The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Halberd
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Germany
  • 1593
  • Iron or steel, copper alloy, velvet and copper and gold, etched and gilded
  • Length: 59.5 cm, including socket
    Length: 61 cm, straps
    Weight: 3.01 kg
  • Inscription: 'E E' within a palm and a laurel branch
    Inscription: '1593'
  • A953
  • European Armoury II
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Halberd, the head with a tall, double-edged top-spike with central ridge; crescent-shaped (concave) axe-blade and drooping fluke; square socket with four long straps secured to the staff by screws over brass rosettes; riding on the socket is a strong square-shaped band. The head is etched on one side with the arms of Archduke Ernst (1553-1595), governor of the Low Countries, under an archducal bonnet and encircled with the collar of the Golden Fleece, the initials E E within palm and olive branches, and further decorated with conventional foliage on a granular ground. On the reverse side the initials are repeated with crossed timbers, and the flint and steel of Burgundy; the fluke bears on both sides the date 1593. The upper part of the staff is covered with brown velvet, and retains two tassels of copper wire formerly gilt.

    German, dated 1593.

    This halberd is one of a series, of which five are in the Deutsches Historisches Museum at Berlin (formerly the Museum für Deutsche Geschichte; the 1986 supplement records the old inventory numbers as W65-9), one in the Metropolitan Museum, New York (ex-Dino). The halberd in the Musée de l’Armée, Brussels, (formerly Porte de Hal Collection, inv. No. 4105) is not in fact identical (as was stated in the 1962 Catalogue), (for both see Squilbeck, Bulletin des Musées Royaux d' Art et d'Histoire, XXXII, pp. 82-7, figs. 5 and 6).

    This particular series of halberds was presumably made for the Archduke's guard when he became Governor of the Netherlands in 1593 (Thomas, Vienna Jahrbuch, LXV, 1969, p. 63).