The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Calendar sword
  • Calendar sword
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Hilt- Germany or Swizerland; blade- Solingen, Germany
  • c. 1520- c. 1620 (blade)
    c. 1520 - 1540 (guard)
    probably early 17th century (pommel)
  • Steel, gold and copper alloy, etched and gilt
  • Length: 86.3 cm
    Width: 4 cm
    Weight: 1.25 kg
  • Stamp: bust of a king with sceptre half-length
    Maker's mark: orb and cross
  • A725
  • European Armoury I
Commentary
History
Further Reading
  • Calendar sword, the hilt made up of a spirally fluted (writhen), pear-shaped pommel (associated); oval-section grip elaborately bound with brass wire; straight crossguard slightly bent horizontally at the ends, of octagonal section ending in balls held in a twist; side-ring of trefoil shape with overlapping points; pommel, guard and side-ring are gilt. Flat blade finely etched with a calendar (in German) and the signs of the Zodiac; it is deeply stamped with the bust of a king, half-length, bearing a sceptre, and a maker's mark.

    Pommel, probably early 17th century; guards German or Swiss, about 1520-40; blade German (Solingen), about 1620.

    De Beaumont Catalogue, no. 37.

    Provenance: Comte de Nieuwerkerke.

    The hilt appears to be of earlier date than the blade. The mark is not the usual king's head of J. Wundes, but a demi-figure of a king with sceptre. It is found on a calendar sword in the Musée de l' Armée (J 703), stated to have been carried by Pappenheim at the Battle of Lützen in 1632. It also occurs on a calendar sword in the Wartburg (Diener-Schönberg, No. 401), and on one formerly at Erbach. It is stamped on an executioner's sword in the Stead Collection, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge; on another at Ambras; also on swords of various kinds at Schwarzburg, no. 369; Metropolitan Museum, New York (dated 1620); two examples of blades with calendars are in the Royal Armouries and one in the H. G. Keasbey sale, New York, 28 November, 1925, lot 230, re-set in an English 'mortuary' hilt. For further references to calendar swords, see under no. A711.