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A VERY RARE ENGLISH BACKSWORD

Details
A VERY RARE ENGLISH BACKSWORD

CIRCA 1610

With straight blade (point missing) and broad fuller for nearly its full length on each side, stamped respectively 'Petther' and 'Wirsberg', and corresponding narrow fuller bordering the back, the ricasso struck with a bladesmith's mark on one side, iron swept hilt comprising short quillons (one missing), arms, the tip of the rear one linked to the knuckle-guard by an S-shaped diagonal loop and partially filled between by an upturned bar, inner stirrup-shaped ring-guard and diagonal loop-guard, and disc-shaped pommel with circular central piercing en suite with the ends of the quillons, the bar on the front arm and the centres of the knuckle- and outer loop-guard, the surfaces throughout retaining the remains of encrusted silver and gold interlaced strapwork involving fruit, foliage, and cherub's heads (very worn and rust patinated overall, grip a modern replacement)
34in. (86.3cm.)

Lot Essay

The hilt of this sword is clearly by the same hand as the very similar one on a rapier in the Tøjhusmuseum, Copenhagen (No. C 241/42) and a detached cruciform hilt in the Victoria & Albert Museum (M28-1975) formerly belonging to Lord Kimberley. On both of these the central holes in the pommel and circular features on the guard are partly filled by applied silver cherub's heads. Similar heads almost certainly existed on the present sword. The Kimberley sword is accompanied by a by-knife en suite bearing the mark of a London cutler. All three swords have been attributed to Robert South, the English royal sword-cutler
See Claude Blair, 'An English Sword with an Ottoman Blade in the Swiss National Museum - The Hilt and Scabbard' in K. Stüber & H. Wetter, Blankwaffen, 1982, pp. 58-63, fig. 9
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