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
  • Toledo, Spain; blade- possibly Germany
  • probably c. 1675
  • Iron or steel, chiselled
  • Length: 113 cm
    Width: 2.4 cm
    Weight: 1.13 kg
  • Maker's mark: Crowned 'S / T' Stamped inside
    Stamp: Half-moon of Espadero del Rey Stamped inside
  • A652
  • European Armoury II
Commentary
History
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Cup-hilt rapier, the hilt made up of a round, flattened pommel, chased with spiral flutes, with button; spirally fluted, wire-bound grip; straight quillons chiselled with acanthus leaves, pierced and finished with knobs; cup, with solid flanged edge, chiselled with a pattern, the cup itself elaborately pierced and chiselled with scrolls of foliage; the inner shell (guardapolvo) is especially rich in its decoration of five layers, alternately pierced and frilled; plain, incomplete hilt-arms and knuckle-guard. Strong blade of flattened diamond section, the ricasso, inside the cup, stamped on each side with a maker's mark and the half-moon of an Espadero del Rey.

    The chiselled decoration on the cup of this rapier has been carried to an advanced state, the inner surface, as well as the outer, having been worked.

    Probably about 1675; blade possibly German.

    L' Art Ancien III, No. 368 (?)

    Provenance: Frédéric Spitzer.

    Boccia, Rossi & Morin, Armi e armature Lombarde, 1980, pI. 280, 'Milan about 1660-80'; Norman & Barne, 1980, pp. 175(2), 178 and 377. Palomares gives ST as the mark of Tomas de Ayala, the well-known swordsmith of Madrid (see A643, A567), and there is a rapier in the Real Armeria (G 99) inscribed: Tomas de Aiala, and stamped with a crowned ST; in the Musée de l' Armée, Paris, is another similarly inscribed and stamped (Robert, J 126). It must, however, be mentioned that as well as using the Spanish half-moon mark, the Stantlers of Munich also employed the letters ST (see A612 and A532, which has a crowned ST and the name of Sebastian Hernandez). The four-sided blade is not of the kind usually found with cup-hilt rapiers and probably did not originally belong.

    The guards of this sword appear to match those of the left-hand dagger A827. Francisco Palomares lists Thomas de Ayala, alive in 1625, as working in Toledo, rather than in Madrid (see A567). The mark on A652 differs in detail from that given by Palomares.