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helmet

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    1881,0802.40

  • Description

    Spider helmet. The central skull is oval, formed of a top-plate brazed to a front and rear side-plate. The exterior is painted black. To this is riveted a steel brim and lattice-like framework surmounted by a domed oval dish attached by split pins. At the front is a broad, flat peak. At the lower end of each vertical band in the lattice is hinged a steel extension which can be clipped up to the domed dish at the top, or lowered to protect the face. The extension at the rear is wider than the others, embossed with a rounded, medial ridge and curved outwards. Around the base of the peak and the brow-band is a series of lining holes to which a quilted lining , probably 19th Century, is sewn. At either side is a pair of staples, presumably for chin-straps. The whole lattice is bright steel.

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  • Materials

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 15.8 centimetres (Of skull)
    • Width: 21.5 centimetres
    • Depth: 31 centimetres
    • Height: 34 centimetres (Fully extended)
    • Weight: 1590 grammes
  • Curator's comments

    It is possible that this series of 'spider' helmets was based on genuine secrets of the late 17th or early 18th Century, augmented with the spider superstructure, in the 19th Century. However, this series of helmets is very imperfectly understood. The lining on this one is modern.
    Comment by T. Richardson, Royal Armouries (February 2008)For further Burges' sketchbook of helmets, which closely relates to Burges' and De Cosson's exhibition of helmets and mail in London in 1880 (the catalogue published as 'Ancient Helmets and Examples of Mail', 1881), see Donald J. LaRocca, 'A William Burgess Sketchbook of Helmets, ca. 1880, Bashford Dean and G.F. Lawrence, and Renaissance Leatherwork from London', Journal of the Arms & Armour Society xix.5 (March 2009), pp. 197-207.

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  • Exhibition history

    Exhibited:

    1976-Jun 1995, London, Tower of London, Royal Armouries, Arms and Armour display, LT loan

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1881

  • Department

    Britain, Europe and Prehistory

  • Registration number

    1881,0802.40

  • Additional IDs

    • AL116/23 (Royal Armouries Number)

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Object reference number: MCN3570

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