This is an excellent example of a French heavy cavalry helmet of the mid-sixteenth century. Its elaborate decoration includes the monogram of Claude Gouffier (1501–1570), Master of the Horse (Grand Écuyer) for Henry II and Charles IX. This monogram is also on a knee piece from the armor of Gouffier's in the Metropolitan Museum's collection (acc. no. 1994.390).
Inscription: Inscribed around the ocularium and gorget: SPES MEA DAT VIRES NON TIMEBO QUONIAM (because hope gives me strength I do not fear).
Ex. coll.: Le Sueur (Paris, 1840, Lot 1250); Sommesson (Paris, 1848, Lot 216); anonymous (Paris, April 14–15, 1864, Lot 111); Basilewsky (Paris, 1869. The helmet does not seem to be included in sale catalogue); William H. Riggs.
Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. "The Triumph of Humanism: A Visual Survey of the Decorative Arts of the Renaissance," October 22, 1977–January 8, 1978.
Ecouen, France. Musée National de la Renaissance. "Les Trésors du Grand Ecuyer; Claude Gouffier, collectionneur et mécène a la Renaissance," November 16, 1994–February 27, 1995.
Thoumas, Charles-Antoine. Exposition Rétrospective Militaire Du Ministère De La Guerre En 1889. Vol. I. Paris: H. Launette et Cie., G. Boudet successeur, 1890. p. 37, ill.
Dean, Bashford. Handbook of Arms and Armor: European and Oriental, Including the William H. Riggs Collection, the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: Gilliss Press, January 1915. p. 71, pl. 33, middle right.
Dean, Bashford, and Robert T. Nichol. Handbook of Arms and Armor: European and Oriental, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, edited by Stephen V. Grancsay. 4th ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, October 1930. p. 133, fig. 86.