The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Close-helmet
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Probably France
  • c. 1570
  • Iron or steel, copper alloy and gold, etched and gilt
  • Height: 29.7 cm
    Weight: 5.22 kg
  • A176
  • European Armoury III
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Close-helmet, apparently of the French style, the skull made in two parts joined along the ridge of the comb. The sides of the latter are nearly vertical, and pierced with a single, small hole in the centre below the roped cresting. There is a second hole pierced on top of the roping towards the back. There is a sunk border round the face-opening, the edge of which is roped. On the right side of the skull at the back is riveted a brass escutcheon-shaped plume-holder. At the base are six modern, brass-headed rivets for the lining band, and another six round the brow of the face-opening. On the right side of the skull are the marks of several cut-marks, such as might have been made by a sword blade.
    Visor, with a single slit for thsight, flanged to fit the upper bevor, the leading edge being roped. The keel on the forehead which fits the comb of the skull is roped to match the latter. On the right side is a turned lifting-peg. The pivots are fluted and fitted with rosette-shaped, gilt washers, probably modern. The upper bevor is notched on the right side for the lifting-peg of the visor; the upper edge is turned over and roped below the sight. There are no ventilation holes. On the right side is a brass eye for the hook on the lower bevor. The lower bevor has a sunk border roped at the edge round the face-opening, like the skull. There are five blind rivets for the lining band. The lower bevor is secured to the skull by a hook on either side; that for securing the upper bevor is missing. Two neck-plates, front and back, the lower plates have sunk borders, the edge being turned under and roped. Modern brass rivets for the lining.

    The helmet is quite plain except for the comb, which is etched with interlacing strapwork and foliage on a granulated ground, showing traces of gilding. In the centre, on either side, is an oval cartouche enclosing seated classical figures, probably representing the elements of Earth and Water. Where not roped the edges of all plates are bevelled, and those of the visor, lower bevor and neck-plates are cut to resemble a bracket in the centre.

    Although the skull is made in two pieces, this helmet is solidly constructed and of good form. It is undoubtedly a field piece made for use in combat.