The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Rapier
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Italy
  • c. 1610
  • Iron or steel and silver, blackened ground
  • Length: 110.2 cm
    Width: 2.2 cm
    Weight: 1.22 kg
  • Maker's mark
    Stamp: 'CI' with a device above
  • A556
  • European Armoury II
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Rapier, the swept hilt made up of a pear-shaped pommel, of doubtful authenticity, divided by grooves into eight sections, with a button; oval, wire-bound grip; straight crossguard, of flat oval section, widening towards the ends; knuckle-guards, hilt-arms, side-ring; and two other guards, the largest connected by a swept loop-guard to the knuckle-guard, and with three curved bars at the back joining the hilt-arms to the knuckle-guard; richly encrusted with cupid's heads and conventional flower and foliage in silver on a blackened ground. The double-edged blade of flattened hexagonal section, with three grooves at the forte; the ricasso stamped on each side with a maker's mark: The letters C I with a device above.

    Compare the silver cherub's on the spurs, A377-8, and rapiers in the loan exhibition, Metropolitan Museum, New York, New York, 1931, nos. 155 and 156. A hilt in the Harding collection in the Art Institute of Chicago (no. 2081) is decorated with a very similar scheme of encrusting, but is not by the same hand.

    It has not yet proved possible to isolate the centres of manufacture of this style of encrusting in silver on a cod's-roe matted ground (see Norman and Barne, 1980, pp. 360-61). It seems to have had a wide popularity, particularly in the first twenty years of the 17th century, and was probably made in many different places.