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
  • c. 1780 - c. 1790
  • Steel, gold, velvet, wood and fish-skin, blued, chiselled and gilded
  • Length: 79.7 cm
    Width: 2 cm
    Weight: 0.368 kg, sword
    Weight: 0.085 kg, scabbard
  • A691
  • European Armoury III
Commentary
History
Further Reading
  • Smallsword, the hilt made up of a slight oviform pommel with turned button brightly gilt; wire-bound grip of rectangular section; slender knuckle-guard of oval section swelling at the centre and returning to the pommel which is bored to receive it; single, short quillon with lobated end, the escutcheon squared and stepped at the base; diminutive hilt arms, small shell-guard formed of two oval panels; the whole decorated with equestrian military figures and others in clothing of the eighteenth century, rococo foliage and cartouches delicately chiselled in bright steel in low relief on a ground of matt gold. The blade is of triangular bayonet-section, blued and gilt at the forte; a washer of red velvet remains at the hilt to ease contact with the locket of sheath. Of like workmanship to A689-90.

    The scabbard is covered with cream-coloured fishskin and mounted with a locket and brand furnished with two rings, and at the point a chape of steel decorated like the hilt.

    About 1780-90; hilt French (Paris); blade probably German (Solingen).
    Laking, Art Journal, 1903, p. 262, fig. 627; Hayward, Apollo, XLIX, pp. 76-8 and 80, fig. V; Norman, 1967, illus. 19.

    Provenance: previously catalogued as coming from the collections of A. Beurdeley and the Comte de Nieuwerkerke, but the evidence upon which this statement was made cannot be traced.

    The style and workmanship of the hilt is to be compared with that of a court sword in the Reuball Collection, Metropolitan Museum, New York (Dean, Cat. Of Court Swords, no. 89, pl. LXVII).