A Burgonet Helmet for wear with a Foot or Light Cavalry Armour, c. 1540-50

4088 1
4088 2
4088 3
4088 4

Item ref: 4088

  • Germany
  • 21.5 cm / 8.5 in × 20.25 cm / 8 in
  • 21.5 cm / 8.5 in × 20.25 cm / 8 in


Collection Jeanne et Robert-Jean Charles, Armes et Souvenirs Historiques, part 3, Paris-Hôtel Drouot, 9th December 1993, lot 555.

Helmets of this type evolved from the casque, an open and generally light helmet worn in during the late 15th century and the preceding decades of the 16th century. In the present burgonet we see that the crown of the still-rounded bowl has now heightened in comparison to the earlier type and the brow is drawn-out to form the slightly up-turned pointed peak, a feature common to almost all burgonets produced throughout the successive half of the 16th century. A further development is the addition of a pair of hinged plates over the ears, the arched cut-outs previously having been almost always left open and undefended.

The present burgonet is distinguished in particular by the rare addition of a pair of very low, boldly cabled subsidiary combs or crests running along both flanks of the medial comb. The latter matches the subsidiary combs and is conventional, but remains a shorter proto-form, not yet fully developed to run over almost the entire length of the bowl, but running instead from a point above the brow to a point well-above the nape. A helmet skull with five raised combs is highly unusual; the forging would require additional skill and come at corresponding expense. The present helmet was perhaps intended for wear by a member of an elite body of guards.