The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Sword
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Germany
  • 17th, 18th and 19th century (pommel)
    c. 1700 (centre of quillons)
    19th century (blade)
  • Iron, steel and silver, russeted, etched and overlaid
  • Length: 109.2 cm
    Width: 5.4 cm
    Weight: 2.35 kg
  • A514
  • European Armoury III
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Sword, a 19th-century composition, employing: a fig-shaped pommel with large button dating from the early 17th century; a modern iron grip swelling at the centre and inlaid with four oblong panels; a short, heavy guard curving towards the blade, springing from a massive central block; their undulating shape resembling bean-pods; the whole of russeted iron overlaid with silver foliage; the guard is inlaid with oval panels containing annular ornaments of silver; in the centre of the escutcheon, on either side, are larger, kidney-shaped panels encrusted with silver putti and flowers. The central part of the hilt has been constructed from the shells of a smallsword c. 1700.

    The broad, double-edged blade of flattened oval section, with a hollow fuller at the forte, dates from the 19th century and is etched throughout its length on both sides with a frieze of military scenes. The arms on the tents of the respective armies are those of France and the Empire, and probably refer to the battles of St. Quentin or Pavia.

    This clumsy and ill-balanced sword cannot have been intended as a fighting weapon. The etching of the blade is free and characteristically German, though not of so fine a quality as that by Ambrosious Gemlich, A711. It is probably earlier in date than the hilt. The latter which is crude and heavy, may have a ceremonial or symbolic purpose. Illustrated as no. 1 or 'Armi lunghe a taglio' among Dassi's drawings of the collection of Ambrogio Uboldo in the Castello Sforzesco, Milan, and on an un-numbered folding plate in the Uboldo sale catalogue (Paris, Fillet, 21 May 1869).