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English Mortuary Back Sword Circa 1640

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Price: £3,100

Ref: 46.14

Item Description

A good English “Mortuary” hilted back sword dating to the early part of the English Civil War period. The hilt is of typical form consisting of a broad, pierced and chiselled, dish-shaped guard plate, from which three main guard bars extend upwards with their flattened terminals screwed into the pommel. The spaces between these bars are infilled with subsidiary bars and scrolls.

The main guard plate is covered on the outside with boldly chiselled and pierced decoration, consisting of four human male heads with long hair and mustaches, which surround the tang aperture in cruciform manner.  Between these busts roundels of foliage have been cut, the shapes accentuated where the plate has been pierced.  The rim of the plate is chiselled with a rope like border. Beyond this the guard bars and pommel are decorated with chiselled lines in a fern-like manner.

A curled wrist guard is fashioned from the rear of the plate. The pommel is globular in shape and has an integral button and a pronounced flared neck. The attractive baluster shaped wooden grip is covered with shagreen and bound with brass braided wire of different thicknesses, and mounted with “Turks Heads” top and bottom. The grip sits on an iron flanged plug mounted onto the inside of the guard plate and from which two langets extend through the tang aperture to flank the blade either side for a short distance from the hilt.

The blade has a short ricasso with deep wide fullers towards the edge each side. One extends from the hilt to its terminal after approximately 1.25 inches (3 cm) after which the cutting edge begins. Opposite on each side another fuller of similar width commences from the hilt and runs under the spine of the blade to terminate just under 8 inches from the tip and after which the blade is double edged. Another fuller commences at the end of the ricasso between the other two and extends down the middle of the blade and terminates 5 inches (13 cm) from the tip. Each side in the long fullers the word “ANDRIA” flanked by pairs of cross marks is incised into the upper fuller with “FERARA” in the fuller below, similarly flanked by pairs of crosses.

The sword is an attractive original example of its type. The blade is age stained in sporadic dark patches  in places and in general the sword is in fine condition. The blade is 35 inches long (89.5 cm) and overall the sword measures 41 inches (104 cm) long.

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