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Comb morion: HEN.M.28-1933

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Object information

Current Location: Gallery 31 (Armoury)






Comb morion, for infantry use, with etched decoration overall. Formed in one piece with a rounded crown that curves down at each side and rises to an exceptionally high, roped, medial comb; and an integral brim that is turned down at each side and curves up to a point at the front and rear. The edge of the brim has a file-roped inward turn accompanied by a narrow, recessed border. The base of the crown is encircled by fourteen round-headed lining-rivets with circular, internal washers, all of which are replaced. The central lining-rivet and the lining-rivet immediately behind it on each side retain fragments of the internal leathers that served to attach a missing cheek-piece. The rear two lining-rivets also serve to retain a modern brass plume-holder of South German style, decorated on its body with stamped arabesque scrollwork, and on its arms with stamped rosettes. Welded repairs are in evidence at the right side of the crown, just to the rear of the centre, and at the crest of the comb, at the front and just to the rear of its apex. The brim is pierced with a wiring-hole at the rear, and is cracked once at the left side, and four times at the right side.
The entire surface of the helmet is decorated with etched ornament on a stippled and blackened ground. The ornament on the comb and the crown consists of interlacing strapwork involving trophies of arms and, at the centre of each side of the crown, the bust of a classical warrior. The ornament on the brim consists of stylised acanthus foliage.


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: 36 cm
Height: 30.8 cm
Weight: 1.65 kg
Width: 23.2 cm

Acquisition and important dates

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


16th Century, Late
Production date: circa AD 1580


North Italian

The helmet is bright with a light patination overall. Its ornament shows some wear.

The superbly decorated morion was made for a wealthy and probably aristocratic owner who could afford the extra cost. The etched decoration consists of interlacing strapwork with trophies of arms and busts of classical warriors. The tube at the back was where a decorative plume would have been fitted.

People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Internal Leathers composed of leather ( fragments)
Plume-holder composed of brass (alloy) ( modern)

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production

Hammered : Formed in one piece with a rounded crown that curves down at each side and rises to an exceptionally high, roped, medial comb; and an integral brim that is turned down at each side and curves up to a point at the front and rear; hammered, shaped, riveted, with file-roped, stamped and etched decoration

Identification numbers

Accession number: HEN.M.28-1933
Primary reference Number: 18278
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Monday 19 April 2021 Last processed: Friday 8 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

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

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Comb morion" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-04-17 22:05:33

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