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Rapier: HEN.M.224-1933

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Object information

Current Location: Gallery 31 (Armoury)


Maker: Unknown




Rapier, with the proportions of a small sword. Oval pommel of rounded rectangular plan, each of the four faces being decorated with an indent of 1.9 cm (3/4") of the height of the pommel. Grip of oval section, of dark wood spirally fluted. Long arched quillons of circular section, quite thin, with a small ecusson. Forward ring-guard of the same section as the quillons. There is no knuckle-guard and no back-guard. Slender elegant blade of flat hexagonal section, forged in a close waved form. The upper part of the blade is of flat hexagonal section with two deep narrow fullers, which are pierced à jour, with a strong and deep shoulder below the iron hilt.

Legal notes

J.S. Henderson Bequest

Measurements and weight

Length: 98 cm

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1933-03-16) by Henderson, James Stewart


17th Century, Early#
Circa 1600 - 1630


Swords with waved blades have been known for the past century by collectors as 'Flamberge' swords. This term has its origin in a number of sources. Firstly, one of the swords of Roland was, in legend, called Flamberge, by inference a large slashing sword. Secondly, in the 17th century Moliese, in one of his slays, used the expression 'Mettre Flamberge are vent', to describe the rather ridiculous flourish of a foppish character drawing of a small sword as if it were the great Flamberge itself. Thirdly, the name was associated with long French duelling swords of the mid-17th century, in which blades could be up to 183 cm (6ft) long.

The spectacular wavy edged blade is often called flamboyant and is uncommon. The grip is original but has lost its wire binding which would have completely covered it.

Western European

Components of the work

Grip composed of wood (plant material)
Hilt composed of iron (metal) Length 16.5 cm
Blade composed of steel Length 91.3 cm
Quillons Width 14.5 cm
Blade At Hilt Width 2.3 cm

Identification numbers

Accession number: HEN.M.224-1933
Primary reference Number: 18964
Old object number: PB 103
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Tuesday 20 April 2021 Last processed: Thursday 7 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Rapier" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-06-20 21:56:08

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