27 March 2024

The Hallaton Helmet by Rajesh Gogna

Thanks to generous funding by Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society, we were able to commission silversmith Rajesh Gogna to recreate the Hallaton Helmet using 21st century techniques.

Rajesh Gogna is a Leicestershire-based silversmith and senior lecturer and practice-based researcher at De Montfort University. He is a leading figure in British contemporary silversmithing. Pin on Pinterest

A Computer aided-design model of the helmet was created. Once the basic shape was agreed, 3D versions of the designs were added onto the CAD model based on the reconstruction illustrations by Debbie Miles © Rajesh Gogna. Pin on Pinterest

The CAD model of the helmet was 3D printed in SLA resin. Rajesh then engraved, sanded and buffed the print by hand © Rajesh Gogna. Pin on Pinterest

A copper outer layer was formed on the resin model. Electroforming is a process which involves passing a direct current through an electrolyte containing salts of the metal being electroformed © Rajesh Gogna. Pin on Pinterest

The helmet was silver-plated on top of the copper. Before gilding was applied, Rajesh masked-off areas of the design that needed to remain silver. Once gilded, the blue masking liquid was removed to leave a shiny silver surface underneath © Rajesh Gogna. Pin on Pinterest

The finished replica shows how magnificent the original cavalry officer's helmet may have looked. Pin on Pinterest

Rajesh Gogna and his team first CAD modelled the helmet's shape with the help of 3D scans of the bowl. Working closely with the Leicestershire Museum Collections team, the various reconstruction drawings of the helmet's iconography produced by illustrator Debbie Miles were then modelled in 3D. The CAD model was 3D printed in SLA resin, electroformed, silver-plated and gilded. Rajesh hand finished at various stages including the brass elements like rivets and the pins which attach the cheekpieces to the helmet bowl. The interior of the helmet bowl and cheekpieces have been tarnished to give the impression of the helmet’s iron bowl onto which the intricate decoration was applied.

Using this contemporary approach to silversmithing, Rajesh was able to make two identical helmets – one for Harborough Museum, Market Harborough and Hallaton Museum. The Association for Roman Archaeology also made a contribution to Hallaton Museum’s replica. 

Harborough Museum’s replica is now on permanent display alongside the real helmet and previously un-displayed objects from the helmet pit from which the helmet was excavated at the Late Iron Age ritual site at Hallaton.

Leicestershire Archaeological and Historical Society very generously funded the two replica helmets made by Rajesh. Thank you!

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