Object Title

Horseman's helmet

Horseman's helmet

Date

1600-1650

Object Number

IV.512

Provenance

Purchased at auction, Wallis and Wallis, 6 December 1957, lot 609.

Physical Description

The helmet is formed of two pieces joined by rivets along the brim and along the medial line of the skull. The crown of the skull is broadly fluted with angular flutes which radiate from the apex where there is a hole for a missing finial. Beneath the flutes the skull is encircled with a prominent embossed rib. On the front of the helmet is a staple and screw for a missing adjustable nasal bar. The brim is broad and slopes downward with a wide countersunk border and plain inward turn. The base of the brim is encircled with embossed simulated rivets. The base of the skull is encircled with 14 lining rivets. An iron plume holder has been fitted to the rear of the skull with two rivets. Extending from the rear of the helmet is a neck guard formed of seven lames, five of which do not appear to be original to the helmet but have been riveted onto the two original lames. Each of the additional lames has cusped decoration to the longer edge and plain inward turns. In addition each lame is decorated with a single incised line and narrow countersunk border containing rivets which join the lames. The tail is also provided with three lines of rivets for the attachment of a lining. The surface is heavily patinated and the cheek-pieces are missing.

Materials

Dimensions

HelmetHeight222mm
HelmetLength380mm
HelmetWidth305mm
TailLength310mm
OverallWeight2.56kg
TailWidth243mm

Component parts

Associations

Places Poland
Sweden

Bibliographic References

A.R. Dufty and W. Reid, European Armour in the Tower of London, 1968, plate CIII.

Notes

Combining what is essentially a pikeman's helmet with a tail and provision for a nasal, these relatively basic helmets were first used in Poland by cavalrymen/hussars before being adopted and produced by the Swedes during the 17th century and issued to both their cavalry and infantry units. Similar helmets with long tails were developed in Graz, Austria, in the late 16th century as a protective measure against the weapons and fighting techniques of their Ottoman adversaries. Other examples of this helmet may be found in the Polish Army Museum, Warsaw and the Livrustkammaren, Stockholm.