The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Cabasset
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Milan or Brescia, Italy
  • c. 1600
  • Very low-carbon steel, gold and silver, embossed and counterfeit-damascened
  • Height: 25.2 cm
    Weight: 1.38 kg
  • A144
  • European Armoury II
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Cabasset, having a tall, pear-shaped skull, with a stalk at its apex, lining rivets, the plume-holder missing; the apex has been damaged in front and repaired; narrow brim, pointed at both ends, the edge turned under, roped and bordered with holes for the lining, the whole made in one piece.
    The darkened surface is embossed in very low relief, with a large oval reserve on either side enclosing a representation of the Rape of Helen enriched with false-damascening or overlay in gold and silver, with a figure of Lucretia, and possibly Fortuna in an oval above. The remaining surface is decorated with interlacing strapwork filled with gold arabesques enclosing silver dots and flowers; at the back is a cartouche with a winged bust. There are four groups of buildings on the brim.

    Compare the workmanship of the Wallace Collection saddle A410, and a pair of small boy's gauntlets in the Royal Scottish Museum, Edinburgh (inv. no.1878.52.5 and A.V.B. Norman, 1972, No. 13, illus.). The scene on the side of A144 is The Rape of Helen from a series of engravings so far unidentified. A photograph of the engraving in question, no. 10 of the series, is in the photographic library of the Warburg Institute. It is inscribed on the reverse 'G. Jode'. The series is not identifiable in F. W. H. Hollstein, Dutch and Flemish etchings, etc., 1949.