Tuesday, 17 November 2009

The Hartenstein Knights

For those of you who can't go there (or for those who would like a little preview), here are photos of the two "guys" standing in the Hartenstein exhibition. I took my camera to the opening ceremony, but had unfortunately not checked the batteries before, so I can only show you pics from the setup procedure - which means that the pictures show only the almost-finished state, with little details missing.

First, there's the miles from around 1200. It's a knight from the Teutonic order, and there were two possibilities for him for the exhibition, the warlike outfit and the courtly one. When we set up the exhibition, the warlike presentation was chosen, so he currently looks like this:

And this would be his courtly self:

He's wearing braies, a pair of cloth hose beneath the mail, a wadded gambeson, the mail shirt with mittens attached, a tabard and then either a half-circle cloak or helmet and mail coif.
Isn't it amazing how much of a difference this makes?

And as the second "guy", we have the master of Hartenstein himself, caught in the act of donning his Great Helmet:

He's wearing braies, cloth and mail hose, a gambeson, a mail shirt, armour covered with silk cloth, knee protectors and vambraces. And gauntlets. And two helmets, of course - the bascinet with mail attached to protect the neck, the great helmet with a fish as the crest. (I hope I got all the English terms right - I'm not so used to translating weapons-and-armour terminology.) He isn't equipped yet with his shield and his sword - he only got those after the photo.

(He's cut off at the knees because there are tools and paraphernalia at his feet. He does have feet. Really.)


Anonymous said...

Excellent stuff, and what fun to make!

Digger said...

I love that #2 is posed in the act of putting on his helmet!

a stitch in time said...

Thanks, you two!
Making the things really was a lot of fun, but also quite a lot of stress, since everybody involved in the project was on a rather tight schedule (due to EU monies involved). Our whole flat was totally taken over by Hartenstein things - rabbit-skin glue and gesso heated up in the kitchen oven, leather scraps being washed in the bathroom, and different stages of assembly of things in my study and the living room. So my life at that time really was revolving only around those two guys and their equipment!

Bertus Brokamp said...

Hi Katrin, what a great project to work on! Must have been fun and worthwhile. On the whole I think they look great. I like the fact that knight number two, the mid 14th c. one, is wearing a gambeson beneath it all. This is what is missing in the reconstruction in Burg Kronberg, or rather, he is only wearing gamboised arms...

But there are two details from your c. 1350 reconstruction I do not get;
First off, he seams to be wearing a rather loose and long gambeson instead of a more Charles de Blois style tightfitting short one. Same goes for the hauberk. Seems too loose and large for the timeframe?
Secondly I wonder why the four chains on his breast are not attached to anything like they are in effigies; sword, dagger, helm, etc.

a stitch in time said...

Hi Bertus, thanks! Yes, we were trying to give the two knights all proper equipment as far as possible - they even wear proper braies to keep up the hose.
The two details... the loose and long gambeson is taken directly from the effigy we had as main source; I'll post a proper entry with the reconstruction and the effigy picture side by side (pics in comments are troublesome). The chains are not attached to the helmet because he's putting it on at the moment, and he's not wearing his sword or dagger in that picture yet (since it was taken before the final outfitting stage). I'm not sure if they are attached to the chains at the moment, since the dagger and sword need to be fixed "public-safe", which can actually make it difficult to get the best display. I'll pass your comment on to the exhibition staff, though.

Jens Boerner said...

Interesting project. However, I think the Hartenstein reconstruction bears several errors. First, he is not really wearing scale armour beneath the jupon, does he? Then: the maille shown in the effegy has no frontal slit (as hardly any has mid-14th century). The Maille sleeves are too short and to broad. The lower vambrace seems to be not correct; the effigy is wearing lames on leather. I also doubt he is not wearing cuisses, or "senftenier".
The cut of the coat of arms/jupon seems to be not wide enough- the effigy shows folds.
The gaunlets also are different, although they are of the "wisby" type.
The bascinet should have a nose guard; the effigy does have one.
Also, the weapon chains are not attached to 4 points, but to 2 (an untypical feature).

Nethertheless, nice to see an attempt to reconstruct mid-14th century armour.

a stitch in time said...

Hello Jens, how nice that you found your way here!
I will not deny that the reconstruction is not perfect; however, some of the differences between the reconstruction and the effigy are with reason.
First of all, yes, he is actually wearing scale armour below the yellow silk - the silk is actually the cover of the scale armour. You are right that the mail shirt should not have a slit in front according to the effigy, but the sleeves only look that short and broad because they fall back onto the upper arms. With lowered arms, they would fall to just below the elbow, as the effigy shows.
I'm not so sure I understand what you see as difference in the lower vambraces - maybe you could explain that?
As to the chain points, there is actually an explanation for that. The armour was not reconstructed to match the effigy; instead, the Hartenstein organisers and the armourer made a replica of an extant armour (the Hirschstein armour) which has the four attachment points for the chains as well as a slightly different form from the armour on the effigy. An additional gore or two set in at the sides of the cover might have given the slight extra width for the folds, but unfortunately there was not enough time to properly play around with the armour cover. I did not plan for extra gores at the sides when first making the concept for the cover because I was afraid that side gores would add in extra, deeper folds that would again be a considerable difference from the effigy picture. It can also be that, would the armour be in use instead of on display, time might also show that the folds gradually develop over the individual dagges because when the fabric gets caught somewhere (as will happen), the area above the dagge will become slightly stretched. And finally, the cover fabric is taken around the back and arranged so that it covers the attachment point of the knight to the wall brace as best as possible, which might also distort the fall and drape of the fabric.
As far as I know, the gauntlets were also modelled on extant armour instead of reconstructed, which explains the difference. And yes, the bascinet should have a nose guard, something did go amiss there.

I hope that shed some more light on things!

Jens Boerner said...

Ah, ok, if it was not planned as a replica of the effigies armour, then the differences are explainable. However, it would have been interesting, because the effigy is one of the very few of this time frame showing really scale armour - not a coat of plates (as the hirschensteiner armour is).
The vambraces in the effigy are those typical german steel stripes on leather- I really doubt the type shown in the exhibition would have been found in 1340 germany.