The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Armet
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Spain or Flanders
  • c. 1510 - c. 1520
  • Low-carbon steel, air-cooled, and textile, blued, engraved, incised and embossed
  • Weight: 3.745 kg
  • Armourer's mark: Possibly the letters MFR crowned
  • A153
  • European Armoury I
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Armet, composed of five parts: skull, with a high, roped medial ridge, continuing in a tail-piece to the neck, which ends in a crescent-shaped finial fitting over the cheek-pieces. The skull is stamped on the left side with an armourer's mark and the comb is pierced on the top of the head by a small hole for a holder for a plume or for the top of the lining; reinforcing brow plate with turned-over edges at the face-opening, crest-hole and deeply scalloped edges at the back; cheek-pieces, hinged at the top, the lower edges being roped, or twisted, and pierced with a series of small holes for the attachment of the lining (in the left cheek-piece this is an addition); on the right cheek-piece is a hole now filled with a rivet, probably originally for the spring of the catch keeping the visor in the closed position; there is a cross of five holes at each side for ventilation; visor, strongly salient, with two sights, the lower part embossed with a series of horizontal ridges. There are twelve holes on each side for breathing purposes; it is pivoted with an invisible pin and hinge, and secured with a spring-catch on the right side. The sights are on a slightly raised step. The lifting-peg for the visor has been broken off. A strap and buckle (which issues from slits in the left cheek-piece) binds the whole together. The whole surface is blued, the roping and edges are marked by engraved lines, and in some parts with a series of incised crescents.

    The armourer's mark, much worn, appears to be the letters M F R crowned. In the Real Armería, Madrid (inv. no. A 4) is an armour which bears the same mark. Its general form and serrated edge resembles one of the marks attributed by Gelli (probably incorrectly) to the brothers Francesco and Gabriel Merate of Milan.
    Lakinwas right in calling this a distinctively Spanish type, although it may have been made in Milan for the Spanish market; helmets of this form were also common in the Low Countries, especially those areas under Habsburg rule. This type of visor, pointed and horizontally fluted in the lower part, besides occurring on an armet in the Real Armería, is found on a sallet there (inv. no. D 14); on a Spanish helmet in Musée de l' Armée, Paris (inv. no. H.Po. 554; formerly in the Pauilhac Collection), with NI and compass mark, and the name, SILVA, which suggest a Portuguese agent; on a close-helmet in the late Mr. Cripps-Day's collection; and a detached visor (formerly belonging to the Baron de Cosson, and then in the collection of Dr. Richard Williams, F.S.A) now in the Royal Armouries (inv. no. IV.579).
    A comparable armet forms part of a complete armour, said to be that of Karel, Duke of GeIre (died 1538), preserved in Arnhem Cathedral. It is thought possibly to be of Netherlandish manufacture. (Anon., Legermuseum,1963, pp. 22-4). Another is preserved in an English family armoury. An example is depicted by a follower of Bernard van Orley in The Virgin and Child with Herman Gomez as a donor, painted about 1516 (Prado, Madrid, inv. no.1934).