Bequest of Sir Archibald Lyle, 1946, in memory of his sons Captain I A de H Lyle, Black Watch, killed at el Alamein, November 1942, and Major R A Lyle, Scottish Horse, killed at Normandy, June 1944. From the Armoury of Schloss Churburg; acquired by 1924 by the Mackay collection via the London dealer Harding ; sold Christie's 27 July 1939.
The skull of the helmet is of steel, forged from a single piece. It is fitted with brass borders decorated with a 'wriggled' cable pattern. The visor is also forged from a single piece of steel, and is attached to the skull by pivots at either side. The arms of the visor are joined to their terminals by removable pins, so the visor can easily be detached from the helmet. The aventail is formed entirely of riveted iron links with a double row of brass links at the lower edge, and has a leather band at the upper edge which fits over the brass vervelles which border the helmet. The leather band of the aventail has a series of punched holes which fit over the vervelles, and each of these is drilled with a hole for a string which passes though them, holding the aventail on but allowing it to be removed easily for cleaning. It is certainly contemporary with the helmet, and may well have been made for it. Lyle basinet.
C. Paggiarino, The Royal Armouries, masterpieces of medieval and renaissance arms and armour, Milan, 2011, volume 1
Claude Blair, European Armour, B.T. Batsford Ltd., London, 1958, p.69, 194-5.
A.R. Dufty and W. Reid, European Armour in the Tower of London, 1968, plate LXXII.
M Scalini 1996 L'armeria Trapp di Castel Coira. Udine, Magnus: 44-6
Dorling Kindersley, Weapon. A visual history of arms & armour, Dorling Kindersley Ltd, London, 2006, p. 86-7
The helmet comes from the armoury of Churburg at Schluderns in the Italian Tirol (called Castel Coira in Italian), which contains the most important medieval armoury still in private hands, and is rich in examples of early plate armour. The Vogts von Matsch and their successors, the Trapp family have preserved all this armour there since the time of its use. The Lyle basinet is related to a group of 14th-century pieces there with decorated brass borders. Scalini has recently argued that there were three such armours at Churburg in the 14th century, and proposed an earlier date for them (1996: 44-6). He suggests that the harness of which the Lyle basinet formed a part was commissioned in 1366 by Ulrich IV von Matsch on the occasion of his marriage and inheritance of the title Count of Kirchburg. This dating is at odds with the traditional dating of the whole group to the later 14th century. Contemporary documents make it clear that plate armour in the 14th century was neither manufactured nor purchased in the form of complete harnesses, but as individual pieces or pairs of pieces which were worn together. Although the brass bordered series from Churburg clearly belong together, none of the decoration matches exactly from piece to piece, so it is difficult to be certain that any given group belonged together as a homogenous armour. The detail about the Harding/Mackay provenance courtesy of Stuart Pyhrr of the Metropolitan Museum, 2005.