The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
War hammer
  • War hammer
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • North Italy
  • c. 1510
  • Iron or steel, gold and velvet, etched and gilt
  • Length: 69.5 cm
    Length: 18 cm, hammer to beak
    Length: 39.3 cm, straps
    Weight: 1.51 kg
  • A976
  • European Armoury I
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • War hammer, the head of two parts: (1) The hammer of hollowed diamond section with flat diamond-shaped face, balanced on the reverse side by a sharp beak (bec-de-faucon); (2) the leaf-shaped, vertical spike, springing from a faceted knob; this becomes a rectangular socket which passes over the neck of the head and continues down the haft in narrow straps, thus securing the hammer and beak. The grip at the bottom end is covered with velvet. The metal parts are minutely decorated with portrait medallions, scrolls, etc., etched and solidly gilt. On one side of the fluke is etched a shield charged with a lion rampant and a label of three points; on the other side is etched a device which appears to be a lance-rest of Italian type.

    North Italian, about 1510.

    Boccia and Coelho, 1975, fig. 266, and note on pp. 357-8.

    Provenance: E Juste (Marteau d' armes italien à pointe, 200 fr. (with other pieces); receipted bill, 3 October, 1868); Comte de Nieuwerkerke.
    The decoration is typical of Italian etched floral ornament on a hatched ground as practised between 1480 and 1520, and is very lightly bitten; the medallions which contain antique bearded heads are now indistinct. The haft has been shortened and the gilt, moulded ferrule (pommel) on the end is modern.