The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Rapier
  • Rapier
  • Wilhelm Tesche , Swordsmith , the Younger
  • Hilt- North Europe; blade- Solingen, Germany
  • c. 1620 - c. 1635
  • Steel, blackened
  • Length: 104.1 cm
    Width: 1.9 cm
    Weight: 1.105 kg
  • Inscription: 'WEILHELM · TESCHE · VON · VIRSBERGH / HISO · IN · ALMANIA · ME · FECIT ·'
    Maker's mark
  • A579
  • European Armoury II
Commentary
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Rapier, the swept hilt composed of a fluted, oviform pommel with button; herring-bone grip bound with wire; straight crossguard of hexagonal section, thickening towards the ends; hilt-arms, ring and knuckle-guard, the last branching with two loop-guards joining the hilt-arms. The whole hilt is of blackened steel. Double-edged blade of hexagonal section, triply grooved at the forte, the central groove inscribed:

    WEILHELM · TESCHE · VON · VIRSBERGH

    HISO · IN · ALMANIA · ME · FECIT ·

    The ricasso is stamped on either side with the maker's mark. This is an example of a sword given a Spanish flavour by the form of the inscription, though the meaning makes its German origin quite clear.

    The word 'Hiso' (hijo) means 'son', and denotes the work of Wilhelm Tesche junior. Wilhelm Tesche was probably not a member of the Wirsbergh family, see A548. In this case it is thought that 'Wirsbergh' is the Solingen dialect form of Weyersberg, which used to be an estate to the north of the wall encircling the town centre. This was where Tesche lived. He added 'von Wirsberg' or 'Am Wirsberg' to his signature to distinguish himself from another swordsmith of the same name, see A658.

    A very similar hilt is depicted in The Corporalship of Captain Dirck Theulingh by Nicolas Elias called Pickenoy, dated 1639 (Amsterdam, Historical Museum, no. A7314).

    For William Tesche of Weyersberg, see Weyersberg, Solinger Schwertschmiede, 1926, p. 47.