The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Close-helmet
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • France
  • c. 1565 - c. 1575
  • Iron or steel and gold, etched and gilt
  • Weight: 1.92 kg
  • A171
  • European Armoury III
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Close-helmet, characteristically French in style, having a skull made in two halves joined along the high, roped comb. There is a long rectangular slot cut on top of the left side of the skull just below the comb which was probably for the attachment, possibly at a later date, of the special form of skull-reinforce apparently used in France for the tourney. The visor, with single aperture for the sight, has a prominent, roped ridge on its lower edge; rounded in front of the face where it is fluted and pierced with twelve vertical rows of holes; it fastens to the chin-piece with a pierced stud and hook; chin-piece with roped upper edge secured to the skull with a long hook-and-eye; two gorget-plates, front and back, the border sunk and the lower edge turned over on a wire to a small roping.

    The plates of this helmet are thin, the workmanship delicate. Additional holes in either side of the lower bevor suggest that originally this helmet had a different form of closure. The gorget- plates are nineteenth-century replacements.

    The entire surface has been etched overall with a small diaper ornament of a reticulated pattern containing rosettes, and fully gilded; on the brow of the visor is a linear composition of nude figures with trumpets and cornucopias.

    This reticulated pattern of ornament is characteristic of French armour of this date and resembles that upon the armours made for François II and Charles IX (Musée de l' Armée, Niox, Pls. XVIII, XIX, and XX); its contour is like that of a helmet in the Wartburg which belongs to an armour made for Henri II (see Mann, The Connoisseur, XCII (Dec., 1933), pp. 414-17). The three lames forming the original rear gorget-plates of this helmet are in the Museo Stibbert, Florence (1917-18 Cat., No. 2424; Boccia, 1975, No. 96). Helmets with the reinforce on the left side of the skull, such as was apparently originally fitted on No. A171, are Nos. G.85 and H.108 in the Musée de l' Armee, Paris.