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Close helmet: HEN.M.14A-1933

Object information

Current Location: Gallery 31 (Armoury)

Maker(s)

Probably Unknown

Description

Close helmet, for heavy cavalry use, composed of elements of a similar period and fashion. Formed of a two-piece skull with a visor, upper bevor and bevor attached to it by common pivots. The skull is constructed in two halves joined along the crest of a high medial comb by a turn to the right, and at the brow and integral neck-defence by riveted overlaps. The short overlap at the brow is secured by a single externally-flush rivet, and the longer overlap at the neck-defence by a pair of such rivets. The crest of the comb is decorated with file-roping. The front edge of the skull is cut away to form an arched face-opening with a low central cusp at the centre of the brow. The bevelled upper edge of the face-opening is decorated with file-roping accompanied by a border formed by a pair of incised lines that converge at each side. The face-opening is bordered by ten externally-flush lining-rivets. The metal at the lower right end of the face-opening has delaminated and is now held together by a further externally-flush rivet. The rear of the skull extends downwards over the nape where it is flanged outwards to form an integral neck-defence that is restored at its left corner with a large riveted and welded internal patch. The convex lower edge of the neck defence has a file-roped edge bordered by a single incised line and a series of eight modern brass-capped, round-headed rivets with circular or octagonal internal washers that retain a modern buff-leather lining-band. Attached at the right side of the neck by a modern brass-capped, round-headed rivet with an octagonal, internal washer is a long iron swivel-hook that engages a pierced stud riveted at the rear edge of the bevor. Each side of the skull is pierced with a hole to receive the pivots that attach the visor, upper bevor and bevor. The replaced pivots take the form of large screws with slotted, low-domed heads decorated with deeply-filed radiating lines. The heads are cut with notches at each end of their respective slots. The pivots are secured internally by crude rectangular bars with threaded bosses at their centres. The bars are pierced at either end with rivet-holes. The visor has a strongly sloping brow which is shaped and roped to fit over and serve as a continuation of the front end of the comb of the skull, projecting down between the pair of vision-slits. The upper edge of the visor is decorated with a pair of V-shaped nicks to either side of the base of the comb. The visor projects forward slightly beneath its vision-slits and is then angled inwards to nestle within the upper bevor. The edge of the angle is decorated with file-roping. A hole pierced midway along the inward-angled section of the right side of the visor represents the attachment-point of a missing lifting-peg. The visor is repaired with a riveted internal patch at its right terminal. The slightly prow-shaped upper bevor is similarly repaired with a riveted internal patch at its right terminal, and with a brazed external patch at its left terminal. The upper edge of the upper bevor has a file-roped outward turn. It is cut towards its front end with a trapezoidal notch to accommodate the missing lifting-peg of the visor. Riveted at the right side of the upper bevor, towards the front of its lower edge, is a modern pierced, circular stud that is engaged by a swivel-hook riveted at the right of the bevor. The medially-ridged bevor is strongly shaped to the point of the chin. It is cut away at the front to form a broad, U-shaped face-opening. The edge of the face-opening has a plain, outward turn accompanied by a shallow, recessed border occupied by five externally-flush lining-rivets. The lower edge of the bevor extends downwards over the neck where it is flanged outwards to form an integral neck-defence. The strongly convex lower edge of the neck-defence has a file-roped inward turn accompanied by a shallow recessed border occupied by seven modern brass-capped, round-headed rivets with circular internal washers that retain a modern buff-leather lining-band. The centre of the lower edge of the neck-defence is repaired with a riveted internal patch. Attached by a round-headed rivet at the right of the chin of the bevor is an iron swivel-hook that engages the pierced stud riveted at the lower edge of the upper bevor. Riveted at the right of the neck of the bevor is a similar pierced stud that receives the swivel-hook riveted at the right of the neck of the skull. The edges of the helmet show cracks at many points. Part of the composite armour HEN.M.14A-L-1933.

Notes

History note: Mr James Stewart Henderson of 'Abbotsford', Downs Road, St Helen's Park, Hastings, Sussex.

Legal notes

J.S. Henderson Bequest

Measurements and weight

Depth: 34.5 cm
Height: 31.5 cm
Weight: 5.25 kg
Width: 24 cm

Relative size of this object

24 cm31.5 cm34.5 cm What does this represent?

Relative size of this object is displayed using code inspired by Good Form and Spectacle's work on the British Museum's Waddeson Bequest website and their dimension drawer. They chose a tennis ball to represent a universally sized object, from which you could envisage the size of an object.

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1933-03-16) by Henderson, James Stewart

Dating

Late 16th Century
Circa 1590 - 1600

Note

Difference in the widths of their neck-defences and in the character of their roped turns and borders indicate that the skull and the bevor were not originally made for one another. The former has had to be bent in at each side of the neck to receive the latter. The fit of the visor over the front of the comb of the skull is poor, indicating that it too is associated with the skull. The visor and upper bevor are of poorer workmanship than the skull and bevor, and have almost certainly been cut and reworked to fit them.

The helmet is bright with a light to medium patination overall, and there are some patches of heavier pitting, especially at the rear of the skull.

Components of the work

Rivet Caps composed of brass (alloy) ( modern) Lining-band composed of leather ( modern) Swivel-hook composed of iron (metal) Bevor Border Decoration Face-opening Parts

Materials used in production

Steel

Techniques used in production

Hammering : Formed of a two-piece skull with a visor, upper bevor and medially-ridged bevor attached to it by common pivots; hammered, shaped, riveted, decorated with file-roping, bevelling, recessed borders and incised lines
Patinating Forming

Identification numbers

Accession number: HEN.M.14A-1933
Primary reference Number: 17895
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Monday 30 November 2020 Last processed: Sunday 21 March 2021

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

Citation for print

This record can be cited in the Harvard Bibliographic style using the text below:

The Fitzwilliam Museum (2022) "Close helmet" Web page available at: https://data.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/id/object/17895 Accessed: 2022-08-15 14:42:23

Citation for Wikipedia

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{{cite web|url=https://data.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/id/object/17895 |title=Close helmet |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2022-08-15 14:42:23|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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