The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Cup-hilt rapier
  • Cup-hilt rapier
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Spain and Solingen, Germany
  • probably 3rd quarter of 17th century
  • Iron and steel, chiselled, pierced
  • Length: 101.5 cm
    Width: 2.1 cm
    Weight: 1.2 kg
  • Inscription: 'PAVLLVS · WILLEMS ME FECIT' and 'PAVLLVS · WILLEMS · SOLINGEN'
    Maker's mark: Three Magi with a star above
  • A651
  • European Armoury III
Commentary
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Cup-hilt rapier, the hilt composed of a round, flattened pommel with button, chased with flowers in low relief; grip of circular section, pierced with foliage; straight quillons, spirally fluted and ending in flattened knobs; cup, turned over at the edge, pierced and finely chiselled with cornucopias, exotic birds and scrolls of conventional flowers; inner shell (guardapolvo) pierced with scrolled foliage and flowers, plain hilt-arms, knuckle-guard en suite with the quillons. The blade, of flattened diamond section, singly grooved at the point, and triply grooved at the fore, the latter inscribed:

    PAVLLVS · WILLEMS ME FECIT

    and

    PAVLLVS · WILLEMS · SOLINGEN

    The ricasso is stamped with the maker's mark. The workmanship of grip and pommel are less good than that of the cup.

    Probably third quarter 17th century; blade German (Solingen).

    Norman & Barne, 1980, p. 175, pI. 88; Laking, European Armour V, fig. 1488.

    A rapier with this mark of the Three Magi is at Dresden (Ehrenthal, p. 164, no. 152). The stiff blade with its narrow grooves, though by a Solingen Maker, is in the Spanish fashion. According to Weyersberg, Paulus Willems was sworn in as a swordsmith at Solingen in 1640. He may have been a relative of Clemens Willems (Lenz, Hermitage, p. 257, B 240, and Cleveland Museum, Severance Collection, no. E 84).

    This mark of the Three Magi appears later to have been bought or inherited by Paulus Meigen, since it is found with his signature on a late 17th century executioner's sword in the Scott Collection at Glasgow Art Gallery and Museum (illustrated in Joubert's catalogue of the collection, 1924, vol. II section IV).

    The junction of the quillons and knuckle-guard with the escutcheon has been required, the latter is lightly engraved.