specific uses. In particularly, jousting.
For jousting, the Greenwich armours had additional heavy reinforcing plates that mounted over the main armour in order to improve the safety of  riding head to head with another jouster, who was trying to hit you with a metal tipped heavy wooden lance.
Imagine riding on the freeway in the back of a pickup truck and leaping out into a street sign and hitting the sign post. The impact is tremendous. So to help keep the guys from getting injured (or killed) heavy plates were affixed over the base armour, which helped tie loose appendages together to keep your arm from being dislocated or your neck broken.
Just like modern sports, jousting evolved over time with changes in rules and improvements to safety, usually motivated by serious injury or death. So by the late 16th century, jousting armour was pretty sophisticated and substantial. To the best of my knowledge, this is the first  replica of a complete Greenwich garniture built in at least the last 100 years (I'm not sure if any replicas were built during the Victorian period) So there is a lot to learn by trial and error in recreating these parts and making sure they interact with each other in the correct manner.
Here are some images of this process (work by Jeff Wasson):

Examining the original arm armour at the
Wallace Collection. The burgonet and
falling buff are in the foreground
(Thanks to Dr. Tobias Capwell)
The fitting of the close helm visor. (one of two)
The garniture has two helmets and 4 visor options. The burgonet has a bar grill and a falling buff and the close helm has a tilting visor and a field visor. The close helm locks onto the gorget, via a rolled top edge on the gorget and the ridge you can see on the bottom of the close helm. When properly made, the rotation is effortless.

The burgonet with it's falling buff. The bar grill
fits beneath this. The black pen lines, show
where the decoration areas need to be sunk.
The close helm with the tilting visor.
 Again, the lines indicate areas to be sunk.
The close helm being fit the gorget or "collar"

The burgonet with it's sunken boarders.

The rough ground breast with its sunken boarders.
 Sinking the boarder moves the whole piece
often requiring the piece to be reworked
in order to refit it to its mating pieces.

The breastplate being heated in order to sink
the decoration areas. Heat is required
because the breast is about 2 mm thick

If all this isn't difficult enough, an optional  second
"reinforcing" breastplate is also fit over the main one.
The reinforcing BP is 3 to 4mm thick and is intended
to be proof against heavy rifle rounds.

The reinforcing BP also needs sunken boarders.
Once the decoration areas are sunk,
the reinforcing BP needs to be refit to
the main breastplate. Areas that should not
touch are marked with soapstone and corrected.

In addition to sunken areas, the more traditional
rolled edges need to be added to many
of the plates.

The backplate is considerably thinner, but still needs
sunken areas for decoration. The rolled edges also
get grooves hammered in, called "roping".

An earlier test fit of all these pieces.

Pauldrons (Shoulder defences) are particularly tricky.
Not only do these need to fit perfectly, they also need to be
the correct proportion for the period of armour.

Roping being added to the rolled edge
of the couter (elbow)

Here we have the gorget, burgonet, falling buff, spurs
arms and tassets all ready for heat treat and decoration.

In addition to all that, the jousting plate known a
grandguard is patterned over the breastplate
and pauldrons.

Here is the formed grandguard, now, continuing
up over the left side of the helmet, again with the
to be sunken areas indicated with soapstone lines.
All of the specialized tilting pieces.
All the pieces for the torso defense.