Based on an original of probable Northern Italian origins, this breastplate is a cast-iron replica from the Victorian period. The breastplate is of a design known as a cuirass when combined with a backplate. Cuirasses of this type and from this era were made thick enough to withstand shot from a musket, an absolutely essential quality for combat in this age. Cavalry officers would pair simple forms of this armor with a uniform and helm or hat depending on the year and location. Those of noble background would be able to afford more high quality, embossed armor similar to this piece.
With virtually no marring of the finish, this Victorian copy of a North Italian breastplate is in excellent condition.
The design on the armor gives credence to the Italian pedigree. Soldiers in roman garb and helm adorn the piece, standing together at rest in front of what appears to be a military style tent and a building. Angels, flanking the medusa head (showing Negroli inspiration) sound trumpets, possibly meant to inspire a belief that God would bring victory to the wearer. Floral scrollwork winds its way across the entire piece, worked in expertly in the embossing technique common to Italian armor makers.