Battersea Shield


The Battersea Shield

The Battersea Shield

Shield detail

Shield detail


Length: 77.700 cm

P&EE 1857.7-15.1


The Battersea shield is not in fact a complete shield, but only the facing, a metal cover that was attached to the front of wooden shield. The elaborate design is highlighted with twenty-seven framed studs of red enamel (opaque red glass).

The shield was not made for serious warfare; it is too short to provide adequate protection. The thin metal sheet and the complicated decoration would be easily destroyed if the shield was struck by a sword or spear. Instead, it was probably made for flamboyant display. The highly polished bronze and glinting red glass would have made for a great spectacle. It was finally thrown or placed in the River Thames.

On display: Room 50: Britain and Europe