Europe; United Kingdom; Great Britain; England; Leeds
Blunderbuss, Early 19th century
Walnut, steel, and flint
Overall: 42 1/16 in x 8 9/16 in x 2 1/2 in; 106.8 cm x 21.7 cm x 6.4 cm
Joseph Allen Skinner Museum, Mount Holyoke College
MH SK L.B.1.6
The bowl, or skull covering, of this helmet is original. This portion, with its raised comb, was made by hammering out a single piece of steel, a very difficult job. The upper and lower visors were added later (copied from authentic pieces), using much lighter-weight metal. The helmet's lower edge was altered and has lost its original projecting rim that would have fit over the top of the gorget, or neckpiece. This rim would have allowed the head to turn freely without leaving the neck unprotected. The anatomy of the wearer is reflected in this beautifully constructed backplate, which was designed to allow free movement despite its weight. The linked, articulated plates resemble those of an armadillo or a lobster, and serve the same protective function. The restrained engraved lines and rivets are the only decorative elements applied to this piece.