Object Title





Object Number



Purchased from the National Magazine Co. (William Randolph Hearst Collection) October 1952, with the help of the Pilgrim Trust, the National Art Collections Fund and a special Exchequer Grant. one of 52 items purchased together. Formerly in the Konsul A D Hans C. Leiden Collection

Physical Description

It has a tall, pear shaped skull with a stout rearward curved stalk at the apex. The downward-sloping brim is set with a row of lining-strap rivets. A further row of rivets is found around the base of the skull.



HelmetDepth330 mm
HelmetHeight280 mm
HelmetWeight2240 g
HelmetWidth256 mm

Inscriptions and Marks

Maker's mark
A partially obliterated crown mark.
Towards the rear of the brim


Bibliographic References

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


This particular design of capacete or kettle hat became popular in Spain during the late 15th century and would later evolve into the cabasset. These helmets were often worn with bevors; some of which could be quite deep and therefore incorporated a horizontal sight in the uppermost lame. Some,were embellished with decorative gilt copper-alloy bands which featured inscriptions and/or foliate decoration, whilst others as with this example were plain. These include: Madrid no. C.6 (Valencia 1903: 128), Kienbusch no. 52 (1963: 55, formerly Keasby, sold American Art Galleries 21-2 November 1925 lot 147), one in the R T Gwynn collection (Hayward 1954: 34-44, formerly Captain Bell, Vienna, Farnham-Burke, Christies 5 May 1931 lot 49, Hearst) and others in the Musée de l'Armée from the Pauilhac collection (Mann 1932: pl. 88 nos 2, 4, 6). Some of this group have tall, curved stalks, for example IV.500, one from the Peterson collection (sold Christies 5 July 1978 lot 186), and Musée de l'Armée no. H.27a.

The crown mark is not known to be Spanish but rather points to either an Italian or Flemish workshop producing armours in the Spanish style. Despite armour workshops being present in Burgos, Seville, Calatayud and Castejon de las Armas, from the 15th century Spanish nobility looked to Italy to provide them with armours. The analysis of the late 15th century armour of King Ferdinand in Vienna (A.5), for example, exhibits a microstructure typical of Italian workshops. Whilst communties of Italian armourers did settle throughout Europe, there is no evidence for their long-term presence in Spain.


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