The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Rapier
  • Rapier
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Solingen, Germany
  • c. 1600
  • Iron and steel, gold, silver and copper, overlaid, hatched and gilded
  • Length: 119.3 cm
    Length: 103.4 cm, blade
    Width: 1.8 cm
    Weight: 1.35 kg
  • Maker's mark: 'HEIRMAN . KEISSER . ME FECIT . / HEIRMAN . KEISSER . SOLINGEN.'
    Maker's mark
  • A583
  • European Armoury III
Commentary
History
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Rapier, the swept hilt made up of an oviform pommel and spherical button; vertically fluted, copper wire-bound grip; knuckle-guard with two loop-guards, that on the outside joining the short, straight crossguard; triple ring-guard, covering the outer side of the hilt arms, the branch on the other side divides into three before joining the forward end of the hilt arms; all of oval section. The pommel, crossguard terminals, centres of the guards and escutcheon are all decorated with oval medallions inlaid with mythological figures including Mercury, Diana, and possibly Mars in silver within dotted borders; the rest of the surface is lightly hatched and has been overlaid with silver arabesques. The slender blade is of hexagonal section, triply fluted at the forte and incised with the bladesmith's name:

    HEIRMAN . KEISSER . ME FECIT .

    HEIRMAN . KEISSER . SOLINGEN .

    The ricasso gilt and stamped on each side with the maker's mark.

    The Keisser family of Solingen bladesmiths (spelt variously Kaiser, Kayser or Keyser) was still working as late as the 19th century. Johann was Bürgermeister of Solingen in 1708 (Weyersberg, Solinger Schwertschmiede, 1926, p. 25). A sword ascribed to the Duke of Montrose, signed Hermann Keisser 1570, was sold at Sotheby's, 24 July, 1925 (Morkill and others). A rapier, signed Hermanus Keisser, was in the Dreger Collection, sold Lucerne, 1927, lot 106, and a broadsword, signed by him is illustrated in Drummond's Ancient Scottish Weapons, 1881, pl. IX.