The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Horseman's sword
  • Horseman's sword
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • North Italy, possibly Brescia
  • c. 1640 - c. 1660 (hilt (Italian))
  • Iron or steel, horn and silver, chiselled
  • Length: 102.8 cm
    Width: 3.2 cm
    Weight: 1.04 kg
  • A526
  • European Armoury III
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Horseman’s sword, the hilt of military broadsword type, comprising a cylindrical, cap-shaped pommel, the flat, pierced plate at the top secured by a small button; at the side is a very small loop for attaching a sword-knot; horn grip spirally fluted, the flutes bond with wire, the surface piqué with small holes for silver spots; two knuckle-guards and short, single rear guard arm or quillon, the end shaped as the head of a grotesque animal; heart-shaped shell-guard, which has applied to it a small inner shell, pierced and roughly chiselled with acanthus leaves connected by a transverse loop-guard fixed by screws to a knuckle guard; ring for the thumb behind the left side of the hilt; the whole of bright steel broadly chiselled in low relief with scrolled and entwined foliage.

    Blade of flattened hexagonal section.

    A hilt comparable in both form and decoration in the Museo Poldi Pezzoli, Milan (1980 cat., no. 511), is very like that shown in the portrait of William Kerr, 3rd Earl of Lothian, by David Scougall, painted about 1645 (property of the Marquess of Lothian). The style of the chiselling of the foliage, though broader, is reminiscent of that upon some Spanish cup-hilt rapiers. A thumb ring, instead of one for the index finger, will also be found upon the swords A522-3. This came into use in order to ensure a firmer grip when the hilt arms were disappearing.