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Burgonet: M.5-1942

Object information

Awaiting location update






Incomplete burgonet, for parade use, with embossed decoration. Formed of a one-piece skull with the remains of an integral peak. The hemispherical skull has a high, medial comb that extends from just above the brow to just above the nape, and is boldly roped along its crest. The apex of the comb has been crudely pierced with a later, transverse hole. The strongly downturned, integral peak is incomplete at its centre. The preserved outer ends of its front edge have roped inward turns. The lower front edge of the skull is cut out at each side to accommodate the missing cheek-pieces. The better preserved cut-out at the right side has a straight upper edge where the hinge of the cheek-piece was fitted. Attached within that edge by a pair of externally-flush rivets is the upper end of the right hinge. It is of plain, rectangular form with rounded corners. The lower edge of the skull extends down to the nape at the rear, where it is flanged outwards to receive a missing neck-defence. The flange is incomplete at its centre and left end. Its preserved right end is pierced with a rivet-hole for the attachment of the neck-defence. The skull is pierced with eight holes for lining-rivets around the brow, and six more around the nape. Those located immediately to the rear and front of the cut-outs for the cheek-pieces are broken out and vacant, with the exception of that located behind the right cut-out, which is occupied by a flat-headed rivet with a square internal washer. The remaining holes are occupied by round-headed rivets with square internal washers, except for the central two at the brow which are vacant. The washer of the right central rivet at the nape has been replaced by a larger one. Set just above and to the outside of this rivet is a slightly larger rivet that retains a small fragment of metal beneath its head. This is conceivably part of a later plume-holder.
The helmet is decorated overall with embossed ornament in high relief. The ornament consists of radiating lobes on the comb, and scrolling foliage on each side of the skull and peak, possibly involving a central unicorn.


History note: Mr Francis Henry Cripps-Day

Legal notes

Given by F.H. Cripps-Day

Measurements and weight

Depth: 29.2 cm
Height: 23 cm
Weight: 0.87 kg
Width: 18 cm

Relative size of this object

18 cm23 cm29.2 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: Given (1942-06-20) by Cripps-Day, Francis Henry


Mid-16th Century
Production date: circa AD 1550


The helmet is heavily pitted and has a russet colour overall. It is extensively damaged by corrosion at the rear end of the crest of its comb, around the cut-outs for the ear-openings, at the centre and left of the nape, and at the centre of its peak. It also shows several smaller rust-perforations.

Components of the work


Materials used in production


Techniques used in production

Hammered : Formed of a one-piece skull with the remains of an integral peak; hammered, shaped, riveted, with embossed decoration

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: M.5-1942
Primary reference Number: 18568
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) "Burgonet" Web page available at: Accessed: 2023-02-06 09:28:28

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{{cite web|url= |title=Burgonet |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2023-02-06 09:28:28|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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