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Spanish morion: HEN.M.39-1933

Object information

Awaiting location update






'Spanish' morion, for infantry use, with etched and gilt decoration on a blackened ground. Formed in one piece with an almond-shaped crown that curves down at each side and rises to a short, backward-directed 'stalk' at its apex; 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 skull was originally encircled by fourteen brass-capped, round-headed rivets with circular, internal washers. One of these rivets is now missing from the left side, and two from the right side. The central rivet on the left side retains a fragment of a leather strap for attaching a missing cheek-piece. Attached at the nape by a pair of brass-capped, round-headed rivets is a modern brass plume-holder with seven radiating arms, of which the top two and the bottom ones have outward-scrolled ends decorated with filed lines. The brass cap of the right retaining-rivet is missing.
The crown of the helmet is decorated on each side with a central urn surrounded by classical figures, herms, exotic birds, and human and animal-headed scrolls in the mannerist fashion, all etched and gilt on a blackened ground. It is further decorated at its apex with stylised acanthus foliage, along its medial ridge with a pair of narrow bands, and around its base with a single narrow band, all etched and gilt. The brim of the helmet is decorated with trophies and dolphins involving cartouches enclosing masks and winged cherubs' heads, all etched and gilt.


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: 36.4 cm
Height: 28.3 cm
Weight: 1.33 kg
Width: 24.3 cm

Relative size of this object

24.3 cm28.3 cm36.4 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, probably Brescian

The helmet shows small patches of light pitting. The gilding of the etched decoration shows extensive wear, particularly on the right side. The blackened ground also shows some wear and has acquired a russet colour in some patches.

People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Strap composed of leather ( fragment)
Plume-holder composed of brass (alloy) ( modern)
Decoration composed of gilt
Rivet Caps composed of brass (alloy)

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production

Hammered : Formed in one piece with an almond-shaped crown that curves down at each side and rises to a short, backward-directed 'stalk' at its apex; 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-roping, etched and gilded decoration, and recessed borders on blackened ground

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: HEN.M.39-1933
Primary reference Number: 18299
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

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

The Fitzwilliam Museum (2023) "Spanish morion" Web page available at: Accessed: 2023-06-01 10:22:30

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{{cite web|url= |title=Spanish morion |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2023-06-01 10:22:30|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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