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Comb morion: HEN.M.29-1933

Object information




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 thirteen round-headed lining-rivets of brass-capped iron, except in the case of the front three which are later replacements and of solid brass. All of the rivets, except for the three replacements and that at the centre rear are fitted with octagonal or circular internal washers. Six of the lining-rivets are fitted with external, brass, rosette washers. The central lining-rivet and the lining-rivet immediately behind it at each side also served originally to attach a missing cheek-piece. A pair of rivet-holes pierced at the nape, just above the level of the lining-rivets, served to attach a missing plume-holder.
The entire surface of the helmet is decorated with etched ornament on a stippled and blackened ground. The ornament on each side of the comb consists of interlacing strapwork involving trophies and birds surrounding a central quatrefoil cartouche enclosing the bust of a classical warrior and further trophies and birds. The ornament on each side of the crown consists of seven bands of trophies separated by groups of five narrow bands of which the central one in each case is decorated with pairs of diagonal lines, and the others remain plain. 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: 36.5 cm
Height: 33.5 cm
Weight: 1.89 kg
Width: 23.8 cm

Relative size of this object

23.8 cm33.5 cm36.5 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


Late 16th Century
Production date: circa AD 1580


North Italian

The apex of the comb has been extensively repaired by welding and brazing. The left rear of the comb is pierced with a later hole. The left and front edges of the brim are cracked, and the rear edge of the brim is pierced with a later wiring-hole.

The helmet is bright with a medium to heavy patination overall.

People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Lining-rivets composed of iron (metal) brass (alloy) Rivet Caps composed of brass (alloy) Rosette Washers composed of brass (alloy) Borders Decoration Parts

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 recessed borders, file-roped and etched decoration on a blackened ground
Patinating Forming

Identification numbers

Accession number: HEN.M.29-1933
Primary reference Number: 18279
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Friday 13 January 2012 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) "Comb morion" Web page available at: Accessed: 2022-07-02 23:33:30

Citation for Wikipedia

To cite this record on Wikipedia you can use this code snippet:

{{cite web|url= |title=Comb morion |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2022-07-02 23:33:30|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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