The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Rapier
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Toledo, Spain
  • c. 1620 - c. 1630
  • Iron, steel, gold and silver, chiselled, encrusted and formerly gilt
  • Weight: 1.62 kg
    Length: 139.4 cm
    Length: 123.4 cm, blade
    Width: 2.8 cm, blade at top of the ricasso
    Balance point: 17.3 cm, forward of the guard block
  • Maker's mark: Crowned 'P' 'P' is reversed
  • A570
  • European Armoury III
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Rapier, the swept hilt composed of a grooved pommel, associated but contemporary, ornamented with wavy lines and small rosettes of silver, the vertical grooves showing traces of gilding; flattened tang button; spirally fluted, wire-bound grip; straight crossguard ending in small shells; knuckle-guard with two loop-guards, one joining the ring-guard and the other dividing into three at the back, and joining the hilt-arms; hilt-arms; side-ring of circular section. The whole hilt is decorated with scrolls and dots encrusted with silver on a blackened ground; the escutcheon, the crossguard terminals and the centres of the guards display a cockle-shell chiselled in low relief. Double-edged blade, possibly Spanish, stiff and tapering, and of diamond section, the ricasso stamped on each side with a bladesmith's mark; a crowned P (reversed).

    The mark of a crowned P was one used by several Toledo bladesmiths listed by Palomares and Rodrígues del Canto, and unless accompanied by an inscription on the blade, is of little help in identifying the maker. The cockle-shell, probably in allusion to the pilgrimage saint, St. James of Compostella, is not uncommon as a decorative motif for sword hilts, usually of Spanish origin, cf. A585-6, 607 and 646 in this Collection.