The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Sword
  • Heinrich Paetther
  • Solingen, Germany
  • c. 1610 - c. 1620
  • Iron or steel, copper alloy and silver, encrusted and chiselled
  • Length: 92.6 cm, blade
    Width: 3.1 cm, blade, above the ricasso
    Weight: 1.2 kg
    Length: 108.9 cm
    Balance point: 7.2 cm, forward of the guard block
  • Maker's mark: '+HEIN+RICH+ / +PAET+THER+' Inlaid in brass
    Maker's mark Stamped twice
  • A554
  • European Armoury II
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Sword, the swept hilt composed of a reduced spherical pommel with button; oval, wire-bound grip, the wire twisted into cords; straight crossguard of oval section ending in spherical knobs; knuckle-guard, hilt-arms and swept loop-guard joining the knuckle-guard to the hilt-arms. From one side of the hilt-arms a short bar projects at right angles, and on the inner side are two plain transverse bars. The hilt is richly encrusted with scrolls, conventional flowers, foliage resembling seedpods, and cherubs' heads in chiselled silver; the knuckle-guard and bar are interrupted by a double ball at the centres. Double-edged blade of flattened hexagonal section with one narrow and two shallow grooves at the forte; it bears the maker's name inlaid in brass:



    The ricasso is stamped twice on each side with the maker's mark.
    The hilt closely resembles that of a rapier sold at Sotheby's, 16 April, 1943, lot 44, and with its heavy pommel and strongly marked silver decoration resembles those on some English hilts. A sword bearing the same mark, and also inscribed; Heinrich Pather, is in the Livrustkammaren at Stockholm (Stockholm, no. 569, fig. 72); others are at Dresden (E 487, E 603 and E 481). There is an executioner's sword with Heinrich Patter's signature and mark at Emden (no. 353). One of the swords by him at Dresden (no. 603) was presented by the Margrave Joachim Ernst of Brandenburg (d. 1625).
    This type of hilt is sometimes thought to be English by comparison with A596 and 597 here, but this has not yet been proven beyond any doubt; see Norman and Barne, 1980, p. 98, col. 2, paragraph 1. Two comparable hilts with very similar decoration are in the old Electoral Armoury at Dresden (Hettner-Buttner, pls. 95 centre and 85 right). Another is in the Badisches Landesmuseum, Karlsruhe, no. G89, whither it came from the armoury of the Dukes of Baden.

    A comparable mark rather more like a horseshoe in form is found with the signature HEINRICH PATHER, on a sword blade at Veste Coburg (no. II.A.81), and on another with the spelling Pater, from the Oldenburg Armoury, now in the National Museum, Copenhagen (no. 10124). Weyersberg found no trace of a swordsmith called Heinrich Paether, Pater, or Pather in the Solingen archives, but he suggested that he might have belonged to the Poeter family, a number of whom were swordsmiths in Solingen. Heinrich Botter (Potter), Vogt of the Swordsmiths' Guild, is mentioned in a document of 18 June 1608, in the archives of the Abbey of Altenburg. A swordsmith Heinrich Poeter, alive in 1641, had a son, Peter, who took the oath as a Swordsmith in 1660. (Solinger Schwertschmiede, 1926, pp. 41-2.) The same, or a very similar mark, occurs on a blade signed ADOLF KRONENBERGH, and on another signed HEINEKKE, both in the old Electoral Armoury at Dresden (1899 cat., nos. E481 and E487 respectively).