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Spanish morion: HEN.M.40-1933

Object information

Awaiting location update


Unknown (Uncertain)




'Spanish' morion, for infantry use, with etched decoration. Formed in one piece with an almond-shaped skull 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 plain, inward turn accompanied by a narrow, recessed border. The base of the crown is encircled by eighteen modern, brass-capped lining-rivets with internal washers. Two of the rivets at the centre left, one at the centre right, and one at the centre rear, differ from the remainder in having larger heads than them and in being fitted with square, rather than circular, internal washers. The rivets at the rear also serve to attach a broad, elaborately-shaped, modern, brass plume-holder with simple punched ornament, while those at the sides also served to attach missing cheek-pieces.
The crown of the helmet is decorated overall with a pattern of interlacing strapwork involving trophies, fantastic animals, foliage, flowerheads and roundels on a blackened ground, and surrounding an oval cartouche at the front and the rear, and a rampant lion at each side. The lion holds a cross in its front paws and a ring in its left rear paw. That on the right side stands in front of a plumed close helmet, while that on the left stands in front of a falchion and shield. The cartouche at the front is decorated with the arms of a bend cotised charged with three estoiles, separating a further four estoiles. The cartouche at the front is decorated with a classical warrior. The brim of the helmet is decorated with stylised acanthus foliage alternating with ovals enclosing flowerheads.


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: 37.3 cm
Height: 29 cm
Weight: 1.5 kg
Width: 23.6 cm

Relative size of this object

23.6 cm29 cm37.3 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


It is not entirely certain that this helmet is authentic.

North Italian?

The helmet is bright with a light to medium patination overall. Its ornament shows some wear, particularly on the left of the crown.

People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Plume-holder composed of brass (alloy) ( modern)
Rivet Caps composed of brass (alloy)

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production

Hammered : Formed in one piece with an almond-shaped skull 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, etched decoration, and recessed borders on blackened ground, with a plume-holder with punched decoration

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: HEN.M.40-1933
Primary reference Number: 18302
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 11:16:48

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{{cite web|url= |title=Spanish morion |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2023-06-01 11:16:48|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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