The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Rapier with scabbard
  • Rapier with scabbard
  • Francisco Gomez (active between: c. 1577 - 1599)
  • Toledo and Madrid, Spain
  • c. 1600 (blade)
    1701 (hilt)
  • Steel, silver and leather, chiselled, pierced and engraved
  • Length: 99 cm
    Width: 2 cm
    Weight: 0.82 kg, rapier
    Weight: 0.175 kg, scabbard
  • Inscription: 'HAONRA (sic) · DE · DIOS · ME · FECIT / ESTRADA · EN · MRD · AN · 1701'
    Inscription: 'VIVA FELIPE · S · QUINTO / REY · DESPANIA ·' Engraved
    Inscription: 'FRAN · CISC · O GO / MEZ EN TO · LEDO'
    Maker's mark Trace
  • A655
  • European Armoury III
Commentary
Images & Media
  • Cup-hilt rapier and scabbard, the rapier hilt made up of a small, flat spherical pommel, hollow, pierced, chased above and below a dotted band with leaves, and with a large button; oval grip bound with silver wire and divided into eight vertical panels by narrow bars of steel alternately pearled and notched; straight quillons of circular section, chiselled with leaves and ending in rosettes; the knuckle-guards and the suggestion of a hilt-arms within the cup are wrought in one piece; cup, with narrow, turned-over edge, chased, the cup itself pierced and elaborately chiselled with scrolled foliage, masks and flowers surrounding two solid panels each chased in low relief with a figure in a chariot (? Apollo and Phaethon). On a circular band round the aperture for the blade are the words:

    HAONRA (sic) · DE · DIOS · ME · FECIT

    ESTRADA · EN · MRD · AN · 1701

    ('To the honour of God, Estrada made me at Madrid in the year 1701')
    Inside the cup is a small inner shell (guardapolvo) chiselled on one panel with the emblems of the Passion. On the interior of the cup at the back of the solid panels in engraved in monogrammatic form:

    VIVA FELIPE · S · QUINTO

    REY · DESPANIA

    (Phillip V, Duke of Anjou, was called to the throne of Spain in 1700, and reached Madrid on 18 February, 1701). The blade of flattened hexagonal section, singly grooved, pierced and inscribed:

    FRAN · CISC · O GO/MEZ EN TO · LEDO

    Francisco Gomez was a Toledo bladesmith who was working about the end of the 16th century; traces of his mark remain on the ricasso.
    Scabbard of black leather with trumpet-shaped mouth; it is decorated with a circular panel of conventional flowers and a band of roping boldly tooled in relief; the lower part and ferrule are restorations. It is without a locket or rings for suspension.

    Blade, Spanish (Toledo), about 1600; hilt, Spanish (Madrid), dated 1701.

    Norman & Barne, 1980, pp. 174, 177, 269, 307 and 377, pI. 110. Laking, European Armour V, pp. 78-80, fig. 1496.

    The date on the cup of this weapon shows to what a late period the cup-hilt rapier was retained in Spain.

    S. Pyhrr pointed out in 1978 that a similar but plainer hilt, also signed by Estrada in the year 1701, is in Museum w Wilanowie, Warsaw (no. 3670 Wil.; W. Baldowski, 'Europejska bron biaka w kolekeji Wilanowskiej', Biuletyn Historii Sztuki, XXXIX, 1977, pp. 336-43, specifically pp. 342-3).
    Possibly this is the man who signed a sword hilt sold at Christie's, 24 January 1839, lot 160, Francisco Romero Padial Estrada en Madrid, 1702. Its present whereabouts is unknown.

    Francisco Gomez appears as no. 28 in the list of Toledo swordsmiths published by Francisco Palomares in 1762. His mark consisted of the letter F crowned in a shield-shaped compartment (Seitz, Blankwaffen, II, pp. 266-7). According to de Leguina, he had a son called José, who was also a swordsmith (1897, p. 101). Neither man has been traced in the Toledo archives so far, but a swordsmith called Juan Gomez is recorded there in 1585 (R. Ramíréz de Arellano, 1920, p. 115).