The Wallace Collection

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Rapier
  • Rapier
  • Johannes Hoppe
  • Hilt- North Europe; blade- Germany, Solingen
  • c. 1630
  • Steel and gold, gilded and etched
  • Length: 92 cm, blade
    Length: 6.4 cm, ricasso
    Width: 2.8 cm
    Weight: 1.41 kg
  • Inscription: 'PRO · FIDE · ET · PATRIA / FIDE · SED · CUI · VIDE'
    Inscription: 'VINCERE AUT MORI / SOLI DEO GLORIA'
    Maker's mark: 'IOHANNES / HAPPE (sic) / ME FECIT / SOLINGEN' and wild man with a club Man etched below the name
  • A645
  • European Armoury III
Commentary
History
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Rapier, of 'Walloon' or 'Pappenheimer' type, the large hilt entirely gilt and composed of a moulded, fig-shaped pommel (with button), very faintly etched with conventional leaves; steel grip of baluster form; diagonally curved quillons of slim, diamond section with fish-tail ends; knuckle-guard, from which branch two loops to the quillons and symmetrical ring-guards, the foremost enclosing shells pierced with quatrefoils and stars, with a small heart-shaped ring outside the shells; the base of the ricasso is covered with a gilt, steel band socket, to fit over the scabbard. Blade of flattened diamond section, with two flutes on the forte etched with the following inscriptions:

    (along the axis of the blade)
    PRO · FIDE · ET · PATRIA
    FIDE · SED · CUI · VIDE

    (across the blade)
    VINCERE AUT MORI
    SOLI DEO GLORIA

    (In front of these the maker's name)
    IOHANNES / HAPPE (sic)
    ME FECIT / SOLINGEN

    and his mark, that of a wild man with a club, are etched below his name.

    About 1630; hilt North European; blade German (Solingen).

    Provenance: comte de Nieuwerkerke.

    Norman & Barne, 1980, pp. 44, 140 and 268, pI. 3 incorrectly captioned as 2.
    De Beaumont Catalogue, no. 50; Laking, European Armour, IV, fig. 1390

    Johannes Hoppe was a member of a family of Solingen swordsmiths, others of whom were Casper and Peter. In the Livrustkammaren at Stockholm is an executioner's sword similarly marked and bearing the same maker's name as spelt here, Happe (Stockholm, no. 614); it also appeared upon a rapier in the Spitzer Collection (sold Paris, 1865, lot 223); another inscribed Johannes Hoppe, is in the Musée de l' Armée, Paris (Robert, J 354). Mr. Wareing Faulder possessed a sword inscribed: Johannes Hoppie fecit Grenewich ano 1634, now in the London Museum. A Johann Hoppe came to England from Solingen with Johann Keindt or Kind when the Hounslow factory was started, probably between 1620 and 1634. Another Solingen bladesmith who came to London about the same time was Peter Munsten; he used a mark of a wildman like Hoppe's, but encircled it with his name; two swords by him inscribed respectively; Peter Munsten me fecit Solingen, and Peter Munsten me fecit London, are also in the Livrustkammaren, Stockholm, (nos. 561-2).

    The Peter Munsten who came to London was almost certainly not the one who was mayor of Solingen in 1597-8, but a cadet of that family. In 1640 Johannes Hoppe senior registered his mark of the wildman and the halberdier. Other headsman's swords by him are at Solothurn, no. 308, and in the museum at Rostock. Another Johann Hoppe, grandson of Arnt Hoppe, was born in 1681, and is mentioned by Cronau as flourishing, c. 1748-72. A Henry Hoppie, probably a son of the John Hoppe who came to England, worked for the King at Oxford during the Civil War (C. Trenchard, Antique Collector, V (1934), pp. 245-8).

    For further information on the Hoppe family, see Weyersberg, Solinger Schwertschmiede, 1926.

    A Johann Hoppe, a Solingen swordsmith, registered the marks of a wildman and a halberdier on 30 October 1640 (Weyersberg, Solinger Schwertschmiede, 1927, pp. 20-1). He was probably the ancestor of another Johann Hoppe of Unnersbergh in Solingen, who in 1685 registered the same two marks and several others (letter of Dr. H.-U. Haedeke, 7 April 1983). A swordsmith called Johannes Hoppie signed a blade made IN HOUNSLOE in 1636 (London Museum, no. 53.50; Holmes, Arms & Armour in Tudor & Stuart London, p. 35, and pI. XVI D). Two undated blades signed by him in Hounslow are in the Royal Armouries (nos. IX.910 and IX.1389). J. Toft White, the historian of the Hounslow factory, has pointed out that there is no evidence that he is the same as the Johannes Hoppie who signed the sword blades in GRENEWICH in 1634, one of which is mentioned in the 1962 Catalogue, which are now also in the Royal Armouries, nos. IX. 1378 and IX.1420 (Hounslow blades and their makers, p. 50, n.25). An undated blade also signed by him in Greenwich is in the Deutsches Klingenmuseum, Solingen (no. 80.W.14). The Greenwich bladesmith was probably established there not later than 1632 (Trenchard, Antique Collector, V, p. 246). Either of these men may be the Johannes Hoppie working in London who signed an undated blade once in the collection of A. R. Dufty (Trenchard, op. cit., p. 245, Fig. 1). The Henry Hoppie mentioned in the 1962 Catalogue is the man who signed the petition of the Hounslow Germans to Charles II about 1672. The wording of the petition suggests that Hoppie was a survivor of the original group of German swordsmiths recruited by Sir William Heydon in 1629 to set up the Hounslow factory. Although the petition actually names William, he is believed to have been killed two years before on the Ile de Rhé expedition. Presumably the man intended was his brother Sir John Haydon (as the name is usually spelt), Lieutenant of the Ordnance, the lapse of time having confused the memories of the two old petitioners (J. Toft White, The Honeslaw chronicle. vol. 6, no. 1, p. 12).