The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Morion
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Italy
  • c. 1580
  • Iron or steel and gold, etched and gilt
  • Height: 26.7 cm
    Weight: 1.44 kg
  • A138
  • European Armoury II
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Morion of the 'Spanish' style, with a stalk on apex of the tall pear-shaped skull; brim curved and peaked front and rear; the lower edge turned under and roped; the whole made in one piece. Etched with segmental panels containing figures in Roman dress, among trophies gilt on a black, granulated ground. The panels are framed by bands etched with knotted scrollwork and cartouches enclosing images of Judith with the Head of Holofernes and (?) Victory; at the base a row of brass rivets with rosette-shaped washers for the lining strap; there are holes for a plume-holder at the back; it has been patched inside at the apex.

    This helmet comes from the same series as Wallace Collection inv. nos. A139-40. They each differ in details, but are of the same form and style of decoration. A138 has retained less of its gilding than the other two. All three have the same type of washers and plume-holders, and so have nos. A126 and A145. In the case of nos. A138-9, the brim is etched with acanthus leaves.

    The earliest datable armour decorated in this style is that of Emanuele Filiberto, Duke of Savoy, in the Armeria Reale, Turin (inv. no. B4) which he wears in his portrait by Giacomo Vighi, called l' Argento, painted about 1565 (Mazzini, 1982, Nos. 17, 17 a-b, and 16). The style continued until almost the end of the century (see Boccia & Coelho, 1967, Figs. 378 and 404, no. on pp. 459-60, 461 and 470). The Metropolitan Museum, New York, has a similar helmet (No.14.25.629).