The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Rapier
  • Rapier
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Hilt- North Italy; blade- Solingen, Germany
  • 1545 - 1899
    c. 1545 - 1555 (hilt)
    19th century (pommel)
    c. 1600 (blade)
  • Iron or steel and gold, gilded, incised and counterfeit damascened
  • Length: 114.5 cm
    Width: 1.8 cm
    Weight: 1.17 kg
  • Inscription: '·CLEMENTS / WIS · PERCH·' Letters in style of type on Toledo blades
  • A594
  • European Armoury III
Commentary
History
Further Reading
  • Rapier, the swept hilt comprised of a hollow pommel, the upper part formed of three pairs of scrolls linked together; wire-bound grip; horizontally recurved crossguard terminating in scrolls pierced like the pommel; double ring-guard (the larger ring joined by a loop to the knuckle-guard), hilt arms and two transverse bars on the inner side; both rings and the knuckle-guard are decorated at the center with pierced double scrolls like those on the pommel. The hilt overlaid throughout with vine leaves, incised and gilt. Blade of flattened diamond section, grooved from the ricasso nearly to the point, and inscribed:

    ∙ CLEMENTES / WIS ∙ PERCH ∙

    in letters in the style of those on Toledo blades. The dagger A817 is of like design and workmanship.

    Pommel 19th century; guards North Italian, about 1545-55; blade associated

    German (Solingen) about 1600.

    L' Art Ancien, I, no. 26; De Beaumont Catalogue, no. 19 and pl. 2, The pommel is much too tall for one of this date. Its proportions should reproduce exactly those of the knobs on the ends of the crossguard.

    Provenance; de Courval sale, Fillet and Roussel, Paris, 17-18 April 1860, lot 8,840 fr. (sketch by Edouard de Beaumont in the marked catalogue in the archive of the Royal Armouries). L' art ancien, I, 26, Nieuwerkerke (with a different pommel); Norman and Barne, 1980, p. 125.

    The large and important Wirsbergh family of Solingen bladesmiths (spelt variously Wirsberg, Wiersberg, Warsberch, Weyersberg) is traditionally of Styrian origin, but a Peter Weyersberge is recorded as a property owner in the Solingen records as early as 1488. No member of the family with the name Clementes appears to be recorded, but from 1638 onwards various members are known to have been called Clemens (see A653). It seems possible that Clementes was in fact Clemens Tesche, since another member of that family, Johannes Tesche, signed himself Jantes Wirsberg (Weyersberg, Solinger Schwertschmiede, 1926, p. 45). Exhibited: Musée Rétrospectif, 1865, probably no. 1834.

    For other blades of this family, see A548 by Wilhelm, A640 by Johannes, and A634 by Peter.

    See also Cronau, Geschichte der Solingen Klingenindustrie, 1885, pp. 50-51; Weyersberg, op. cit., pp. 47-55.