The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Morion
  • Workshop of Caremolo Modrone (1489 - 1543) , Possibly
  • Italy
  • c. 1545
  • Iron or steel and gold, embossed, chased and gilt
  • Height: 21.8 cm
    Weight: 1.33 kg
  • A112
  • European Armoury II
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Triple-combed morion, embossed with three roped combs, the whole made in one piece. The central comb has been roughly pierced at the sides for a crest; the brim (scooped over the ears) is pointed at the front and back, the lower edges turned under, roped and bordered with a row of rivet-holes for the lining strap; at the back is fixed a tubular plume-holder. The whole surface, originally gilt and now bright, is embossed and chased with a bearded mask in front, and a Florentine fleur-de-lys (or giglio) at the sides; the sides of the combs are chased with ovals, and between them are alternately rosettes and clef-shaped scrolls; round the brow is boldly embossed a band of roping, below which is a row of star-headed rivets for the lining.

    This helmet belongs to a group which J. F. Hayward identified as made for the guard of Pier Luigi Farnese, Duke of Parma and Piacenza (b. 1525, reigned 1545-7, until he was assassinated); see Armes Anciennes, VII, 1956, p. 151. They were formerly attributed wrongly to the Medici on account of the use of the Florentine giglio.
    Similar morions are in the Armeria Reale, Turin (E 52-3); the Museo Stibbert at Florence (inv. no. 927); the Metropolitan Museum, New York (duc de Dino, ex-Lord Londesborough, and Riggs Collections, see de Cosson, Dino Collection, p. 36, Pl. 34, 62, Fig. B 33 - Nos. 04.3.219 and 14.25.615); in the Hermitage at Leningrad (two examples- Z.O. nos. 3380 and 3390); in the Farnese armoury in the Museo di Capodimonte at Naples. Further examples are in the Victoria and Albert Museum (M. 141-1921 Currie Bequest; Hayward, Armour, 1951, p. 46, pI. 20), and in other museums (see C. Buttin, Les Arts, September, 1910, p. 24, and Revue Savoisienne, No. 4, 1897). Another is in the Museo Civico at Piacenza (inv. no. 344), and another was at Hever Castle, Kent (sold Sotheby's, 5th May 1983, lot 39, repr. in cat.). Hayward later suggested that the helmets of this group may have been made in the workshop of Caremolo Modrone in Mantua (Waffen -und Kostümkunde, 1982, p. 90, Fig. 23).