The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Sword
  • Sword
  • Caspar Spät (+1691) , (hilt)
  • Munich, Germany
  • probably c. 1640
  • Steel and gold, gilded and chiselled
  • Length: 95.4 cm
    Width: 1.9 cm
    Weight: 0.84 kg
  • A672
  • European Armoury III
Commentary
History
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Sword, the hilt composed of a flattened, vase-shaped pommel, chiselled in low relief with a classical warrior on one side and a trophy of arms on the other, and with a monster's head and scales at either side, on a gilt ground; large button; steel grip of baluster form chiselled with vertical bands of scale-work piqué with gold dots; knuckle-guard and side-ring decorated to match, with an oval in the centre chased with Minerva on one side and a trophy of arms on the other. A curled hook projects from the bottom of the knuckle-guard; short, curved quillon with scroll-shaped end and chiselled with a monster's head like the pommel; the whole elaborately decorated with bands of scale-work piqué with gold spots; large oblong escutcheon, extending over the ricasso, of like decoration, with monsters heads on one side and trophies of arms on the other. The blade is plain, of hexagonal section tapering to diamond section towards the point, and with a shallow groove at the forte. The plate originally filling the area encompassed by the loop-guard is missing. The blade has been broken at its centre and carefully mended.

    Hilt by Caspar Spät of Munich, probably about 1640; blade associated.
    De Beaumont Catalogue, no. 59; Laking, European Armour, V, fig. 1503; J. F. Hayward, Apollo, XLIV, 1946, pp. 121-2, fig. XII; Norman, 1967, cover illus.; Norman, Varia, 1976, no. 4, pp. 81-6, pI. 4; Norman and Barne, 1980, pI. 75. Illustrated as no. 140 of' 'Armi lunghe a taglio' among Dassi's drawings of the collection of Ambrogio Uboldo in the Castello Sforzesco, Milan, but with a blade like that now on no. A693.

    Provenance: Comte de Nieuwerkerke.

    Of the finest quality. Caspar Spät succeeded Daniel Sadeler (d. 1632) as steel-chiseller to the Bavarian court and worked in the same style. He died in 1691. The scale-work and chiselled decoration, characteristic of Sadeler's work, closely resembles that on a pair of pistols, nos. A1155-6 q.v. The sharp tapering of the blade anticipates the type known as the Colichemarde, which came into fashion about 1680.