Helmets are usually associated with the Military, and also with various professions, such as the Police. They are designed to protect the head, and sometimes the neck of the wearer from injury, are normally rigid, and offer protection from blows.
Nowadays, helmets of the sort worn by the Nisbet dolls shown here are only ever seen in a ceremonial capacity, with one exception, who is the British Policeman, or Bobby.
In this section, we will see how Nisbet dolls were dressed to represent these individuals
This splendid Corinthian helmet is worn by one of the rarest Nisbet dolls we know of - She is P/776 Britannia, the iconic figure who gave her name to the British Isles, and the Britons, its inhabitants. Viewed as the personification of Britain, Britannia was depicted as a warrior queen, armed with helmet, shield, and trident. (Britannia is the ancient name for Roman Britain, which encompassed Albion, (England), and Caledonia, (Scotland); in more recent times, it came to signify the four nations that make up the British Isles we know today - England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland)
The pictures above show some of the splendid helmets to be found adorning the heads of a selection of Nisbet military men.
All the helmets shown here are made from thin plastic. With the exception of the top two pictures, which show painted helmets, the rest have been metal plated to simulate the polished steel finish of the genuine items
The four pictures here all show helmets made of rubber. The helmet of the Officer of the Queen's Royal Lancers has been painted with gold paint, to make it resemble the brass decoration seen on the original, and the feather plumes complete the whole. Unfortunately, rubber, being an organic material, will slowly oxidise, and dry out, when it will be inclined to shrink and crack, (as seen on the white helmet of T/107, George the Marine Drummer Boy). George must be half a century old, so with care, he should survive for another 50 years, or even longer, with his uniform intact.
You will be relieved to know that Nisbet's Bearskins are made from a synthetic fur material, and in some dolls, may carry a plume of red, or red and white at the side. The Bearskin is an 18 inch tall fur cap, weighing 1.5 pounds. The Standard Bearskin of the Guards and other regiments is made from the fur of the Canadian Black Bear; an Officer's Bearskin is made from the skin of a female Canadian Brown Bear, which is thicker and fuller, and which has been dyed black.
(The Bearskin must never be confused with a Busby, which is a cylindrical fur cap, having a bag of coloured cloth hanging from the top. The end of this bag was attached to the right shoulder, as a defence against sabre cuts. Today, Busbys are worn by The Royal Horse Artillery, and the Hussars.)