A Flemish smith hammers at a piece of metal on his anvil as he makes suits of armour. Engraving by J. Godfrey, 1854, after H. Leys.

  • Leys, Hendrik, Baron, 1815-1869.
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"The mantle of one of the old Flemish painters seems to have fallen upon the shoulders of Leys when he was occupied on the picture of ' The armourer.' In the days to which the subject carries us back, the artizan who worked at the forge was something more than an ordinary smith; he was often a real artist in metal, and welded rich armour for the steel-clad knight, as well as iron for the hoofs of his war-horse. The Flemish armour has always been celebrated for the "temper" of the metal, and the exquisite finish and delicacy with which the finest examples are wrought ; the forges of Liege, Antwerp, and Bruges sent out equipments in which the bravest warriors of Europe, and the most distinguished sovereigns, were proud to encase themselves. It is the interior of one of these famed workshops which is here represented ; it seems to be divided into two parts — that in the foreground for the superior kind of manufacture, and that in the background for the more common description. In the former are lying about various pieces of armour, and on the table are some ornamental objects in metal; in the latter is the armourer's assistant, who appears to be examining some article brought by the woman, probably for repair. There is an immense amount of detail in this picture, painted with extreme care and elaboration, which is carried so far as to give a not very agreeable appearance to the texture of the work : in technical phraseology it looks "liney;" much of this, however, the engraver has judiciously got rid of. It is a dark picture, with an effect such as we find in most of the works of Rembrandt. 'The armourer' is in the collection at Windsor."--The art journal, loc. cit.


London : James S. Virtue, [1861]

Physical description

1 print : engraving ; image 24 x 19.7 cm


The armourer. From the picture in the Royal Collection. H. Leys pinxt. J. Godfrey sculpt.


[State with Virtue's imprint replacing Colnaghi's].


Wellcome Collection 29794i



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