The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Spetum
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Italy or France
  • c. 1600 - c. 1610
  • Iron or steel, wood and gold, etched and gilded
  • Length: 244 cm
    Length: 57.1 cm, head
    Weight: 1.65 kg
  • A1025
  • European Armoury II
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Spetum, with tapering, two-edged blade with central ridge; at the base are two pointed, upward curving flukes, ridged at the points. At the angles two circular holes are pierced. The flukes and lower part of the blade are etched with conventional strapwork and foliage on a hatched ground. The whole design was formerly gilt, the gilding now remains in the sunk portions only. Faceted socket etched with foliage, and pierced with a transverse lug with acorn-shaped terminals.

    Staff of soft wood, possibly poplar, formerly covered with textile and profusely studded with nails with small copper heads stamped as rosettes. Tassel missing, as is also the ferrule, but the end of the haft is cut to a tapering octagonal shape to receive it.

    Possibly French, about 1600-10.

    Illustrated by Vollon in his Curiosités of 1868 (Savill, 1980), De Beaumont Catalogue, pl. 11.

    Provenance: M. Baur (Pertuisane à lame tridente, gravée et damasquinée, 120 fr.; receipted bill, 10 November, 1866); Comte de Nieuwerkerke.

    Achille Marozzo simply calls this type of weapon a Spiedo (Opera Nova, Modena 1536, fol. 86v.). The contemporary name for this type of weapon in English was probably a "three grayned staff" (Dillon, Archaeologia, LI, p. 267). S. Pyhrr (letter of 20 March 1979) suggested that the decoration, with its strapwork cartouches and thick rubbery foliage on a hatched ground, was typically French. He pointed out that similar decoration occurs on French armours of the period between about 1600 and about 1610, for instance no. G.I 05 in the Musée de l'Armée, Paris, and on two armours of Henry, Prince of Wales (died 1612), now at Windsor Castle (1904 cat., nos. 786 and 802).