AccessoriesOther AccessoriesUsed£ 1,500
Steel helmet with flat pointed brim, single sliding nasal bar secured in its riveted bracket with a winged screw, two-piece skull with branching side ridges forming an arrowhead shape, four-piece laminated tail with leather banding on the inside surface. Decorative riveting to the brim, chiselled hatching to the edges of the brim and tail.
The ‘three barred pott’ or ‘lobster-tailed pot’ helmet was an English design ultimately derived from the Ottoman Turkish ‘Çiçak’ of the late 16th century, which was a conical helmet with a wide horizontal brim, sliding nasal bar and chainmail neck guard. This developed into the European ‘Zischägge’, used widely in the Thirty Years War, which had a round skull and a laminated steel tail to guard the neck. The English pot was very close in form to the zischägge, with some key differences including a two-piece skull, raised comb, three-bar hinged face protector and solid rather than laminated tail. They were far less elegant than helmets of earlier eras, but offered excellent protection without the complex construction of full-face helmets, and were supposedly pistol-proof.
This example’s features make it likely to be a ‘Dutch Pot’ – meaning a lobster-tailed pot helmet made in Europe, typically the Netherlands or Germany, then imported to England during the Civil War period of 1642-51. The shape of the brim and the two-piece construction of the crown on this example are more English in style, while the single sliding nasal bar and laminated tail is more like the zischägge, showing European influence.
Both pots and zischägge were worn by pikemen and harquebusiers on both sides of the English Civil War: domestic production of arms and armour fell short of demand during this period and both Royalist and Parliamentarian forces made up the shortfall with imports. There was little standardization as a result and soldiers made do with whatever they could get: examples even exist of late medieval helmets that were modified to resemble pots and pressed into service once again. Popular depictions have wrongly tended to assign the pot solely to the Parliamentarian ‘Roundhead’ faction.
There appear to have been cheek pieces at one time (note that the rivets for them remain in place) but these have been lost. Some perishing to the leather pieces on the tail, which I think served more to cushion it against the wearer’s nape than to hold the pieces together (each being already riveted to the next in five places). The sliding bar functions well, the securing screw turning freely and holding it in place. The outer surface is clean with a dark patina: helmets of this period were typically not polished, instead being blackened, browned or painted to make them more weatherproof. The inner surface has a heavy patina and some rust.
There is a non-period mark of ‘H.33’ in white paint on the inner skull, this may be a collection number.
£1500 including UK postage - see the Blackthorn Antiques website for purchase, for details on postage elsewhere and for more antique arms not shown on Gunstar.
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