The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Smallsword
  • Smallsword
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Hilt- North Italy, possibly Brescia; blade- probably Toledo, Spain
  • c. 1660
  • Steel, chiselled pierced and blackened
  • Length: 115.7 cm
    Width: 1.7 cm
    Weight: 0.69 kg
  • Inscription: 'XXX FERNANDO . IN . TOLEDO XXX'
  • A686
  • European Armoury III
Commentary
History
Further Reading
  • Smallsword, the hilt composed of an oviform, vase-shaped pommel chiselled in relief with busts of the youthful Louis XIV, lions' masks, and with quatrefoil button; wire-bound grip of rectangular section swelling in the middle; chased knuckle-guard with medallion head in the centre and short, straight quillons ending in knobs chiselled to the form of lion's heads; hilt-arms, small and formed of two scrolls; two oval shell-guards pierced and chased with foliage and medallions of Louis XIV; the whole hilt is of steel chiselled in low relief upon a blackened ground, incorporating the bust of the young king, which occurs in all eight times. The flexible blade of diamond section, the single groove on the forte incised on either side with the same inscription:

    XXX FERNANDO . IN . TOLEDO XXX

    but the form of the letters is not Spanish. The short ricasso is overlaid by the prolongation of the hilt.

    About 1660; hilt North Italian (possibly Brescian); blade probably Spanish (Toledo).

    De Beaumont Catalogue, no. 61.

    Provenance: Comte de Nieuwerkerke.

    The laureate bust of the youthful Louis XIV is reproduced from that struck on his coinage.

    The knuckle-guard is an addition made during the working life of the sword (compare A685).

    Seitz, Liv Rust Kammaren, III, pp. 169-200, fig. 37; Norman and Barne, 1980, p. 383.

    The bust on the guards is not apparently that of Louis XIV. A very similar hilt which has never had a knuckle-guard is in the Royal Armouries, no. IX. 1012.