The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Sword
  • Sword
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Hilt- possibly Netherlands; blade- Germany, Solingen
  • c. 1635 - c. 1645
  • Steel, blackened, etched, chased and chiselled
  • Length: 100 cm
    Length: 84 cm, blade
    Width: 2.4 cm
    Weight: 0.855 kg
  • Inscription: 'IHN · SOLLINGEN' Etched twice
    Maker's mark Stamped
  • A681
  • European Armoury III
Commentary
Further Reading
  • Sword, the hilt composed of a flattened spherical pommel and button in one piece, strongly chiselled in relief in a naturalistic manner with overlapping petals and trefoils mounted on slender stems, the surface chased with vertical lines; wire-bound grip; knuckle-guard and single upward curving quillon ending in a petalled knop; side-ring swelling like the knuckle-guard at the centre into bunches of petals, separated by a disk, finely chiselled and chased like the pommel, a plain thumb-ring being secured by means of a tongue under the grip; the escutcheon decorated on both sides with a grotesque mask in low relief; the whole of blackened steel. Straight, narrow, single-edged blade of hollowed double groove at the forte where it is etched twice on both sides with the inscription:

    IHN · SOLLINGEN

    Traces of etched decoration, including a hand holding a scimitar. The tang is stamped on one side with a bladesmith's mark.

    About 1635-45; hilt possibly Dutch; blade German (Solingen).

    Norman, Varia, 1976, No. 4, pp. 81-7, pI. 1; Norman and Barne, 1980, pp. 53,
    187 and 375, pI. 72. The contemporary name for this kind of sword with a light back-edged blade was probably a 'shearing-sword' (see Sir William Hope of Balcombie, The Scots Fencing Master, Edinburgh 1687, p. 158). There is a very similar sword in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge; one was sold in the von Kaunitz sale, Fischer, Lucerne, 1935, lot 6; and another of this type passed through the hands of S. J. Whawell and Cyril Andrade (Laking, IV, fig. 1516). See also the petalled hilt of A638.

    Swords with hilts of this kind are often described as Viennese. Compare the mark of a pot of flowers on a Solingen sword in the Musée de l' Armée, Paris (Weyersberg, Solinger Schwertschmiede, p. 75) and a rapier in the Metropolitan Museum, New York (no. 1056). Another was at one time in the de Cosson Collection.

    A hilt of very similar design and workmanship in the Musée de l' Armée, Paris (no. J.Po. 1568), is mounted on a blade dated 1660, but this, of course, may not be its original blade. This type of light hilt decorated with overlapping petals attracted many 19th-century copyists.