The Wallace Collection

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Dagger with scabbard, knife and pricker
  • Dagger with scabbard, knife and pricker
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Germany
  • c. 1570 - c. 1580
  • Steel, silver and wood, false-damascened and engraved
  • Length: 26.2 cm
    Width: 2.1 cm
    Weight: 0.4 kg
  • A756
  • European Armoury I
Commentary
History
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Dagger with scabbard, of the so-called ‘Landsknecht’ type, comprised of a hexagonal, pear-shaped pommel, made in two parts, with button; hexagonal grip swelling at the centre; both pommel and grip are of steel plated with silver, decorated with classical figures on a blued ground; short guard ending in baluster-shaped knobs plated and very lightly engraved; blade of diamond section with central groove and trebly grooved ricasso; steel scabbard plated with silver and decorated with representations of Abraham and Isaac, Lot and his Daughters, the Judgement of Solomon, Mars and Venus, and arabesques, on a blued-steel ground; three steel loops at the back for suspension; knife and pricker, each forged in one piece, the handles having wooden grips; the fourth pocket of the scabbard is empty; it was possibly designed to contain a fork.

    The decoration of the steel has been executed by means of overlay of silver in reserve against a background of grey steel. The outlines and details of the motifs are picked out with engraved lines. On the top of the pommel are foliage scrolls; on the body of the pommel are lion-masks amid strapwork alternating with naked humans, all amid foliage scrolls. On the front of the grip is a representation of Mars, and on the back a grotesque mask, each flanked by panels of foliage. The guard is hatched with plain silver. The decoration of the scabbard is in the same technique.

    German, about 1570-80.

    De Beaumont catalogue, no. 98; Norman & Barne, 1980, p. 252.

    Exhibited: probably no. 1937 in the Musée Rétrospectif, 1865. L' art ancien, I, 26 (Nieuwerkerke).

    Provenance: Comte de Nieuwerkerke.

    The decoration of this dagger and of A758 is comparable to that on a pair of wheel-lock cavalry pistols at Vienna, dated 1574 (Hofjagd- und Rüstkammer, inv. nos. A554-5). Presumably they belong to similar garnitures which would originally also have included priming flasks and cartridge boxes, and possibly swords, all decorated en suite. A very similar dagger is depicted in the portrait of Frederik II of Denmark by Hans Knieper, dated 1588, at Frederiksborg Slott (inv. no. 2171).