The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Burgonet
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Milan, Italy
  • c. 1550
  • Steel and gold, blued and fire-gilded
  • Weight: 1.84 kg
  • A109
  • European Armoury I
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • The skull of this dramatic parade helmet has been embossed on the brow with a large acanthus leaf and on either side with a winged sphinx, seated, with a spray of honeysuckle at the back. There is a short, gilt fruit-shaped knob, forming an apex. Around the head runs a band of gilded guilloche ornament. The peak is boldly embossed as a monster- or dolphin-mask; the neck-guard is decorated with parallel lines of tegulation or brick-work, the border roped. Twin-holes for the crest, and rows of brass-headed rivets (probably replacements, those on the neck showing little regard for the decoration) for the lining and chin-strap. Pieces of leather and canvas still remain pinned down under the rivets. A gilded plume-holder is riveted to the back of the helmet. There is a pair of holes, one on each side of the comb to secure the plume. A fragment of a broad leather chin-strap survives

    S. Pyhrr believes that A109 is identical to a helmet described in an inventory of the Medicean armoury (personal communication, 1983).
    The rather clumsy design of this helmet and the pedestrian drawing of the sphinx are reminiscent of Filippo Orsoni of Mantua (see Hayward, Waffen- und Kostümkunde, 1982, pp. 1-16, Pis. 7-10).