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Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Foot-Combat Helm of Sir Giles Capel (1485–1556)

ca. 1510
possibly British
H. 17 1/2 in. (44.4 cm); W. 11 1/4 in. (28.6 cm); D. 9 1/2 in. (24.1 cm); Wt. 13 lb. 8 oz. (6123 g)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1904
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 371
This helm, or “great bascinet,” for the tournament fought on foot, formerly hung above the tomb of Sir Giles Capel (1485–1556) in Rayne Church, Essex, as specified in his will that this, his “beste helmett,” and his sword be placed there. Sir Giles was part of the retinue of Henry VIII that challenged all comers during the tournaments held at the Field of Cloth of Gold, the famous summit meeting between England and France at Calais in 1520. Sir Giles may have worn this helm on that occasion. It is arguably the finest of its kind to survive from that period.
#4424. Foot Combat Helm of Sir Giles Capel
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Ex. coll.: Baron C. A. de Cosson; Baron Ressman; Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord; Duc de Dino, Paris.
London. The Royal Archaeological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland. "Exhibition of Helmets and Mail," June 3–June 16, 1880, no. 80.

London. New Gallery. "Exhibition of the Royal House of Tudor," 1890–April 6, 1890, no. 695.

London. H. M. Tower of London. "Exhibition of Armour Made in the Royal Workshops at Greenwich," May 22–September 29, 1951, no. 35 called Great Bascinet, c. 1511.

London. Victoria and Albert Museum. "Gothic: Art for England 1400–1547," October 9, 2003–January 18, 2004, no. 79.

Burges, W., and Charles A. de Cosson. Catalogue of the Exhibition of Ancient Helmets and Examples of Mail. London: The Royal Archaeological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, 1881. pp. 73–74, no. 80, pl. VI, fig 78.

de Cosson, Charles A., and British Archaeological Association. "The Capells of Rayne Hall, Essex; With Some Notes on Helmets Formerly in the Rayne Church." The Archaeological Journal 40 (1883). pp. 64–79, ill.

New Gallery. Exhibition of the Royal House of Tudor: The New Gallery, Regent Street. London: The Gallery, 1890. no. 695.

Cosson, Charles Alexander. Le Cabinet d'Armes de Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord, Duc de Dino. Paris: E. Rouveyre, 1901. pp. 27–28, no. B. 19, pl. 7.

Minet, William. "The Capells at Rayne, 1486–1622." Transactions of the Essex Archaeological Society 9 (1904). pp. 243–72.

Dean, Bashford, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Catalogue of European Arms and Armor. Metropolitan Museum of Art Handbook, Vol. 15. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1905. pp. 127–28, fig. 51-E.

The Viscount D. Dillon. "A Suit of Armor in the Tower of London." The Archaeological Journal 69 (1912). pp. 74–87, ill.

Laking, Guy Francis, Charles Alexander Cosson, and Francis Henry Cripps-Day. A Record of European Armour and Arms Through Seven Centuries. Vol. 2. London: G. Bell and Sons, 1920. pp. 155–56, fig. 492.

Hills, Alfred. "The Capell Helm and a Recently Discovered Sacring Bell." Transactions of the Essex Archaeological Society XXI (1937). pp. 209–17.

Mann, J. G. "Armour in Essex." Transactions of the Essex Archaeological Society XXII, part 2 (1939). p. 293, pl. X.

Tower of London Armouries. Exhibition of Armour Made in the Royal Workshops at Greenwich, 22nd May–29th September, 1951. London: H. M. Stationery Office, 1951. pp. 33–34, no. 35, pl. XXXIV(a).

Grancsay, Stephen V. "The New Galleries of European Arms and Armor." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 14, no. 9 (May 1956). p. 216, ill.

Nickel, Helmut. "English Armour in the Metropolitan Museum." The Connisseur 172, no. 693 (November 1969). p. 199, fig. 8.

Nickel, Helmut. Ullstein-Waffenbuch: Eine Kulturhistorische Waffenkunde. Mit Markenverzeichnis. Berlin: Ullstein, 1974. p. 86, ill.

Blair, Claude. "Sir Giles Capel's Funerary Instructions, 1556." Church Monuments Society Newsletter 2, no. 2 (Winter 1987). pp. 14–15.

Blair, Claude. "The Lullingstone Helm." The Antiquaries Journal 78 (1998). p. 303, n. 41 ("a bacinet for foot tournament").

Marks, Richard, and Paul Williamson, ed. Gothic: Art for England 1400–1547. London: V&A, 2003. p. 214, no. 79, ill.

La Rocca, Donald J. "A William Burges Sketchbook of Helmets, ca. 1880, Bashford Dean and G.F. Lawrence, and Renaissance Leatherwork from London." The Journal of the Arms and Armour Society XIX, no. 5 (March 2009). pp. 201–202, figs. 8, 10.

Pyhrr, Stuart W. "Of Arms and Men: Arms and Armor at the Metropolitan, 1912–2012." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 70, no. 1 (Summer 2012). p. 8, fig. 6.

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