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A RARE BASKET-HILTED BROADSWORD, the wide medieval blade with central fuller on each face of the forte covered by a riveted tapering plano-convex rod, incised on each face with the running wolf mark of Passau, inscriptions, of which only 'aIL' can be read, and devices including a Maltese cross (all rubbed), the large iron hilt with characteristic 'Irish' guard with fore-guards, of slender circular section bars incorporating S's and saltires, the latter with central discs engraved with a coat-of-arms (rubbed), the lower part filled with solid plates decorated with punched conventional floral motifs, onion-shaped pommel with pierced separate button, and shagreen-covered wooden grip (replaced) bound with twisted copper wire, English or Scottish, early 17th Century, the blade early 14th Century

Details
A RARE BASKET-HILTED BROADSWORD, the wide medieval blade with central fuller on each face of the forte covered by a riveted tapering plano-convex rod, incised on each face with the running wolf mark of Passau, inscriptions, of which only 'aIL' can be read, and devices including a Maltese cross (all rubbed), the large iron hilt with characteristic 'Irish' guard with fore-guards, of slender circular section bars incorporating S's and saltires, the latter with central discs engraved with a coat-of-arms (rubbed), the lower part filled with solid plates decorated with punched conventional floral motifs, onion-shaped pommel with pierced separate button, and shagreen-covered wooden grip (replaced) bound with twisted copper wire, English or Scottish, early 17th Century, the blade early 14th Century
38½in. blade
Provenance
W. Wareing Faulder, Christie's, 2 August, 1889, lot 39
Literature
J.T. Drummond, Ancient Scottish Weapons, 1881, pl. VIII, 1; Egerton Castle, Schools and masters of fence, 1884, pl. II, No. 12
Exhibited
Exhibition of Industrial Art, ect., Ancoats, June and July, 1881, No. 212

Lot Essay

The unidentified coat-of-arms on the two shields includes a lion rampant, facing sinister, within a plain border. The engraving of the sword in Drummond's Ancient Scottish Weapons shows the arms incorrectly (with the lion facing the other way and a border resembling those found on the royal Stuart arms of Scotland, and also as if coloured red). Drummond also shows a red lining to the hilt which no longer exists.
The form of the hilt, and the unscrewable pommel-button with a transverse piercing, presumably for a tommy-bar are paralleled on the well-known early 17th Century silver-decorated sword of Sir William Twysden in the Metropolitan Museum, New York

See C. Blair, 'The Early Basket Hilt in Britain', Scottish Weapons and Fortifications (ed. D. Caldwell), 1981, pp. 153-252

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