Armor n. The kind of clothing worn by [someone] whose tailor is a blacksmith.
—Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary
As those of you who regularly follow Sartorially Smart Heroines know, I’m kind of a sucker for late-Medieval Gothic armor. The lovely Adelruna is one of the best fantasy artists I’ve found for smartly-rendered Gothic plate armor. The Lady Bernice was actually the first of Adelruna’s heroines I discovered, and I’ve been in love with her artwork since.
While Bern’s baseball-player stance seems a bit odd to me, I like the overall look of the portrait and feel like we get a strong sense of her character and demeanor. Firstly, she clearly is undaunted by whatever she’s facing—despite that she has to look up at her opponent. There is strength and determination behind those green eyes, and I would much prefer to fight by her side than against her. Secondly, I like that even as a titled lady Bern rocks a smart, functional suit of masterwork full-plate, rather than something overly ornate with gold trim and delicate parts that are expensive to repair. I think this says a lot about her and her understanding of the hazards of adventuring and combat.
Lady Bern’s armor looks to be well-tailored to her size, frame, and measurements—as good plate armor should be. Nowhere is it ill-fitting or bulky, standing strong amidst the heaviest of melee. Her cuirass is of high-grade steel to protect her insides from enemy blades. Plated spaulders protect our heroine’s shoulders while additional plating and padding protect her arms from severing blows. Meanwhile, segmented hip plates protect her upper legs when on foot or horseback, and additional plates and pads keep her legs safe from disabling blows.
I like that our lady wears light, leather gloves to protect her hands without hindering her swordsmanship. The fact that she wears a simple arming shirt beneath her armor, rather than chainmail or a padded gambeson, is an interesting choice. It tells me that Bern prefers to travel light, suggesting that this is adventuring armor, rather than infantry armor for mainline combat. Leather strips and a chain skirt protect vulnerable joints where her torso and leg armor connects. Lastly, she wears a linen waist-cloak as additional padding while out riding.
Being able to see Bernice’s boots would tell us for certain if she is primarily a mounted or unmounted knight, as pointed boots were designed for riding while round boots are for walking. The only thing I’d recommend for our lovely lady would be a helmet of some kind to keep that pretty head in tact, but I also recognize that this was the artist or commissioner’s way of showing what the character looks like. All in all, it’s an awesome portrait and I wish I could high-five Adelruna in person for it.
Massive thanks to Adelruna for letting me borrow her lovely knight for the writeup. Please take time to check out her Tumblr galleries as well. As always, thanks so much for reading folks! Take care and stay awesome!