The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Rapier
  • Pedro Hernandez , Swordsmith
  • Seville or Toledo, Spain
  • c. 1625 - c. 1635
    19th century (pommel)
  • Iron and steel, chiselled
  • Length: 115 cm
    Width: 2.4 cm
    Weight: 1.51 kg
  • Inscription: 'PEDRO·HERNAN[DEZ]'
    Incised mark: Crucifix
  • A586
  • European Armoury III
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Rapier, the symmetrical swept hilt made up of a hollow, oviform pommel decorated with shells, with button; spirally fluted, wire-bound grip; straight crossguard of baluster form; three ring-guards on either side, the two forward rings enclosing shells pierced with quatrefoils; hilt arms joined to the knuckle-guard by loop-guards; the pommel, the centres of the guards and the crossguard, the ends of the crossguard and the knuckle-guard are all decorated with pierced knops chiselled with cockle-shells and rosettes (now bright, but traces of the original black remain). Double-edged blade of hexagonal section, the groove at the forte inscribed on each side:


    the strong ricasso stamped on each side with his mark: a crucifix.

    Compare to the rapier A571, which bears the same maker's mark. In the Real Armería of Madrid is a rapier blade inscribed in full and bearing the same mark, with crowned F in addition (G 202); other examples attributed to Pedro Hernández are in the Musée de l' Armée, Paris (J. 254), and one at Dresden (E 395), with a crowned OT, is inscribed: Sebastian Hernandez.
    Pedro Hernández's blades are not to be confused with those of Hannes Cleles or Enrique Coll (possibly Heinrich Koel), German bladesmiths, who also marked with a crucifix, but of a slightly different character.

    A sword with a very similar hilt was formerly in the Saxon Electoral Armoury (Sold R. Lepke, Berlin, 5 May 1927, lot 31, repr. in cat.). Pedro Hernández was not recorded by Francisco Palomares in his list of Toledo swordsmiths published in 1762 (Seitz, Blankwaffen, II, pp. 266-7), nor apparently by Rodríguez del Canto, but a blade signed by him and bearing the mark of the Crucifixion is in the Real Armería at Madrid, no. G202. According to de Leguina, Pedro or Pietro Hernández worked in Seville. He gives his mark as Cruz grande de brazos iguales (1897, p. 108). A Pedro Hernández, swordsmith in Seville, died in 1596, leaving a widow, Juanna Ortiz (J. Gestaso y Pérez, Ensayo de un diccionano de los artifíces qu florecieron en Sevilla, III, 1909, p. 170). A blade at Waddesdon Manor (Blair, 1974, no. 26) is inscribed PETRVS HERNANDEZ. It also bears the Toledo mark flanked on each side by an S, as well as the mark, presumably also spurious, of Sandro Scacchi, as on no. A613 here. The same combination occurs on a sword in the Odescalchi collection in Rome (inv. no. 197; Carpegna 1969 no. 257). A blade signed PIETRO HERNANDEZ, stamped with the letter S a Toledo mark, is in the Military Museum, Prague, inv. no. 1337. Two blades in the Institute de Valencia de Don Juan, Madrid, are signed PIETRO HERNAN (cf. nos. 68 and 70).