The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Cup-hilt rapier
  • Cup-hilt rapier
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Toledo, Spain
  • probably 3rd quarter of 17th century
  • Iron and steel, chiselled and pierced
  • Length: 108 cm
    Width: 2 cm
    Weight: 0.9 kg
  • Inscription: 'DE PEDRO DE / TORO TOLEDO'
  • A647
  • European Armoury II
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Cup-hilt rapier, the hilt made up of a round, flattened pommel, hollow, pierced and chiselled with foliage, and topped with a cruciform acanthus; hollow grip, pierced and chiselled with scrolls; straight quillons, spirally fluted and chased, ending in rosette knobs; the edge of the cup is turned over and notched, the cup itself pierced and sharply chiselled with scrolls of conventional leaves and berries, including exotic birds; inner shell or guardapolvo, of like decoration; hilt-arms and knuckle-guard spirally fluted and chased like the quillons; slender blade of flattened hexagonal section, grooved at the forte and inscribed:


    Short ricasso. This rapier is remarkable for balance and the quality of its chiselled decoration. Compare the design and workmanship of the grip of the parrying dagger A832, and that of the rapier A648, which is also inscribed with the name of Pedro de Toro. The guardapolvo is decorated similarly to the cup but apparently by a less skilled hand.

    Probably third quarter of the 17th century; blade Spanish (Toledo).

    Norman & Barne, 1980, pp. 174-5. L' Art Ancien VIII, no. 958; De Beaumont Catalogue, no. 53 and pl. 4. This rapier and the dagger A828 are reproduced together on pl. 4, and are presumably described by Beaumont under the same number in his catalogue, viz. 53.

    Provenance: Comte de Nieuwerkerke.

    The statement in the 1962 Catalogue that A647 was in the Mahon sale (Mannheim and Pillet, 15-16 April 1872) as lot 63 is almost certainly incorrect since it is illustrated in L' art ancien at about this date in the Nieuwerkerke collection. This lot was bought in (marked catalogue in the Bibliotheque d' Art et d' Archeologie de l' Universite, Paris).

    Jehan Lhermite, writing of his visit to Toledo in 1600 and apparently copying a Spanish document, refers to Pedro de Toro and gives his mark as a letter P under a crown (Le passetemps, II, 1896, p. 296, no. 18). A man of this name is given under no. 81 in the list of Toledo swordsmiths published by Francisco Palomares in 1762. He gives two versions of his mark, the first is the letters PO in a shield-shaped compartment with a crowned upper edge; the second is a letter P under a very elaborate crown all in a shield-shaped compartment (Seitz, Blankwaffen, II, pp. 266-7). A swordsmith of this name, living in Toledo in 1614, is also recorded by Rafael Ramírez de Arellano (1920, p. 307). His daughter Maria married a member of the de la Paz family. According to de Leguina, who gives his marks as a letter P, with or without a crown, and a half moon in profile, he was active as early as 1580 (1897, p. 161). A blade in the Hermitage Museum, Leningrad, inscribed with the name of this man, also bears a mark of a small letter o over a large P all under an elaborate crown (1908 cat., no. B397). Another signed blade with a very similar mark is in the old Electoral Armoury at Dresden (1899 cat., no. E688; Haenel, 1923, pI. 60); however, a second signed blade also at Dresden (1899 cat., no. E689a), bears marks very similar to those ascribed by Francisco Palomares to Ignacio Fernandez (no. 69; Seitz, loc. cit.). A mark similar to the first of those given by Palomares to Pedro de Toro occurs on a signed blade in the Museo Civico Marzoli, Brescia (inv. no. 591; Rossi & Carpegna, 1969, no. 165). A blade formerly in the Estruch collection is inscribed PEDRO DE TORO EN TOLEDO AÑO DE 1580 (no. 308). The form of the letters is, however, not consistent with such an early date.