The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Rapier
  • Rapier
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Italy
  • c. 1630 - 1650
  • Iron or steel, chiselled
  • Length: 130.1 cm
    Length: 109.8 cm, blade
    Width: 2.22 cm
    Weight: 1.25 kg
  • Inscription: '· PERDE · LA · VITTORIA · / · CHI · NON · STUDIA ·'
    Maker's mark Blacksmith's mark
  • A642
  • European Armoury III
Commentary
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Cup-hilt rapier, the hilt composed of a flattened pear-shaped pommel made in two parts, the upper roughly pierced and chiselled, and separate button; oval, wire-bound grip; straight quillons of circular section swelling towards the ends; knuckle-guard joined by a loop to the arms of the hilt, of circular section like the quillons, covered by two large shells, pierced and boldly chased with two reclining female figure amid shells, masks and trophies of arms in panels; blade of flattened diamond section, the single groove down the centre inscribed:

    · PERDE · LA · VITTORIA ·
    · CHI · NON · STUDIA ·

    ('Lost is the Victory to him who ponders not')

    The blade has a strong ricasso bearing on each side a bladesmith's mark.

    Italian, possibly about 1650.

    Provenance: E. de Rozière sale, Pillet & Juste, Paris, 19th-21st March 1860, repr. in cat. without number; illustrated in an anonymous dealer's photograph among the papers of W. H. Riggs in the Metropolitan Museum, New York, priced at 300 fr. (S. Pyhrr, letter of November 1980). A comparable hilt for a left-hand dagger made up into a sword is at Apsley House (No. WM. 1245-1948). A. Gaibi, in a letter in the archives of the Collection, suggested that the mark on the blade might be that of a bladesmith called Omi of San Giacomo sul Nelle, a suburb of Brescia. However, it seems in fact to read OHI rather than OMI.