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Rapier: HEN.M.239-1933

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Object information

Awaiting location update


Production: Unknown




Rapier. Large handsome pommel, circular in plan, in the form of three superimposed 'cushions', the middle one being considerably wider than the others. There is a well-formed, collared tang-button and an elegant neck at the underneath, where the pommel meets the grip, which is of plain and (rather thicker) twisted steel wire, with Turks' heads at top and bottom. Very plain knuckle-guards of circular section, widening at the top with a trumpet-shape. It swells to a transverse ridge at midpoint and joins straight quillons of the same section. There are forged in one piece with the knuckle-guard and a plain hemispherical cup-guard. They have no widening terminals, and appear to have been cut off short. These are neither branches nor garda polvo. Decoration consists of oval panels engraved on the outside of the cup, radiating like petals from the hole where the blade enters, and there are vaguely formed floral shapes pierced à jour at the rim. The upper end of the knuckle-guard and the pommel are engraved with a few meandering and meaningless curved lines. Blade of flat oval section, strongly and decorated at the forte with an engraved wavy line. There is a strong, hollowed ricasso.

Legal notes

J.S. Henderson Bequest

Measurements and weight

Length: 105.4 cm

Acquisition and important dates

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


17th Century#
Circa 1650 CE - 1680 CE


Spanish fashion, but probably Hispano-Dutch, or even Caribbean

The pommel is of far better quality than the rest of the hilt; it would appear that the knuckle-guard, quillons and cusp, all made in one, are crudely made as if by a village smith, as in the case with surviving Caribbean swords of this type.

Components of the work

Grip composed of wire ( steel)
Cup Depth 5.9 cm
Hilt Length 15.8 cm
Blade Length 87.0 cm
Blade At Hilt Width 1.7 cm
Quillons Width 19.7 cm

Materials used in production


Inscription or legends present

  • Text: 125/239H
  • Type: Tag

Identification numbers

Accession number: HEN.M.239-1933
Primary reference Number: 18978
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Monday 11 January 2016 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: 2024-07-24 06:49:09

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{{cite web|url= |title=Rapier |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-07-24 06:49:09|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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