The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Dagger
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • North Europe
  • c.1600 - c. 1650
    c. 1600 (blade)
    1645 - 1650 (hilt)
  • Steel and leather, chiselled
  • Length: 44.4 cm
    Length: 28.5 cm, blade
    Width: 2.1 cm
    Weight: 0.425 kg
  • A786
  • European Armoury III
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Dagger, composite, made up of a flattened, spherical pommel of steel chiselled in relief with the recumbent figure of Mars, or alternatively the personification of fire on one side and trophies on the other; button; grip of oval section bound with leather and reinforced with vertical steel straps and a collar at either end; short guard with slight outward bend, chiselled in the round as torsos; flattened side-ring chiselled with a recumbent figure; the escutcheon with a turbaned figure on one side and a monkey or satyr on the other; blade of diamond section, strongly ridged, grooved and pierced, the ricasso flattened on one side.

    Hilt North European, about 1645-50; blade about 1600.

    The guard is presumably from a light sword. All of the parts in fact are probably associated. The figure on the pommel appears to derive from a plaque of about 1611 by Caspar Enderlein (1560-1633), on which the figure represents ‘Fire’ (an example is in the Victoria and Albert Museum, no. 986-1907). It is possible of course that both depend on a common source. It has been suggested that the Enderlein plaque derives from a figure on a piece of pewter of 1580 by François Briot (c. 1550- c. 1620), which is itself based on an engraving of Mars by Etienne Delaune. (I. Weber, Deutsche, niederländische and französische Renaissanceplaketten, 1975, no. 746.2; A. Radcliffe, letter of 3 December 1982).