The Wallace Collection

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Smallsword with scabbard
  • Smallsword with scabbard
  • Victoire Coullier
  • HIlt- Paris, France; blade- Solingen, Germany
  • c. 1780 - c. 1785
  • Steel, gold, velvet and leather, engraved, blued, gilded and chiselled
  • Length: 81.5 cm
    Width: 2 cm
    Weight: 0.365 kg, sword
    Weight: 0.08 kg, scabbard
  • Inscription: 'COULLIER Successeur De Monsieur Pichon Fourbisseur De Msg. Le / Comte D'artois Rue St. Honoré à la Victoire à Paris.'
    Inscription: 'À La Victoire Collier (sic) rue St. Hon' In punched dots
  • A689
  • European Armoury III
Commentary
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Smallsword and scabbard, the hilt of the sword made up of an oviform pommel with turned button; wire-bound grip of rectangular section swelling at the centre; slender knuckle-guard of oval section also swelling at the centre and returning to the pommel which is holed to receive it; hilt-arms and diminutive quillon terminating in a lion's head, the escutcheon with square stepped base; small oval shell shell-guards. The whole decorated with oval panels containing classical figures, busts, palms and laurel leaves delicately chiselled in low relief in bright steel upon a ground of matted gold. The blade is of triangular with hollow-ground faces; a velvet washer remains at the hilt to ease contact with the locket on the sheath. The blade is blued and gilt at the forte, with engraved ornament on one side and inscribed on the other:

    COULLIER Successeur De Monsieur Pichon Fourbisseur De Msg. Le Comte D'artois Rue St. Honoré à la Victoire à Paris.

    The hilt of like workmanship to A690-1.

    Scabbard of black leather with a locket furnished with a ring and ferrule of steel, decorated en suite with the hilt. An oval panel on the locket is inscribed in punched dots:

    À La Victoire Collier <sic> rue St. Honor

    About 1780-85; hilt French (Paris); blade probably German (Solingen).
    Laking, Art Journal, 1903, p. 262, fig. 628.

    A sword with the same signature and bearing the date letter for 1784 on its silver hilt is in the Metropolitan Museum, New York (Dean, Cat. of Court Swords, no. 72, pl. LV).

    Diderot (Encyclopèdie...des Sciences, des Arts et des Métiers, Paris, 1757, Tome VII, p. 222 s.v Fourbisseur) states that the Fourbisseurs of Paris never wrought the blades which they mounted. The finest they obtained from Germany (Solingen) and other from Franche Comté and St. Etienne en Forez.
    P. Jarlier records Victor Coullier at 574 rue Saint-Honoré in the period 1770-90; he became fourbisseur du comte d' Artois et fourbisseur de la Maison du roi in 1772 (Repertoire, 1976, cols. 68-9).

    Jarlier also records Pichon, fourbisseur, Paris, from 1767 to 1790, and gives addresses at rue Saint-Honoré, vis-à-vis Saint-Honoré, and à la Victoire à Paris (op. cit., cols. 220-1). However in his 2e Supplement, 1981, col. 220, he indicates that there were two or perhaps three men of this name active in Paris in the 18th century; Claude, received as maître fourbisseur on 22 April 1740; Nicholas-Joseph, received as fils de maître on 20 September 1789 (? son of Claude); and a third, Christian name unknown, who was fourbisseur de Monsieur Ie comte d' Artois, à la Victoire à Paris. It is presumably this last man that Goullier succeeded.