The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Dagger
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • England or Scotland
  • c. 1610 (blade)
  • Steel, copper and gold, etched gilt and inlaid
  • Length: 24.5 cm, blade
    Width: 2 cm
    Weight: 0.245 kg
  • Inscription: 'S.G.'
    Maker's mark: Crowned 'M' Inlaid in copper, 6.5cm from hilt
  • A823
  • European Armoury I
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Dagger, a modern composite, comprised of a fluted, spherical pommel; curved guard, fluted and swelling at the ends, the V-shaped escutcheon, which shows traces of gilding, overlapping the ricasso at the centre; spirally fluted grip bound with copper wire.

    The blade, from am Anglo-Scottish dudgeon dagger, is of diamond section, with each face slightly hollowed; strong ricasso; etched all over with leaves on hatched ground, heavily gilt. A coat of arms on one face of the ricasso, on the other the initials S.G. maker's mark, a crowned M in copper, inlaid on both sides 6.5 cm from the hilt.

    The blade may be either English or Scottish, c. 1610.

    Provenance: Félix Petitprêtre (Une dague en fer ciselé du 16e sic.lame à talon gravé doré– garentie ancienne, 300 fr.; receipted bill, 1 May, 1867); Comte de Nieuwerkerke.

    The group of daggers to which the blade of A823 belongs have been proved to be of later date and more numerous than was formerly believed. Several of them have English inscriptions and are dated in the first quarter of the 17th century.

    The two daggers in the Royal Armouries, traditionally those of Colonel Blood (ffoulkes, Antiquaries' Journal, VII (1927), pp. 139-40), belong to this group and are all signed with a crowned T and a crowned L respectively; three in the collection of the late M. Pauilhac (one with the same mark of a crowned M like A823); one in the Musée de l' Armée (Mariaux, pl. XXVII, 1), marked with a crowned R and inscribed; My Hope and Treist is in ye Lord, with a lion pommel to hilt; two (one a plug bayonet which also has the crowned M mark) in the Metropolitan Museum, New York (Dean, Catalogue of Daggers, nos. 58 and 330); one without etching, but with the same mark of a crowned M, in the Salisbury Museum (Stevens, Antiquaries Journal, XV (1935), p. 71); two in the museum of Antiquities at Edinburgh; one was at Browsholme Hall, Lancs. (sold Sotheby's, 21 December 1956); one was in the William Meyrick Collection in 1861, dated 1611, with the Royal Badge and initials of Henry, Prince of Wales; and one acquired by the late Mr. R. W. Symonds is described by C. R. Beard in The Connoisseur, CVII (May 1941), pp. 210-11. This last example is dated 1616, and Mr. Beard has suggested that the form of the English inscription on this specimen indicates a Scottish or North Country origin for the whole group. A further example was once in the possession of Mr. John Wallace.

    Sir Guy Laking's dagger with the same mark of a crowned M was in the Mackay sale, Christie's, 27 July 1939, lot 94. The dagger, long known as the 'Robinson dagger', inscribed ‘God guide the hand that I instand’, passed to Dr. Figdor and is now in Vienna (see Laking III, fig. 815)

    Blair and Wallace, in Scottish Art Review, IX, 1963, pp. 11-15, 34 and 37, list forty-one daggers of this group and a further eight having a marginal resemblance. A further ten have been identified since 1963 (J. M. Wallace, personal communication, 1982). The Royal Armouries daggers are nos. X.214 a and b. The coat of arms of A832 has so far defied identification, two of the charges being indistinct.