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Five German soldiers

  • Object:

    Printing plate

  • Place of origin:

    Germany (made)

  • Date:

    early 16th century (printed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Hopfer, Daniel (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Etched steel plate

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F, case EDUC, shelf 9, box H

Daniel Hopfer was an armourer (a maker of arms and armour) in Augsburg, Germany. Etching was one of the techniques used by armourers to decorate their manufactures. Hopfer is thought to have beeen one of the first craftsmen to print an etched plate on to paper. The earliest etching plates were made of materials with which armourers were familiar, such as steel, as here, or iron. By the time this etching plate was acquired by the V&A in 1910, someone had cut it down slightly from its original size.

Physical description

Etched steel plate

Place of Origin

Germany (made)


early 16th century (printed)


Hopfer, Daniel (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Etched steel plate


Height: 20.6 cm, Width: 38.1 cm, Depth: 1 mm plate thickness max

Descriptive line

Etched iron printing plate. Daniel Hopfer. Five German Soldiers, early 16th century; Germany.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Mills, Rosie, "Images in Steel: The Art and Craft of Etched Decoration", The Journal of the Antique Metalware Society, Vol. 19, June 2011, pp. 82-91, ill. p. 82

Labels and date

Daniel Hopfer, an armourer of Augsburg, is thought to have been one of the first craftsmen to etch plates to print on paper. The earliest plates were made of steel or iron, the materials with which the armourers were accustomed to work. Copper plates were introduced in about 1520.

Printmaking Techniques Gallery, Henry Cole Wing [1983]

Subjects depicted

Dog (animal); Costume; Warfare; Standard-bearers; Soldiers


Prints; Arms & Armour; Clothing; Musical Instruments; Architectural fittings; Designs; Printmaking techniques


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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