The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Glaive
  • Glaive
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Italy, possibly Brescia
  • c. 1587
  • Iron or steel, copper alloy, silk, gold and velvet, etched
  • Length: 89.5 cm, includes socket
    Length: 22.2 cm, straps
    Weight: 2.73 kg
  • A942
  • European Armoury II
Commentary
History
Further Reading
  • Glaive, with a tall head with curved cutting-edge, the back-edge has a small projection in the form of a dolphin; below this is an upward-curving spike; at the base two moulded horizontal lugs; rectangular socket with faceted edges and two short side-straps; staff of flattened octagonal section with traces of velvet binding and thickly studded with brass rosette-headed nails; it bears two tassels, one above the other, of crimson silk and gilt wire and, at the end, an iron ferrule. The blade is etched on either sides with the arms of France (modern), charged with a bend, which are those of Louis II de Bourbon (1513-1582), duc de Montpensier, Prince of La Roche-sur-Yon and Dauphin of Auvergne, surmounted by a coronet, supported below by a classical warrior.

    Italian (? Brescian), about 1587.

    Exhibited: ? Musée Rétrospectif, 1865, no. 1825. De Beaumont Catalogue, pl. 11; Laking European Armour III, fig,. 889 (b).

    Provenance: Comte de Nieuwerkerke.

    Eleven similar weapons bearing these arms are now in the Metropolitan Museum, New York, whither they came from the collection of the Duc de Dino (cat., nos. H29-39). Since the Baron de Cosson is now known to have purchased these from the Bourbon del Monte family in Florence, L. G. Boccia has identified the original owner as Giovanni Battista Bourbon del Monte (1541-1614), a mercenary commander who entered Venetian service and became Captain-general of the infantry in 1587 (Boccia, Cantelli and Maraini, Stibbert cat., IV, 1976, pp. 227-8 and 244-6 and figs. 69-70). See also the exhibition catalogue The Art of Chivalry, 1982, no. 78, where it is suggested that they may have been made in Brescia. Illustrated in the painting by Tetar van Elven of one of Nieuwerkerke's rooms, inscribed 1866, now in the Museum of Compiègne (no. C51-004; Savill, 1980, and see note under A65), and in Vollon's Interieur (Savill, 1982, and see note under A130).