Object Title

Great bacinet skull

Great bacinet skull



Object Number



Purchased at Sotheby's, 5 July 1965, lot 98. Previously in the collection of Louis R. Bachereau of Paris. Believed to have been found in central France.

Physical Description

Of fine form with medial ridge and shaped to a rounded point at the apex. The long back spreads outwards at the bottom, the lower edge being considerably damaged. There is a row of small holes for lining-strap rivets over the brow and a second row, of larger size, low down at the back. The pivots and hinges for the vizor are preserved. Three small strips of metal attached by rivets to the front edges, two on the left side and one on the right, may be the remains of a frontal plate or bevor. The helmet is in excavated condition and the surface is very corroded.



Great bacinetDepth325 mm
Great bacinetWeight2500 g
Great bacinetWidth250 mm
Great bacinetHeight280 mm

Inscriptions and Marks

None visible


Places Italy

Bibliographic References

C. Paggiarino, The Royal Armouries, masterpieces of medieval and renaissance arms and armour, Milan, 2011, volume 1


Worn from c.1400, the great bascinet incorporated a wide bevor or gorget plate (missing on IV.3) designed to protect the chin and throat. In addition, the rear of the skull of the bascinet was extended downwards and overlapped the top of the backplate. This design was enormously successful and remained in use on the battlefield until the middle of the century; afterwhich it was adapted for the tournament.

Two very similar skull-pieces are in Norwich Caastle Museum and the British Museum (OA.2190) respectively, whilst those in the Musee de l'Armee, Paris (Inv. No. G.PO.637) and the Musee de Beaux-Art, Dijon (from the tomb of Jean Salins de Vincelles) retain their original globose visors.