Constructed of two sturdy plates of steel capable of withstanding the blow of an opponent's blunted lance, this front half of a helm for the joust was originally secured by pivots to the rear half (now missing) of lighter metal. The helm was bolted to the jouster's cuirass, thus rendering the head and torso rigid. The large ventilation opening on the right side is protected by a thick flange. Similar helms are recorded in English churches; this one is reputed to have come from Battle Abbey, Sussex. Traces of an armorer's mark, apparently an M surmounted by a crescent, which is thought to be that of Guillem Margot (active in Brussels, recorded 1505–20), are evident on the left side (only the tips of the crescent are discernible). The same mark appears on other armor parts in the Metropolitan Museum's collection, acc. nos. 14.25.572, 29.158.1h, 29.158.38, and 29.158.52.
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Front plate of a tournament helmet
Detail of maker's mark
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Title:Front Half of a Tournament Helm
Dimensions:H. 15 1/2 in. (39.4 cm); W. 10 in. (25.4 cm); D. 8 1/4 in. (21 cm); Wt. 9 lb. 11.2 oz. (4399.8 g)
Credit Line:Gift of William H. Riggs, 1913
Marking: Stamped on the left side: the tips of a crescent (probably traces of an M surmounted by a crescent, thought to be that of Guillem Margot, active in Brussels, recorded 1505–20).
Said to have come from the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin, Battle Abbey, Battle, Sussex, EnglandAlbert Denison, 1st Lord Londesborough, Tadcaster, Yorkshire, England (until d. 1860; by descent to his son, the 1st Earl of Londesborough); William Henry Forester Denison, 1st Earl of Londesborough, Tadcaster, Yorkshire, England (1860–88; Armour and Arms…of the Right Hon. Earl of Londesborough, Christie, Manson & Woods, London, July 4–6, 9–11, 1888, no. 430, sold, for £72, to Riggs); William H. Riggs, Paris (1888–1913; his gift to MMA).
London. Alexandra Palace. "Londesborough Collection of Arms and Armour," 1875.
Houston. University of St. Thomas. "Persona Grata: An Exhibition of Masks from 1200 B.C. to the Present," November 3–December 11, 1960, no. 157.
West Point Museum, United States Military Academy. "long term loan," September 1973–January 1989.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "European Helmets 1450–1650: Treasures from the Reserve Collection," January 25, 2000–December 30, 2001, no. 19.
Chaffers, William. Catalogue of the Londesborough Collection of Arms and Armour: with a Descriptive Account of the Antiquities and Works of Art, the Property of Lord Londesborough. London: Harrison and Sons, 1875. p. 38, no. 1000.
Laking, Guy Francis, and Charles Alexander Cosson. A Record of European Armour and Arms Through Seven Centuries, edited by Francis Henry Cripps-Day. Vol. II. London: G. Bell and Sons, 1920. p. 114, fig. 458.
Jones Hall Fine Arts Gallery. Persona Grata: an Exhibition of Masks from 1200 B.C. to the Present. Houston: Jones Hall Fine Arts Gallery, 1960. cat. no. 157.
Laking, Guy Francis, Charles Alexander Cosson, Francis Henry Cripps-Day, and Claude Blair. A Record of European Armour and Arms Through Seven Centuries. Vol. II. Cambridge: Ken Trotman Ltd., 2000. p. 114, fig. 458.
Pyhrr, Stuart W. European Helmets, 1450–1650: Treasures from the Reserve Collection. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Jan 25, 2000 - Dec 30, 2000. pp. 16, 47, no. 19, ill.
Terjanian, Pierre. "The King and the Armourers of Flanders." In Henry VIII: Arms and the Man, 1509–2009, edited by Graeme Rimer, Thom Richardson, and J. P. D. Cooper. Leeds: Royal Armouries, 2009. pp. 155–159, 336.
Christie, Manson & Woods. Collection of Armour and Arms, Carvings in Ivory. London: Christie, Manson & Woods, July 4–6 and July 9–11, 1888. p. 37, lot 430.
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