The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Glaive
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Solingen, Germany
  • 18th century
  • Steel, gold and beech wood, etched and gilded
  • Length: 63.5 cm, including socket
    Length: 24 cm, straps
    Weight: 1.6 kg
  • Maker's mark: '29 Du Manufacturier J : Phil : Kirschbaum à Sohlingen' Etched
  • A941
  • European Armoury II
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Glaive, with a tall head with strong back-edge and slight moulding of octagonal section at the base, the latter gilt; the blade screws into a socket of circular section, has two short side-straps and a ferrule of bright steel at the end; the staff is of beech. On either side of the blade, etched and gilt, are the arms of Austria impaling Burgundy ancient, crowned, charged upon a double-headed eagle , and accompanied by the Order of the Golden Fleece, for the emperor Leopold I (1658-1705). The back-edge of the blade is etched with a number and the maker's name:

    29 Du Maufacturier J: Phil: Kirschbaum à Sohlingen

    German (Solingen), about 1670.

    Provenance: E. Juste (Un Couteau de brèche aux armes d' Autriche, 250 fr.; receipted bill, 3 April, 1868); Comte de Nieuwerkerke.

    No Solingen smith called Kirschbaum with the initials J.P. is recorded, but a Philip Kirschbaum, Kaufhändler (merchant in edged weapons and cutlery), son of Wilhelm Kirschbaum, is recorded transferring two marks from the old rolls to the new on 12 February 1778 (H. U. Haedeke, letter of 12 January 1983). At Vienna and at Schloss Ambras are many glaives for the Archer Guard bearing Leopold's monogram and the date 1666. They are of a very much more elaborate pattern (see Thomas, Vienna Jahrbuch, LXV, p. 63, and compare fig. 59). Thomas (loc. cit., pp. 77-8, fig. 62) illustrates one of twenty-four weapons similar to A941 in the Musée de l' Armée, Paris, which he suggested were of an archer-guard of the Emperor Charles VI (born 1685, Emperor 1711-40). Gamber suggested, however, that the absence of the arms of Lorraine at the period indicated by the signature indicates that this weapon was used by the Austrian bodyguard of the Dowager Empress Maria Theresa (letter of 31 January 1983). Her husband, Francis of Lorraine, died in 1765, and their son Joseph II (1765-90) succeeded as Emperor and continued the use of the arms of Lorraine combined with those of Austria. Maria Theresa reigned in Bohemia and Hungary as Queen, and in Austria as Archduchess. She died in 1780.