The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Smallsword with scabbard
  • Smallsword with scabbard
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • HIlt- Paris, France; blade- probably Solingen, Germany
  • 1640 - 1800
    c. 1640 - c. 1650 (hilt and scabbard hook)
    mid 18th century (locket and chape)
    c. 1800 (blade)
  • Steel, gold, silver, leather and velvet, gilt, chiselled and pierced
  • Length: 85.3 cm
    Width: 2.3 cm
    Weight: 0.51 kg, sword
    Weight: 0.1 kg, scabbard
  • A687
  • European Armoury III
Commentary
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Smallsword and scabbard, the hilt of the sword composed of a spherical pommel, flattened on four sides to form arched panels supported by caryatids and containing classical subjects chiselled in high relief on a ground of matted gold; flattened button; grip bound with silver and steel wire, oblong in section and swelling at the centre; slender knuckle-guard pierced and chiselled in the round with a figure of Neptune astride a mermaid, and returning to the pommel where it is chiselled to represent a sea-monster and secured by a projecting eye; short, single, slightly curving quillon formed of a nude female figure chiselled in the round; slight hilt-arms of oval section, studded with spots of gold; shell-guard formed of two oval panels of unequal size decorated inside and out with equestrian combats chiselled in bold relief on a ground matt gold, pierced with fourteen holes in all, and the edges decorated with grotesques and bands of gold dots; blade of later date, of bayonet-section, with trophies and scrollwork blued flat on a ground of grey steel, a velvet washer remains at the hilt to ease contact with the locket of the sheath. Since the decoration of the pommel includes the cutting of the Gordian knot, the whole cycle may represent scenes from the Life of Alexander the Great. The blade is of triangular section with hollow-ground faces.

    Scabbard of black leather mounted with a locket and ferrule decorated like the hilt, the tongue or belt-hook to engage the frog is chiselled in relief with a male figure in Roman armour.

    Hilt and scabbard-hook, French (Paris) about 1640-50; blade probably
    German (Solingen) about 1800; locket and chape mid-18th century.

    Hayward, Apollo, XLVIII, pp. 33-5, fig. II; Norman, 1967, Illus. 11; Norman and Barne, 1980, pp. 202 and 329, with a list of comparable hilts.