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Late 17th century English Walloon Sword with Talismanic blade dated 1689

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Price: £1,985

Ref: 066.18

Item Description

English Walloon swords were based on the Dutch type of sword often referred to as being used by the Amsterdam town guard. English Walloon swords were produced from the second quarter of the 17th century to the end of the fourth quarter. They provided a stylish alternative to the other sword patterns available and were used throughout the English Civil War period, the Restoration period and in the battles during the Glorious Revolution of 1688 when James II was deposed.

The hilt is made up of delicately rounded bars built upon a cross bar which extends to the rear to form a drooping wristguard terminating with a swollen downward facing swollen finial. To the front, the quillon is extended into a knuckle bow, the terminal of which is secured by a screw in the middle front of the pommel. A robust oval guard is mounted either side of the cross bar, each filled with a finely pierced convex steel plate secured into grooves cut around the inside of each guard. The structure is strengthened at its base by two subsidiary scrolled bars either side.

The vase shaped pommel is vertically fluted with pronounced grooves. It has a dome-shaped top with an integral pommel button and a pronounced flared neck below. The knuckle bow is filed with decorative grooves at the outside mid-point. The side guards are also filed with decorative knops to the outside middles. On the inside of the hilt a raised platform emanates from the cross to form the base for the grip and underneath, two rounded langets extend downwards, either side of the blade, both features reminiscent of the manufacture of English “Mortuary” swords of the English Civil War period. The underside of each guard plate is decorated with two panels of pierced circles surrounded by further patterns of chiselled foliage and pierced crescents, this typically English style is also reminiscent of Mortuary hilt decoration.

The blade is of Solingen manufacture, and is double edged, with a broad central fuller each side which commences 1 inch from the hilt (2.5 cm) and is 5 inches long (12.5 cm). The talismanic date 1689 is incised into the fuller flanked by quatrefoils of small crosses each side. A clearly cut running wolf is cut into both sides just after the end of the fuller from which point the blade is of lenticular section to its tip. The cylindrical grip is handsomely bound with alternate twists of copper wire and woven “Turks Heads” top and bottom.

The overall length is 38.5 inches (97.5 cm) and the blade is 32.5 inches (82.5 cm).

For further information on English Walloon swords, and similar examples, see “British Military Swords – Volume One: 1600 to 1660” by Stuart C Mowbray, Mowbray Publishing, 2013, pages 246 to 254.

See also for further discussion, Cyril Mazansky, British Basket Hilted Swords, Boydell Press 2005, Chapter 11, pages 281 to 284. The swords are described as “Hilts based on pierced side rings”.

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