Object Title

Sword Pommel

Sword Pommel



Object Number



Presented by F.H.Cripps-Day, 1941-1942. From the Franz Thill Collection via Captain Jack Ball (this is a pencilled note under IX.730; it is not clear whether is apples to all the Cripps Day pommels - PJL).

Physical Description

Of iron, cast and chiselled to represent the head of a negro ('blackamoor').


Dimensions: Height: TO DO Weight: 10 oz.


Places Italy

Bibliographic References

A.R. Dufty and A. Borg, European Swords and Daggers in the Tower of London, London, 1974, p. 22 and Pl. 37 (bottom row, right).

H.L. Blackmore, 'The blackamoor swords', Royal Armouries Yearbook, III (1998), p. 72 - mention only, citing Dufty 1974 (above) - inv. no. not given.


See Blackmore 1998 for a discussion of the symbolism negros generally and the possible meanings of blackamore heads on edged weapons. The typed inventory described the present pommel as the head of a negress, but I am not convinced, and, although Blackmore mentions some pommels depicting negresses (Blackmore 1998: 70 and fig. 5), he does not specifically so describe this one (PJL). For general comments on human-headed pommels see A.V.B. Norman and C.M. Barne, 'The Rapier and Small-Sword, 1460-1820', London etc., 1980, pp. 276-7, type 82.
For other negro-head pommels in the Royal Armouries see entry for IX.739, under Notes.