The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Sword
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Italy
  • c. 1460 and 19th century
  • Iron or steel, gold, bronze, copper and horn
  • Length: 88.3 cm
    Width: 4.1 cm
    Weight: 1.34 kg
  • Maker's mark Inlaid in copper, 18.5cm from hilt
  • A466
  • European Armoury I
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Sword, a late medieval and modern composite, having a hilt made up of an authentic medieval 'fish-tail' pommel of gilt bronze; modern guard of solid copper, thickly gilt, straight, of round section, and swelling at the ends to half-round knobs; modern grip of horn shaped as a continuation of the pommel. The original double-edged blade, of slightly concave diamond section, tapers to a point. It has a maker's mark on both faces, inlaid in copper.

    A similar sword, from the collection of the late Edouard de Beaumont, is in the Musée de Cluny. Its blade is finer, and engraved with the arms of the Visconti family and of the German Empire; it is also marked with a moon in copper. It has been ascribed to Ludovico il Moro, and dated 1490-1500 (No. CL11821; Boccia & Coelho, 1975, Figs. 168 and 189). A sword with a similar fish-tail pommel was found in Lake Constance, and is in the Swiss National Museum at Zurich; and that (not its own) on the two-handed sword of Charles V at Madrid (G 3) is a further example.

    Contrary to the suggestions of a very late fifteenth-century date for this sword, most representations of this type of pommel in art are in fact earlier than this, for instance those in the Crucifixion and Resurrection panels of the Altarpiece from the Dreifaltigkeitskirche in Hof by Hans Pleydenwurff, dated 1465 (Munich, Alte Pinakothek, Cat. Nos. 666 and 670); and that on the effigy of Christopher Sigwein (died 1478) at Hall in Tyrol. Swords with cross-guards like those of A466 are among the group thought to have been excavated on a site connected with the battle of Castillon which took place in 1453 (see Oakeshott, loc. cit.).