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Jonathan Hopkins




PostPosted: Sat 02 May, 2015 10:45 am    Post subject: 19th Century Egyptian Khedive's Bodyguard Helmet         Reply with quote

Yesterday, while browsing a non-specialist antiques show, I came across a helmet I have never seen before. At first I thought it might be a theatrical piece, but thanks to Google and a smartphone I was able to do some quick research and I discovered that it is a European-made helmet for the Khedive's Bodyguard (Model 1844, I think). I snapped it up even though armor is not really my thing. It was the perfect combination of a nice low price and a fun research and conservation project. The condition is not great--it is rusty, and it is missing its leather liner, mail aventail, and chin straps. Right now it is soaking in Breakfree CLP, but I took some hasty photos to document how it looks before I get rid of the active rust. When I am done bringing the helmet back from the brink, I hope to have done a bit more research on the helmet type and will share my findings.











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Jonathan Hopkins




PostPosted: Sat 02 May, 2015 12:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here is what one of these helmets looks like when it is complete and in good condition:

(Uncredited photo from Pinterest)
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Gabriele Becattini





Joined: 21 Aug 2007

Posts: 710

PostPosted: Sun 03 May, 2015 3:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

http://www.ottoman-uniforms.com/crimean-war-t...t-tunisia/

more info, including some pics of the cuirass used by the Khedive's Bodyguard

nice and interesting find Jonathan.
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Randall Moffett




Location: Northern Utah
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PostPosted: Sun 03 May, 2015 5:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Interesting bit of history you have here. They played an interesting mix of copying European while trying to maintain tradition at that time.

RPM
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Eric S




Location: new orleans
Joined: 22 Nov 2009
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Posts: 793

PostPosted: Mon 04 May, 2015 10:57 am    Post subject: Re: 19th Century Egyptian Khedive's Bodyguard Helmet         Reply with quote

Jonathan Hopkins wrote:
Yesterday, while browsing a non-specialist antiques show, I came across a helmet I have never seen before. At first I thought it might be a theatrical piece, but thanks to Google and a smartphone I was able to do some quick research and I discovered that it is a European-made helmet for the Khedive's Bodyguard


Jonathan, I have read that the mail aventail was optional and not all of these helmets originally came with one.

You can see more images related to the Khedival period of Egypt on my pinterest site than anywere else in the world that I know of including other types of armor. That was a very interesting part of history than is fairly unknown in our time.

https://www.pinterest.com/worldantiques/the-khedives-of-egypt/
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Jonathan Hopkins




PostPosted: Mon 04 May, 2015 1:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you, Eric!
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Sa'ar Nudel




Location: Haifa, Israel
Joined: 02 Dec 2005
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PostPosted: Mon 04 May, 2015 2:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Randall Moffett wrote:
Interesting bit of history you have here. They played an interesting mix of copying European while trying to maintain tradition at that time.

RPM


Very interesting case, but it was the other way around, French made to Egyptian flavour.

Curator of Beit Ussishkin, regional nature & history museum, Upper Galilee.
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Randall Moffett




Location: Northern Utah
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PostPosted: Tue 05 May, 2015 5:46 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sa'ar... that is more or less what I was saying. This helmet shows the Egyptians attempts to keep local decoration and tradition while incorporating modern ones from Europe. Muhammad Ali was the gent who jump started this phase of Egyptian government and he had a whole program to get largely modern weapons and such to become a regional power. Sadly it put them indebt to Europe and came to haunt them for decades.

RPM
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Jonathan Hopkins




PostPosted: Tue 05 May, 2015 11:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you, everyone, for your input so far. So far I have coated it in Break Free CLP and allowed it to sit for a few hours, removed rust (mostly) with bronze wool and brass wire brush, and lightly polished it with Simichrome. Now it is once again coated in Break Free to try to penetrate the remaining rust. The helmet will never look like new, but it will have a nice old appearance (it is old, after all!) without any orange or brown rust. Here are a few quick phone pics after its second coat of Break Free.


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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
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PostPosted: Wed 06 May, 2015 6:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm sort of wishing for that dent in the back of the helmet to be a proof mark, though of course in reality that's highly unlikely.
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Jonathan Hopkins




PostPosted: Wed 06 May, 2015 9:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lafayette C Curtis wrote:
I'm sort of wishing for that dent in the back of the helmet to be a proof mark, though of course in reality that's highly unlikely.


