The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Rapier
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • France, probably
  • c. 1640 - c. 1645
  • Steel, blackened, chiselled, pierced and chased
  • Length: 129.5 cm
    Width: 1.6 cm
    Weight: 0.708 kg
  • A678
  • European Armoury III
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Rapier, the hilt composed of a flattened spherical pommel, narrowly gadrooned, the collar and button chiselled with C-shaped scrolls; spirally fluted, wire-bound grip; slender knuckle-guard of hexagonal section bent to a square profile, with a moulding at the centre, the end screwed to the pommel; single short quillon ending in a button; small circular cup or shell-guard formed of eight panels of conventional palmettes delicately pierced and chased, joined to the quillon by a forked bar; the whole of blackened steel. Blade of diamond section with hollowed sides, the ricasso square and covered by along, box-like, fluted escutcheon; about half an inch of the blade has been broken off.

    Probably French, about 1640-5.

    Norman and Barne, 1980, pp. 173(2), 273 and 375, pI. 81. This light rapier is a prototype of the French smallsword which came into fashion towards the end of the 17th century.

    This type of sword is not a prototype of the French smallsword, but rather a contemporary development which proved abortive.