The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Rapier
  • Federico Marliani (Piccinino)
  • Milan, Italy
  • c. 1625 - c. 1635
  • Iron, steel and copper
  • Length: 133.35 cm
    Length: 115.7 cm, blade
    Width: 2.2 cm
    Weight: 1.34 kg
  • Maker's mark: Castle of Milan with 'FEDRICO' and 'PICININO' around it
  • A646
  • European Armoury III
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Rapier, of 'Walloon' or 'Pappenheimer' type, the hilt composed of a hollow, pear-shaped pommel pierced and decorated with cockle-shells and daisies, with a faceted button; copper wire-bound grip, wound spirally; knuckle-guard branching into loop-guards connected with the arms of the hilt, and straight quillons moulded and pierced. Symmetrical guards on either side, the inner ring pear-shaped in form and framing a shell pierced with a network of quatrefoils, rosettes and circles; the guards are of a diamond section relieved at intervals by pierced knobs. Long, stiff blade of diamond section with sharp central ridge and a hollow flute on either side, the ricasso incised with the mark of Federico Picinino and the castle of Milan (compare that upon the rapier A1111). The tang has been broken at the end and repaired. The blade is that of a tuck or estoc rather than of a rapier.

    About 1625-35; pommel associated but contemporary; blade North Italian (Milanese).

    Boccia, Rossi & Morin, Armi e armature Lombarde, 1980, pI. 270; Norman & Barne, 1980, pp. 138, 265 and 373, pI. 57. Federico Marliani (Piccinino was a sobriquet) still living in 1595, son of the swordsmith, Giovanni Antonio, and brother of Lucio, the goldsmith-armourer (see A51), was working at Milan until the end of the 16th century, but his mark and name are found upon weapons mounted at a later date. Blades attributed to him are in the Royal Armouries (IX.116 and .119), Turin (632), Museo Stibbert, Florence (940, 2005 and 4760) and Dresden (E 225). For other blades bearing the names of the Marliani/Piccinino family, see A540.

    Federico, son of Giovanni Antonio Marliani, the famous Milanese swordsmith, called Piccinino (see under A540), is described by Paolo Morigia in chapter XVII of the fifth book of his La nobilta di Milano of 1595, as being heir to his father's skills and secrets, and as being his imitator 'in that he is equally very highly regarded in the profession and having himself held the lead in the fashioning of blades'. Morigia says that he was alive at the time of writing but does not actually say that he was still working. The splendid jewelled sword recorded in the 1606 Inventory of the Saxon Electoral Armoury as having been given by Carlo Emanuele, Duke of Savoy, to Christian II of Saxony in 1605, has a blade signed by Federico Piccinino (Haenel, 1923, pI. 50; Schöbel, 1975, pI. 80; Capwell 2012, cat. no. 3.01, pp. 84-6). The form of signature found on no. A646 is the one usually employed by Federico Piccinino, but the name also occurs occasionally extended along the blade. Boccia and Coelho illustrate a number of examples but regard them as spurious (1976, fig. 553, on p. 391, for instance). According to Antonio Petrini in his MS. L'arte focile of 1642, blades marked with a castle come from Milan (Boeheim, Meister der Waffenschmiedekunst, 1897, pp. 162-3). On no. A646 the castle appears to be stamped and the signatures incised, while on A629 the whole of the marks are incised.