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Home > Auctions > 23rd May 2023 > English Cuirassier Single Bar Burgonet

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LOT 0273

GBP (£) 4,000 - 6,000
EUR (€) 4,610 - 6,910
USD ($) 4,950 - 7,430

Sold for (Inc. bp): £4,680


CIRCA 1620 A.D.
13 1/2 in. (2.25 kg, 34.5 cm high).

Iron fronted with visor, nasal guard bar and front and back gorget plates, the lifting visor marked with parallel lines; the front and back plates secured with a single hook.

Acquired on the UK art market.
The Kusmirek Collection, UK.

Accompanied by an academic report by Dr Raffaele D'Amato.
This lot has been checked against the Interpol Database of stolen works of art and is accompanied by search certificate number no. 11766-203985.

Cf. Tincey, J., Soldiers of the English Civil War (2): Cavalry, London, 1990, pl.F; Pyhrr, S.W., European Helmets, 1450-1650, Treasures from the Reserve Collection, New York, 2000,, for similar Dutch closed Burgonet.

During the latter half of the 16th century, the heavy 'knightly' lance gradually fell out of use, possibly because of the widespread adoption of the infantry pike. Also, the lance required a great amount of practice to perfect its use, whilst proficiency in the use of firearms was considerably more easily acquired. The lancer or demi-lancer, when he had abandoned his lance, became the pistol-armed cuirassier or reiter. The adoption of the pistol as the primary weapon led to the development of the stately caracole tactic, where cuirassiers fired their pistols at the enemy, then retired to reload whilst their comrades advanced in turn to maintain firing. Following some initial successes, this tactic proved to be extremely ineffective, as infantry, with superior firearms and numbers, could easily outgun the cuirassiers. The change from cavalry being reliant on firearms, to shock-capable close combat cavalry, reliant mainly on the sword, was attributed to Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden in the 1620s and 1630s, but was actually already widely practiced throughout Europe since the invention of pistol-armed heavy cavalrymen in the late 16th century.