The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Pikeman's helmet
  • Pikeman's helmet
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Flanders or France
  • c. 1630
  • Iron or steel, copper alloy, gold and silver, counterfeit-damascened, fluted, gilded
  • Height: 23.4 cm
    Weight: 1.51 kg
  • A88
  • European Armoury III
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • The surface of this fine pikeman's helmet is ridged and fluted, the flutes radiating from the apex to within an inch of the brim; the ridges are roped with a file, and alternate ridges and flutes have been fire-gilt. The apex is capped with two steel discs with scalloped edges, superimposed one upon the other, both formerly gilt; on the top is a steel vase-shaped finial. At the back of the skull is riveted a large, tubular plume-holder of copper alloy, chased with intertwined foliage in low relief. Around the base is a row of steel-headed lining-rivets.
    The broad sloping brim, which curves upwards at either end, is made in one piece with the halves of the skull. The surface is hatched and overlaid with silver with panels of flowers and foliage. The edge is bordered with a double border line of roping, the inner line being embossed, and the outer rolled over a wire. Between the two runs a row of closely-set, steel-headed rivets; the surface between the ropings was formerly gilt.

    The ornament applied on top of the skull is probably a 19th-century replacement.
    This helmet is too rich to have been worn by a pikeman of the regular rank and file. Rather it was probably an alternative helmet for a rich cuirassier armour, and intended to be worn when on foot. It compares well to those accompanying the armours of the Infante Philip IV of Spain at the Real Armería, Madrid (inv. nos. A416 and A417), and to armours of the Stuart dynasty in the Royal Armouries.