The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Sallet
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Frankfurt, Germany
  • c. 1480
  • Iron or steel
  • Length: 38.7 cm
    Height: 22.7 cm
    Weight: 2.92 kg
  • Armourer's mark: A fleur-de-lys within a diamond-shaped frame
    Mark: A crowned P Mark of ownership
  • A79
  • European Armoury I
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • In contrast to Italian sallets, the typical German version of this ubiquitous helmet usually extended only to a level just above the wearer’s mouth. They were also rarely open-faced, being instead fitted with a moveable visor or forged in one piece to cover the upper half of the face, the sight being cut straight into the skull. Sallets of this type could be worn tipped back to reveal the face when combat was not imminent. German sallets tended also to have longer, more pointed tails than their Italian relatives, designed to protect the back of the neck from missiles falling from above; similar tails are often found on modern fire-fighting and riot helmets.

    This piece is the earliest German sallet in the Wallace Collection. It is characterised by a good basic shape, the essential lines of which are quite graceful. At the same time, it is somewhat coarse in appearance, having apparently been made at an intermediate level of quality, by no means the lowest, but not the highest either. The turned edges are quite uneven, an indication that the armourer responsible for the work was having to work quickly.

    This helmet carries a mark comprised of a stylised lily or fleur-de-lys within a diamond-shaped frame. This mark has recently been identified as the emblem of the organised company or 'handicraft' of helmsmiths (helmet-makers) of the German city of Frankfurt am Main, one of the foremost financial and commerical centres in the German lands.