Suit of Armor, about 1920
The suit of armor, acquired by the Foundation in 2013, is reminiscent of armor that was once displayed in the front entrance hall at Coe Hall in the 1920s, but was later removed. This piece is a 20th century reproduction of 15th century Spanish armor. Charles Duveen, who was the interior decorator for Coe Hall, and is the subject of Planting Fields’ exhibition Fabulous Interior by Elsie de Wolfe and Charles Duveen, 1915-1945 (opening March 29th 2014), chose the original suit of armor for the house to evoke the late medieval period. He was following the lead of Coe Hall’s architects, Walker & Gillette, who built the two story hall (finished in 1921) to look as though it might have once been part of a medieval castle. Though the date of the pike or lance is unknown, it was formerly in the collection of the Higgins Armory Museum in Worcester, Massachusetts (the museum was closed in 2013 and its collections dispersed). Many interior designers of large revival-style houses, including Charles Duveen, incorporated armor, pikes, and swords in grand rooms, especially entrance halls, where armor and weapons have traditionally been displayed over many centuries.