The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Serving knife
  • Serving knife
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Germany
  • c. 1470
  • Iron or steel, copper alloy, mahogany and antler, engraved
  • Length: 31.4 cm, blade
    Width: 5.2 cm, at shoulder
    Width: 6.2 cm, at broadest part
    Weight: 0.21 kg
  • Decoration: Swastika in brass
    Maker's mark Stamped
  • A885
  • European Armoury I
Commentary
History
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Serving knife, one of a pair with A884, and a set with sheath A886. Flattened octagonal handle mounted in brass engraved with conventional flowers and the transverse bands, twice, the Gothic letter V, or O; the grip, inlaid with two mahogany panels which carry diamond-shaped plaques of antler. It is enlarged to form a pointed pear-shaped pommel, which is pierced with a circular filigree ornament (an openwork pattern, like a rose window, made up of brass strip), and ends in a finial of leaves; broad blade with straight back, rounded at the point, and inlaid on one side with an involved swastika in brass, and stamped with a maker's mark.

    German, about 1470.

    Bailey, Knives and Forks, fig. 6 (1); Hayward, 'Early German cutlery', Apollo Annual, 1949, pp. 60-3, Fig. I.

    Provenance: E. Lowengrad (une trousse à 2 couteaux du XVième siècle, 2,000 fr.; receipted bill, 21 May, 1870); Comte de Nieuwerkerke.

    There is a similar knife in the collection of the late M. Pauilhac at Paris, but M. Buttin regarded this as a clever copy; and compare one in the Kunstgewerbe Museum at Frankfurt-am-Main.

    The swastika in this form has a very long history. Mrs. V. Pritchard has produced instances at Jumièges of the mid-11th century, and at Vercelli, 12th century, and it occurs in graffiti in the churches of Steeple Bumstead and Faversham in England. A very similar knife is in the Electoral Armoury at Dresden, but with a different bladesmith's mark (Uhlemann, Armi antiche, 1967, pp. 3-26, fig. 13a).