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
  • Cup- Naples, Italy; blade probably Toledo, Spain
  • c. 1660
  • Iron, steel and gold, chiselled pierced and gilded
  • Length: 131.1 cm
    Length: 118 cm, blade
    Width: 2.2 cm
    Weight: 1.215 kg
    Inscription: 'IN TOLEDO'
    Maker's mark Stamped
  • A654
  • European Armoury II
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Cup-hilt rapier, the hilt made up of a flattened spherical pommel, chiseled in low relief with masks and scroll-work, button threaded to screw on; spirally fluted, wire-bound grip; long, straight quillons of circular section spirally fluted, and ending in rosette-shaped buttons, the escutcheon chiselled with a mask on each side; knuckle-guard spirally fluted like the quillons, hilt-arms, and solid cup, gilt as a background to an applied covering of pierced ornament, which is secured by a row of iron-headed rivets, the edge pierced and bent over. The covering of the cup is decorated with masks, dolphins and conventional scrolled foliage, pierced and chiselled. On a riband round the base it is inscribed:


    An inner shell (guardapolvo) of like decoration; long slender blade of diamond section wider at the forte; where the central groove is incised on both sides:


    The ricasso of rectangular section is stamped on each side with a bladesmith's mark, which does not resemble that of any Toledo craftsman. It is probably an Italian imitation of a Spanish blade.

    Italian (Neopolitan), about 1660

    Other cup-hilt rapiers signed by Palumbo are in the E. W. Stead Collection in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, and in the Papal Armoury in the Vatican (Fleetwood, Z.H.W.K., XXI, 1931, p. 281). Another was in the Berchtold sale, 1898, and the late Percy MacQuoid possessed one which may be identical with the Stead example. Another was in the S.E. Lucas sale, Christie's, 14 May, 1956, lot 115. It is rare to find hilts signed on the cup in this way. See A655, which is signed by Estrada of Madrid, 1701; other examples occur with the name of Antonio Cilenta, and one formerly in the Pauilhac collection (now Musée de l’Armée, Paris) is signed: ESTA ESPADA ES DE MIGVEL ANGLADA SE HIZO EN ZARRAGOZA ANO 1658, round the rim of the cup. Naples was at this date under Spanish rule.