Object Title




about 1660

Object Number



Presented by F.H. Cripps-Day Esq., 1942. Sold Christie's, 26-27 April 1922, Lot 100, from the collection of Cornelia, Countess of Craven, Combe Abbey, Warwick.

Physical Description

Hilt of cast brass consisting of a pommel and grip cast in one piece, knuckle-guard, outer shell and small rear quillon cast as another piece. Most of the surfaces of the hilt are decorated with running foliage and flowers in relief and gilt against a turquoise-blue enamel ground. [For a more detailed description of this type of hilt, see entry for the very similar IX.872.]

Straight, tapering, two-edged blade with a step in the edges 7.5 in. (19 mm) from the hilt.

Condition: The enamel has survived well except for a few losses on the outside of knuckle-guard, near the root.


BladeLength616 mm
OverallLength762 mm

Inscriptions and Marks

On both sides of blade, stamped: near the hilt, '1414', and beyond (composite struck), a running wolf mark (drawing of the latter in Marks Cards in Curators' office).

Bibliographic References

F.H. Cripps-Day, A record of armour sales, 1881-1924, London: G. Bell and Sons, 1925, p. 245, 247, fig. 188.

Anon. (prefatory note by J. Drinkwater), A Loan Exhibition depicting the Reign of Charles II, held at 22 & 23 Grosvenor Place, 28 January - March 1932, London, SW1, [n.p]., 1932, p. 79, no. 637 & Pl. XXIII(2).

James G. Mann, 'Stuart Enamels', Country Life, XCIII (March 12, 1943), pp. 480-81, at p. 481 (not illus.).

Letter from C. Oman, commenting on Mann 1943 (above), Country Life, COMPL. REF. (illus.).

C. Blair, European and American Arms, c.1100-1850, London, 1962, pl. 163 - 'English (blade Solingen), late 17th century'.

H. L. Blackmore, Hunting Weapons, London, 1971, p. 28, Pl. 17 ('English, c.1680).

C. Blair and A. Patterson, ' 'Surrey' enamels reattributed: Part II, an illustrated list of known types', Journal of the Antique Metalware Society, vol. 14, June 2006, pp. 10-22, at p. 17 (col. illus. - hilt).


The hilt of the present sword is so similar to IX.872 that the two were almost certainly cast from the same moulds or casting blocks. IX.872 is decorated in black and white enamel and has the knuckle-guard bent or cast out of alignment. Another sword, which is or was (in 1912) in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford (C. ffoulkes, 'European Arms and Armour in the University of Oxford', Oxford 1912, pp. 34-35, no. 24 & Pl. X), looks from the illustration to be identical with the last two. Another was in a private collection at March 2005 (see corresp. and photos on inv. file). Royal Armouries VI.327 A-C, a horse bit and a pair of stirrups, have enameled decoration in the same style, comprising Tudor roses in reddish brown on a white ground. Another stirrup, decorated with green and white enamel, is in the collection of the late Sir James Mann and is presently (at March 1998) on loan to the Royal Armouries (AL.23 189, q.v.). A spur from the R.L. Scott Collection (presumably now Glasgow Museums and Art Galleries, reg. no.E1939.65 ha is decorated with green, white and black enamel (Anon. 1932, p. 80, no. 639 & Pl. XXIII(4); Mann 1943, p. 480, fig. 3).
For an attempt to list all known examples of this group of enamelled wares, including colour illustrations of some of the pieces cited in the previous paragraph, see Blair and Patterson 2006 (cited under Publications, above).
A variety of other objects were made with this style of decoration (e.g. fire dogs and candlesticks) but, while it is agreed that they made in England, the idea that they were made in in Surrey is now discarded.
Objects in the style of decoration have been discussed by several scholars. C.R. Beard, 'Surrey Enamels of the Seventeenth Century', 'Connoisseur', LXXXVIII, No. 362, October 1931, pp. 219-29; Mann (1943 - see above); H.L. Blackmore, 'Hunting Weapons', 1971, p. 28 relates these hangers to the so-called Mattross hangers (see inv. entries for IX.762 and IX.863). However, it should be noted that the white enamel on one of these (IX.762) may be relatively modern. The unenameled brass or copper hilts of swords such as IX.2651 and IX.5433 (the latter silvered) may also be related.
Opinions on dating have differed. IX.756 has been dated c. 1650 (Typed Inventory), and c. 1680 by Blackmore (1971) and late 17th century by Blair (1962); while IX.872 was formerly also dated about 1645 (Typed Inventory). In a note (of 1980) in the Typed Inventory for IX.872, A.V.B.Norman said 'In my view the form of the pommel area suggests a date before 1650.'. With advice from A.R.E. North of the Victoria and Albert Museum the group of Royal Armouries items displayed in the (Leeds) Hunting Gallery from 1995 were labelled 'about 1660'.
More recently Claude Blair (' 'Surrey' enamels reattributed: Part I', 'Journal of the Antique Metalware Society', vol. 13, June 2005, pp. 2-9; see also Part II, 2006, cited under Publications, above) has associated the production of these pieces with Stephen Pilcherd, a prominent member of the London Founders' Company, and Anthony Hatch, brasier and a member of the Armourers' Company (now the Armourers' and Brasiers' Company). He concluded (like Beard, 'op. cit.') that production of these enamelled wares 'started in the 1640s and went on well into the post-Restoration reign of Charles II' but had totally vanished before the end of the 17th century.
These enamels were briefly referred to in Anthony R E North, 'Brass mounted hangers from the Hounslow sword-mill', 'Journal of the Antique Metalware Society', 13, June 2005, pp. 24-27, at pp. 26-27. However, the sword in Fig. 8, which is captioned as IX.756, is in fact IX.762, the enamel on which is now regarded as fake (see entry for that number, under Notes).