Object Title

Rapier

Rapier

Date

1625-1645

Object Number

IX.5628

Provenance

Collection of the Counts von Giech, Thurnau Castle, Germany, about 1635 to 1974. Sold by Sotheby & Co., London, Catalogue of the Sporting Guns Collection (Gewehrkammer) of the Counts von Giech, removed from Schloss Thurnau, Franconia (Part 1), Tuesday 21st May 1974, lot 57 (illus.), p.36. Private Collection 1974 to 2011. Purchased at auction from Bonhams, Knightsbridge on 20th July 2011. Sale no.18894 lot 125.

Physical Description

The hilt of blackened iron, formed of slender bars of flattened triangular section, comprising double ring-guard on each side linked by a short moulded bar, the bottom ones framing plates each pierced with numerous, delicate, close-set quatrefoils and stars., the upper ones each linked to the knuckle-guard by swept-uop bars, downcurved arms, diagonally recurved quillons with turned-over 'fish tail' tips, knucle-guard en-suite and with diamond-shaped central feature. The pommel is of widely fluted fig-shaped form with button and the vertically-grooved swelling wooden grip is bound with twisted iron wire.
The slender blade is of diamond section with a narrow central fuller over most of its length on each side, the point of slightly widening flattened diamond section. The long fullered forte retains traces of its original blueing within the central fuller on each side and stamped respectively 'CLEMENS DINGER ME FECIT' and 'CLEMENS DINGER SOLINGEN', each inscription between double 'X' marks. The hollowed rectangular ricasso, with line engraved borders, is struck twice on each side with a heron and fish mark.

Materials

Dimensions

BladeLength1112mm
OverallLength1327mm

Inscriptions and Marks

Ricasso stamped twice on each side with a heron and fish mark.

Associations

Places Germany

Bibliographic References

Leslie Southwick, 'The Price Guide to Antique Edged Weapons', London: Antique Collectors' Club, 1982, P. 42, llus: fig. 79.

'Catalogue of the Sporting Gun Collection of the Counts Von Giech', Sotheby & Co., 34 & 35 New Bond Street, London, 21 May, 1974, lot 57, p.36 (illus.).

Notes

This style of hilt was popularized by Count Gottfried Heinrich zu Pappenheim (1594-1632), Field Marshall of the Armies of the Holy Roman Empire during the Thirty Years War (1618-48). A defining feature of this type of military rapier is the pair of symmetrical pierced shell guards.
It is likely that this rapier belonged to Christian Carl Graf von Giech (1641-1695) who fought at least four duels when a young man, the last being against Count Graf von Hohenloche, who had described him as a'common knight' ('ein blasser Reichsritter').
In relation to this it is worth noting that the point of the rapier has been modified into a 'leaf'-shape. This modification allowed the blade to more easily give a cutting stroke, such as the 'stramazone', which was delivered by a deft flicking action of the wrist, often to the face. This move was popular in Italian rapier fighting.