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Kettle hat: HEN.M.25-1933

Object information

Awaiting location update






Kettle hat. For field use, probably by the common soldier. Of one-piece construction with a medially-ridged, hemispherical crown, and a deep, down turned, integral brim projecting as a short point at the front. The edge of the brim has a plain, externally-flush, outward turn. The top of the brim is encircled by twelve holes for externally-flush lining-rivets of which four remain, lacking their internal heads.


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: 33.5 cm
Height: 24.2 cm
Weight: 1.155 kg
Width: 26.4 cm

Relative size of this object

26.4 cm24.2 cm33.5 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


15th century
Production date: circa AD 1440


The helmet has suffered extensive corrosion, resulting in heavy overall pitting and numerous perforations. The largest of the latter, namely at the apex, each side and the right rear of the crown, at the top and bottom right of the brim, and at the bottom left of the brim have been repaired with riveted and welded internal patches. The edge of the brim shows numerous cracks. A small section of the brim has been replaced towards the rear of the right side.

The type of kettle hat with a down turned brim projecting as a point at the front appears, from the evidence of an illumination of an address of the town Prato to Robert of Anjou preserved in the British Library, Royal Ms. E. Ix. fol. 21 (G.F. Laking, A Record of European Armour and Arms, Vol. II, London, 1920, fig. 414) to have been introduced in the 14th century. A fine example, excavated from the approach to the Grand Louvre, Paris, is identifiable as that of Charles VI of France in the Inventaire de l'Ecurie du Roi of 1411 (M. Fleury, 'La Résurrection du Casque Brise de Charles VI', Conaissance des Arts, No. 439, September 1988, pp. 150-5). This type of kettle hat is seen in 15th century illustrations from France, Flanders, South Germany and especially Spain (Claude Blair, European Armour, London, 1958, p.110) where it evolved into the cabacete (J. G. Mann, 'Note on Armour worn in Spain from the Tenth to the Fifteenth Century', Archaeologia, Vol. LXXXIII, 1933, p. 296, pls. LXXXIII & LXXXVIII). All these examples, however, have pointed, almond-shaped skulls, whereas the present helmet has a rounded skull with a slight medial ridge characteristic of the period of about 1440. Despite its unusual skull form, its light-weight and relatively poor quality, the present helmet appears to be authentic. In condition, it is reminiscent of pieces derived from the armoury of the Knights of St. John at Rhodes, much of which came into the hands of the 19th century Parisian dealer Louis Bachereau, and was subsequently widely dispersed on the market.

Western European

Components of the work


Materials used in production


Techniques used in production

Hammered : Of one-piece construction with a medially-ridged, hemispherical crown, and a deep, down-turned, integral brim projecting as a short point at the front; hammered, shaped, riveted

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: HEN.M.25-1933
Primary reference Number: 18267
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Wednesday 11 January 2023 Last processed: Wednesday 11 January 2023

Associated departments & institutions

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

Citation for print

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2023) "Kettle hat" Web page available at: Accessed: 2023-06-02 20:58:41

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