I am not sure when the practice of proofing armour was discontinued, but I agree that the dent is probably not such a mark. Looking at the few other examples online I don't see any evidence for proof marks. Information on these is pretty thin on the ground, but Eric's Pinterest page has been very valuable. Some sites believe that these helmets were made by Henry Wilkinson, while others state that the helmets and cuirasses of the Khedive's Guard (which were cuirassier regiments) were made in France. I am inclined to believe that the latter is true since Egyptian uniforms, swords, and armour of the time was very French in style. I cannot find any maker's marks of anywhere on or in the helmet.
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Jonathan Hopkins




PostPosted: Thu 07 May, 2015 8:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I am thinking about making, or having made for me, the missing pieces--brass mail aventail, leather liner, and chin straps. Here is the helmet thus far...















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Eric S




Location: new orleans
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PostPosted: Thu 07 May, 2015 11:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jonathan Hopkins wrote:
I am thinking about making, or having made for me, the missing pieces--brass mail aventail, leather liner, and chin straps. Here is the helmet thus far...



Looking good, great pictures of your progress.

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Jonathan Hopkins




PostPosted: Fri 08 May, 2015 12:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Eric,
Here is another image of Egyptian cavalry including the cuirassiers:

https://repository.library.brown.edu/studio/item/bdr:247578/

Jonathan
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Jonathan Hopkins




PostPosted: Fri 08 May, 2015 12:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

And two more showing other Egyptian soldiers:

https://repository.library.brown.edu/studio/item/bdr:247581/

https://repository.library.brown.edu/studio/item/bdr:248852/
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Eric S




Location: new orleans
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PostPosted: Sat 09 May, 2015 11:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jonathan Hopkins wrote:
Eric,
Here is another image of Egyptian cavalry including the cuirassiers:

https://repository.library.brown.edu/studio/item/bdr:247578/

Jonathan


Jonathanm what a great find, I have been looking for a photograph of Egyptian armor being worn b y the forces of the Khedive but this print and a couple of others are all there is for now, thanks for posting it.



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Jonathan Hopkins




PostPosted: Sat 09 May, 2015 8:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Eric,
Unfortunately the website for the Abdeen Palace Museum is no longer working, so I am not sure how to contact the museum about their arms and armor collection. I emailed the website admin for the Supreme Council of Antiquities to see if he might be able to help me establish contact. It would be great to speak with someone who has direct access to the objects that might answer our questions rather than have to guess or wonder about things. In addition to their collections of arms and armor they must have some photos of Egyptian cuirassiers. I cannot imagine the khedives did not want to document the pageantry of their personal guards. I will keep you posted.

Jonathan
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Eric S




Location: new orleans
Joined: 22 Nov 2009
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PostPosted: Sat 09 May, 2015 10:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jonathan Hopkins wrote:
Eric,
Unfortunately the website for the Abdeen Palace Museum is no longer working, so I am not sure how to contact the museum about their arms and armor collection. I emailed the website admin for the Supreme Council of Antiquities to see if he might be able to help me establish contact. It would be great to speak with someone who has direct access to the objects that might answer our questions rather than have to guess or wonder about things. In addition to their collections of arms and armor they must have some photos of Egyptian cuirassiers. I cannot imagine the khedives did not want to document the pageantry of their personal guards. I will keep you posted.

Jonathan
Jonathan, a good thought but do not count of anyone associated with a museum to have any more knowledge about the objects that they are holding hostage than we might know, its possible though, I hope you get some reply.
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Jonathan Hopkins




PostPosted: Sat 09 May, 2015 10:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Oh, I don't think they will know a lot, but they might be able to share some additional images which could be of tremendous help!
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Eric S




Location: new orleans
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PostPosted: Sat 09 May, 2015 10:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jonathan Hopkins wrote:
Lafayette C Curtis wrote:
I'm sort of wishing for that dent in the back of the helmet to be a proof mark, though of course in reality that's highly unlikely.


I am not sure when the practice of proofing armour was discontinued, but I agree that the dent is probably not such a mark. Looking at the few other examples online I don't see any evidence for proof marks. Information on these is pretty thin on the ground, but Eric's Pinterest page has been very valuable. Some sites believe that these helmets were made by Henry Wilkinson, while others state that the helmets and cuirasses of the Khedive's Guard (which were cuirassier regiments) were made in France. I am inclined to believe that the latter is true since Egyptian uniforms, swords, and armour of the time was very French in style. I cannot find any maker's marks of anywhere on or in the helmet.


Here is another Khedival steel helmet, supposedly made in Birmingham England, these have a split link camail. These are sometimes called "Sudanese helmets" due to the fact that some of the Sudanese forces fighting against the Khedival forces during the late 1800s wore captured helmets of this type.

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