The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Cup-hilt rapier
  • Cup-hilt rapier
  • Ignacio Fernandez
  • Cup- possibly Milan, Italy; blade- Toledo, Spain
  • probably 3rd quarter of 17th century
  • Iron or steel
  • Length: 101.5 cm
    Width: 1.8 cm
    Weight: 1.325 kg
  • Inscription: 'IGNACIO · FRZ (Fernandez) / IN · TOLEDO'
    Maker's mark Stamped
    Stamp: Toledo mark
  • A662
  • European Armoury III
Commentary
History
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Cup-hilt rapier, the hilt made up of a flattened spherical pommel, with large button; oval grip; straight quillons of oval section ending in knobs; knuckle guard, hilt-arms and solid cup, with turned-over outer edge and pierced inner shell. The grip is skillfully chased in low relief on either side with a trophy of arms and a bound captive, divided by two vertical strips of laurel leaves, and the cup with an elaborate military composition of two equestrian figures, including banners, perhaps Alexander and Darius (one crowned), among trophies of arms, round the edge of the cup in relief, laurel leaves turned diagonally, as on the grip, and similar decoration on the knuckle-bow and quillons. The inner-shell (guardapolvo) is composed of curved petals pierced with foliage. The blade is of flattened hexagonal section, the surface, but not the edges, waved, singly grooved at the forte, and incised:

    IGNACIO · FRZ (Fernandez)

    IN · TOLEDO

    The ricasso is stamped on each side with the maker's mark and on the edge with that of Toledo.

    L' Art Ancien IX, no. 1012; Laking, European Armour, V, fig. 1494
    Provenance: Frédéric Spitzer

    In the Royal Collection at Windsor Castle is a cup-hilted rapier, with its companion parrying dagger, which in style and workmanship resembles A662; these weapons came from the armoury of Manuel de Godoy , Duke of El Alcudia, Prince of the Peace, and there is a tradition that they once belonged to Phillip IV, (Windsor Castle, nos. 67-8; Laking, European Armour, V, fig. 1493)

    According to Palomares and Rodriguez del Canto, there were two Toledo swordsmiths of this name, the elder and the younger. One of them is stated to have been working in the year 1708.

    The decoration on grip and pommel differs slightly from that on the cup, while the matting of the background, which is made with a circular punch, differs from that on the cup, which is made with a matting tool with five teeth. The grip and pommel are presumably therefore later reconstructions.
    Illustrated in an anonymous dealer's photograph among the papers of W. H. Riggs in the Metropolitan Museum, New York, priced at 1,500 fr.
    (S. Pyhrr, letter of November 1980).

    Norman and Barne, 1980, p. 178.

    J.-A. Godoy has pointed out that the two horsemen on the cup of A662 are based on the figures of Ninus and Julius Caesar in a series of four engravings by Adrien Collaert after Martin de Vos, representing The Four Empires of the World (letter of 30 January 1985).

    A similar hilt in the Metropolitan Museum, New York (inv. no. 11.89.2) is signed CARLO PICININO, presumably a member of the Milanese family of bladesmiths and armourers (see under A51).

    The two Toledo swordsmiths called Ignacio Fernandez, mentioned in the 1962 Catalogue, are presumably those recorded by Francisco Palomares in his list published in 1762 as Nos. 68 and 69 (Seitz, Blankwaffen, II, pp. 266-7). Unfortunately he gives neither man a date. The mark of the older man was a bell, that of the younger man a figure 3 crowned in a shield-shaped compartment, which is probably what appears on A662. R. Ramírez de Arellano refers to a swordsmith of this name who in 1708 was tenant of a house in the Calle de Armas belonging to the Foundation of Gregorio López, in the parish of St. Nicholas, in Toledo (1920, p. 88). De Leguina says he died in 1708, and that Palomares suggested that he was the grandson or great-grandson of the first of this name (1897, p. 94). The only copy of the pamphlet of Palomares known to the author does not in fact give this information (Seitz., loc. cit).