The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Rapier
  • Rapier
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Italy
  • c. 1590 - c. 1620
  • Iron or steel, blackened
  • Length: 119.9 cm, blade
    Width: 2.6 cm, blade, above the ricasso
    Weight: 1.4 kg
    Length: 136.3 cm
    Width: 19 cm, guard
    Balance point: 15.1 cm, forward of the guard block
  • Inscription: '·I·O·V·O·H·O·N·O'
    Inscription: 'I·O·N·O·H·O·V·O'
    Maker's mark Stamped
  • A619
  • European Armoury II
Commentary
History
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Rapier, the blackened swept hilt decorated with hunting scenes and floral scrolls on a small scale, chiselled in high relief. The hilt is made up of a pommel of flattened cylindrical form, with button; oblong wire-bound grip; single curved rear quillon and knuckle-guard, both of oval section and terminating in small disks; joined by a loop to the ring-guard and hilt-arms, and triple transverse bars on the inner side; the thumb-guard and the upper ring are joined to the knuckle-guard. The entire hilt, except for the bars on the inside, is elaborately chiselled in relief, with hunting scenes on the outside, and floral motifs on the inner side. On the pommel horsemen and hounds are shown pursuing a lion and a hare. The blade is of hexagonal section, deeply grooved, with a strong ricasso, inscribed on the one side:

    ∙I∙O∙V∙O∙H∙O∙N∙O∙

    and on the other:

    ∙I∙O∙N∙O∙H∙O∙V∙O∙

    The ricasso is deeply stamped on both sides with a maker's mark.

    L' Art Ancien, V, no. 581; De Beaumont Catalogue, pl. 4 (?)

    Compare the very similar hilt of A620; for other rapiers with steel hilts minutely chiselled, cf. nos A589, 603, 618-20. For other examples of a series of unrelated capital letters on blades, see A559, 560, 573, 574, 608, 629. For a note on the subsidiary incised decoration see under A808.