The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Lance
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Italy, probably
  • 17th century
  • Iron or steel, wood, paint, gold and leather, gilded
  • Length: 310.2 cm, shaft
    Length: 38 cm, head
    Weight: 4.14 kg
  • A1023
  • European Armoury I
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Lance, of light wood, the lower part in front of the grip circular, with hollow, longitudinal flutes; painted red with a spiral band of white; lance-head in the form of a cross, the ends pierced as rings, gilt, the socket pierced with an oblong aperture and secured to the staff by two straps at the side. Bound in three places with leather straps. Used for running at the ring and quintain.

    Probably Italian, 17th century.

    Laking, European Armour III, fig. 869.

    Provenance: Springer; Louis Carrand (une bois de lance à courir la bague, 111 fr., plus commission; receipted bill [undated but with those of 1870]; this bill may refer to no. A1022); Comte de Nieuwerkerke.

    The three straps bound round the shaft and firmly secured by nails are placed one before and one behind the hand, and the third at the upper end of the flutes. A row of nail holes four and a half inches above the butt of the lance shows where a fourth strap was once fixed. The first is to hold the vamplate, the second to catch on the lance-rest when the moment of impact approaches, when running at the quintain. The missing strap around the base of the lance was to act as a stop for the hooked side-plate on the right of the fore-arçon on which the lance could be rested; for instance, as on A34. A lance with its lower strap in position is illustrated in The Madonna in Glory with St. John the Baptist and St.George, painted about 1529-30 by Florigiero, in S. Giorgio, Udine (B. Berenson, Italian paintings of the Renaissance,
    Venetian school, II, 1957, no. 885).

    The form of the head of A1023 is unsuitable for running either at the ring or the quintain and probably dates from a time when this piece had been converted to carry a flag.

    Provenance: the Springer sale is actually mentioned in the bill, but it is recorded neither in F. H. Cripps-Day, Armour sales, nor in F. Lugt, Repertoire des catalogues de ventes, Troisieme periode 1861-1900, 1964.