The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Estoc
  • Estoc
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Solingen, Germany
  • c. 1635 - c. 1645
  • Iron or steel, engraved, chiselled and chased
  • Length: 129.5 cm
    Width: 1.3 cm
    Weight: 0.78 kg
  • Inscription: 'PRO CHRISTO ET PATRIA / FIDE SED CUI VIDE / NEC TEMERE NEC TIMIDE / PRO FIDE ET PATRIA' Near the hilt
    Inscription: ' SOLI DEO GLORIA / PRO ARIS ET FOCIS' On smaller panels
    Incised mark: S, half-moon, griffin, spread eagle Engraved
    Stamp: King's head mark of the house of Wundes
  • A508
  • European Armoury III
Commentary
History
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Estoc, or ‘tuck’, the hilt composed of an elongated, oviform pommel and button in one, the surface chiselled on either side with an oval panel containing a cornucopia in low relief; spirally fluted, wire-bound grip; short, straight crossguard of flat, plaited form pierced, ending in spherical knobs; circular saucer-shaped guard, chased with entwined strapwork panels enclosing the cornucopias, the background pierced with quatrefoils and stars, the edge formed of pierced plaiting like the cross; the whole of bright steel.

    The hilt is mounted on a long, stiff, slender blade of diamond section, very slightly broadened, and flattened at the point, and flattened also to hexagonal section near the hilt where it is inscribed with various mottoes frequently found in Solingen blades of the Thirty Years War period:–

    PRO CHRISTO ET PATRIA
    FIDE SED CUI VIDE
    NEC TEMERE NEC TIMIDE
    PRO FIDE ET PATRIA

    and two smaller panels;-

    SOLI DEO GLORIA
    PRO ARIS ET FOCIS

    The blade is engraved on both sides with the letter S, the half-moon, a griffin or winged lion rampant and a spread eagle; the ricasso is stamped with the king's head mark associated with the house of Wundes.

    The mark of the king's head on this sword however differs from the version used by the Wundes family in the shape of the crown. The Wundes crown is usually five-pointed, or occasionally flat-topped, while one variation exists with a mural crown with three towers.

    The shape of the crown on this sword suggests that this is the head of an emperor rather than that of a king. The bladesmith's mark (an emperor's head) is recorded in the Bruderschaftsbuch des Schwertschmiede Handwerks in Solingen for the year 1665, as being the property of the Solingen master, Peter Koell. None of his work is at present known. An emperor's head appears as an engraved mark on an early 17th-century rapier (no. 16.1522) in the Cleveland Museum of Art (Long Collection, No. E59). The blade is signed; ADAM AOLLICH, and among others, bears the motto: SOLI DEO GLORIA, also found on A508. Since at Solingen Marks could be sold or inherited, this does not rule out the possibility that the mark of the emperor's head became later the property of Peter Koell. Compare the similar letter S, crowned griffin and half-moons on a sword blade with the unicorn mark of Clemens Horn of Solingen and etched with the Royal Stuart arms and Latin mottoes, which was sold at Sotheby's, 16 July, 1920, lot 61, and is now in the Victoria and Albert Museum (Mallet Coll., No. M54-1947).

    This type of sword was called a ‘flamberge’ by Egerton Castle, who adopted the term to denote a rapier, of which the characteristics are a long, quadrangular or narrow, unwaved blade with a simple hilt, generally without knuckle-guard or hilt-arms, the guards consisting of a shallow shell or saucer, and short straight crossguard. This form marked the transition between the rapier and the small sword. For other rapiers in the Wallace Collection which come more or less within this definition, see A507 and A676.

    The mark on the ricasso apparently includes two partly illegible letters, perhaps ‘W.S.’ Norman and Barne, 1980, p. 168, pI. 73. An identical hilt is in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Kienbusch Collection (cat. no. 389, pI. CVI).