Object Title

Print

Print

Date

1700-1799

Object Number

I.762

Provenance

From the Library of Sir James Gow Mann, Master of the Armouries 1939-1962. Part of a portfolio of miscellaneous prints of arms and armour, labelled: 'Purchased from Guntrip of Tonbridge,, Dec., 1951 - apparently ex-Baron de Cosson (with his handwriting on a print of a pistol).'

Notes

L. Jardine, 'Worldly Goods; a new history of the Renaissance', London, 1996, pp. 379-81:
This print is a copy of an anonymous Venetian woodcut on 3 sheets, dated 1532. It is related to the description by Marino Sanuto of a gold helmet/crown made in Venice for Suleiman the Magnificent in 1532, which consisted of a gold helmet 'surmounted by a plume in an elaborate crescent-shaped mount, at whose centre was an enormous turquoise surrounded by rubies, diamonds and pearls and emeralds (174 gems in all); its headband was studded with pointed diamonds; it had an ornately wrought neck-guard, and was secured with a buckled chin-strap. Four removable crowns encircled the helmet; each of the four crowns' twelve points was topped with an enormous pearl; in addition, the three larger crowns were each set with four diamonds, four rubies and four emeralds (the topmost, smaller crown was set with three diamonds, three rubies and two emeralds). ... valued by Sanuti at 144,400 ducats...'
The design is said to have been based on portrait medals after the antique. 'The neck-guard and chin-strap of the helmet closely imitated fifteenth century bronze medals of Alexander the Great, which were claimed to be based on antique prototypes. The superimposed crowns on a helmet base were taken from a medal of the seventh-century Byzantine emperor Heraclius I, originally made for the collection of the Duc de Berry and widely copied and circulated...' A connection is obviously also made with the Papal triple crown and the fact that a fourth crown had been added to indicate even greater power.