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Close helmet: HEN.M.18A-1933

Object information

Awaiting location update


Production: Unknown




Close helmet, for use by a cuirassier. The close helmet is formed of a skull with a visor, upper bevor and bevor attached to it by common pivots, and a single gorget-plate front and rear. The rounded skull is made in two halves joined by a turn to the left along a low medial comb. Attached by a pair of rivets at the nape of the skull is a tapering plume-holder of D-shaped section with integral arms shaped at their terminals as fleurs-de-lis. The transverse holes pierced in the comb a short distance above the plume-holder probably served to tie up the plume. Attached at the right of the neck of the skull by a modern round-headed rivet with a square external washer is a fragment of a modern strap that may at some time have passed around the front of the bevor. Riveted at the left of the neck of the skull is a modern swivel-hook that engages a pierced stud riveted at the left of the neck of the bevor. It is more usual to find this feature at the right side of the helmet. The pivots that secure the visor, upper bevor and bevor to the skull take the form of large rivets with crude, low-domed heads and octagonal internal washers. The visor slopes forward strongly at the brow where it is embossed with a prominent medial rib that fits over and serves as a continuation of the comb of the skull. It has an angled step beneath its centrally-divided vision-slit. The left end of the vision-slit is repaired with a riveted internal patch. The lower edge of the visor is angled inwards to nestle within the upper bevor. Riveted at the right side of the inward-angled section is a modern lifting-peg of circular section. The visor and the skull show three deep sword cuts at the brow. The shallow, slightly prow-shaped upper bevor is pierced at each side of the face with nine large, circular ventilation-holes arranged in a rosette formation and linked by radiating incised lines. The right side of the upper bevor is cut with a small U-shaped notch at its upper edge to accommodate the lifting-peg of the visor, and fitted with a pierced stud at its lower edge to receive the swivel-hook riveted at the right of the bevor. The medially-ridged bevor is weakly shaped to the point of the chin and cut with a U-shaped face-opening. The lower edge of the skull and bevor are flanged outwards to receive, respectively, the front and rear gorget-plates. The rear gorget-plate has a rounded lower edge, while the deeper front one has an obtusely-pointed lower edge. The main edges of the helmet have plain inward turner bordered by pairs of incised lines. Pairs of incised lines also border the secondary edge of the helmet. Part of the composite three-quarter armour HEN.M.18A-F-1933.


History note: Probably in the Stafford Collection sold by Christies, London, 28-30 May 1885, Lot 74 for £29. Subsequently in the Amherst Collection, sold by Christies, London, 11 December 1908, Lot 56, 32 gns. Mr James Stewart Henderson of 'Abbotsford', Downs Road, St Helen's Park, Hastings, Sussex.

Legal notes

J.S. Henderson Bequest

Measurements and weight

Depth: 30.0 cm
Height: 33.5 cm
Weight: 2.22 kg
Width: 24.0 cm

Relative size of this object

24 cm33.5 cm30 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


17th Century
Circa 1620 CE - 1630 CE


The armour has a russet finish over a variably-pitted surface that may originally have been either bright or 'black from the hammer'.

Components of the work

Upper Bevor

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production

Hammering : The close helmet is formed of a skull with a visor, upper bevor and medially-ridged bevor attached to it by common pivots, and a single gorget-plate front and rear; hammered, shaped, riveted, with pierced, incised and embossed decoration

Identification numbers

Accession number: HEN.M.18A-1933
Primary reference Number: 18004
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Friday 8 January 2016 Last processed: Sunday 21 March 2021

Associated departments & institutions

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

Citation for print

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2022) "Close helmet" Web page available at: Accessed: 2022-11-30 07:20:04

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