The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Sword
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Italy
  • c. 1500 and 19th century (blade (Italian))
    19th century (hilt)
  • Iron, steel, gold, bronze and ivory, blued, chased and engraved
  • Length: 78 cm
    Width: 5.2 cm
    Weight: 1.18 kg
  • Decoration: Resurrection or Annunciation
    Decoration: St Michael or Charlemagne
  • A496
  • European Armoury I
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Arming sword, the partially restored hilt composed of a wheel-pommel of gilt bronze with sunken centre incised on each side with a bird pecking a rabbit, surrounded by conventional leaves, and diagonally ribbed round the circumference; hexagonal ivory grip with gilt bronze mounts at either end; straight crossguard of gilt bronze horizontally curved at the ends, chased and engraved, with a stag and a doe at the ends in the same manner as the birds on the pommel; roped bands on the front and engraved with conventional leaves on the back; the two-edged blade of flattened diamond section Has an additional flat facet at the forte; here it is decorated in gold on a blued ground, with the Resurrection on one side, and the figure of St. Michael on the other, now almost defaced.

    The pommel and grip of this sword are modern, but the cross and blade are old, and the last is a fine specimen. The cross was until recently bent backwards, but has been straightened to its original shape.

    The scene on the blade, described above as the Resurrection, may in fact be the Annunciation, while the figure described as St. Michael seems to represent Charlemagne, the lower part of the Imperial arms being visible on his shield. The pommel is apparently based on that of the sword, at Vienna, thought to be that of Philip the Handsome (Waffensammlung, inv. no. A456; Thomas and Gamber, Katalog der Leibrüstkammer, I, 1976, pp. 120-1), but the copyist did not realise that in that case the pommel is of ivory faced with gilt copper alloy.