The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Cup-hilt rapier
  • Cup-hilt rapier
  • Juanes de Tolledo
  • Spain
  • probably 3rd quarter of 17th century
  • Steel, pierced, chased and chiselled
  • Length: 122 cm
    Width: 2.38 cm
    Weight: 1 kg
  • Inscription: 'J.V.A.N.E.Z. .D.E. .T.O.L.L.E.D.O'
    Incised mark
  • A656
  • European Armoury II
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Cup-hilt rapier, the hilt made up of a hollow, flattened, pear-shaped pommel, pierced and chased, with button; vertically fluted, wire-bound grip, with four vertical steel bands; knuckle-guard and long, straight, spiral quillons terminating in buttons; hilt-arms; cup with turned-over edge and inner shell (guardapolvo), decorated with intricate foliage pierced and chiselled. Slender blade of diamond section, the central groove at the forte incised in large capitals (not the usual Spanish lettering) on each side:

    J.V.A.N.E.Z. .D.E. .T.O.L.L.E.D.O.

    The forte narrows sharply rather in the manner of a colichemarde blade. The ricasso on one side incised with a mark. Pommel associated and with an unnecessary, reconstructed tang-button. The chiselling on the bowl of the cup is of very poor quality compared with that on the rompepuntas, and that elsewhere on the hilt, and is probably a 19th-century addition to a good but unpierced bowl.

    Probably third quarter 17th century ; blade possibly Spanish.

    Though the mark on the ricasso corresponds with that given by Palomares, it is open to doubt, as it has been cut with a chisel instead of being stamped, and the lettering of the blade is not of the usual Spanish form; also Toledo is spelt with two L's. The same mark and inscription occurred on a rapier sold at Sotheby's, 13 December, 1940, lot 118.

    Juan el Viejo (the elder) was a distinguished Toledo swordsmith of the late 16th century.

    Juanes de Tolledo is no. 54 in the list of Toledo swordsmiths published by Francisco Palomares in 1762. His mark consisted of an A or A T combined in an almost square shield, as on no. A656 (Seitz, Blankwaffen, II, pp. 266-7). According to a note in the MS. de Cosson Dictionary of marks in the archives of the Royal Armouries, Diego Rodríguez del Canto writing in 1734 recorded his mark as F y A trabades (F and A conjoined).

    Provenance: William Meyrick (Illustrated Catalogue, 1861, un-numbered plate in an extra-illustrated copy on the London art market in 1973, with a different pommel).

    Norman & Barne, 1980, pp. 174 and 178.