The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Partizan
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Poland
  • 1719
  • Steel, oak, gold and silk, stippled and gilded
  • Length: 62.2 cm, including socket
    Length: 45.7 cm, straps
    Weight: 2.69 kg
  • A1017
  • European Armoury III
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Processional partizan, one of a series of eight (A1010-1017). The head is shaped as a double-headed eagle; decorated on each side with the arms of Poland (quarterly, Poland and Lithuania) surmounted by a Latin cross charged upon two swords crossed in saltire, their hilts in base, the cross, etc., charged upon rays and the whole ensigned by a royal crown; wavy, tapering blade. The surface is stippled to represent plumage, and partly gilt; socket of octagonal section with two side-straps; circular staff of oak with a cone-shaped ferrule of steel; large silk tassel, bound with a wire trellis.

    Each of the series differs slightly from the others in shape and decoration.

    Haenel (Kostbare Waffen, pl. 70C) states that these partizans were carried in 1719 by the Polish Guard of Noblemen of Friedrich Augustus I, Elector of Saxony, and King of Poland (1670-1733).

    Polish, 1719.

    Laking, European Armour IV, fig. 1412.

    Examples are in the Rüstkammer at Dresden, in the City Museum at Warsaw, in the Czartoriski Collection in Cracow, and in the Wavel there. The type goes back to the time of John Sobieski. H. Nickel (in Stuber and Wetter, 1982, specifically pp. 179-80) suggested that the presence of the double-headed eagle might have something to do with the marriage of Friedrich August to Maria Josepha of Austria, the Emperor's daughter, in 1719. A further twelve examples were at the Wartburg (nos. 463-74); two are at Arundel Castle; two in the Museo Stibbert, Florence (1917-18 Cat., nos. 1143-4); two in the Metropolitan Museum, New York (nos. 14.25.251 and 378); one was formerly in the collection of S. V. Grancsay; and one in the Kienbusch collection (cat., no. 579, pI. CXXVII), now in the Philadelphia Museum of Art.