Object Title

Sword and scabbard

Sword and scabbard



Object Number



Purchased from the Beriah Botfield collection at Norton Hall, Northamptonshire, with the aid of the National Art Collections Fund, 1942 (Norton Hall No. 148).

Physical Description

Hilt in form of a lion with hounds. Body of scabbard. probably modern. Cast silver hilt in the form of a lion fighting with hounds. The single shell, representing a lion cub, is stamped with a mark which appears to be that used in Holland to mark imported silver (CHK).

Straight, single-edged blade.

Wooden scabbard covered with red velvet with silver mounts.


Dimensions: Sword: overall length: 714 mm (28.1 in), blade length: 567 mm (22.3 in), Scabbard: length: 630 mm (24.8 in) Weight: Sword: 1 lb 2 oz (510 g), scabbard: 0 lb 5 oz (142 g)

Inscriptions and Marks

Se description - mark not yet found and checked.

Bibliographic References

A.R. Dufty and A. Borg, European Swords and Daggers in the Tower of London, London, 1974, p. 27 ('Dutch, second half of 17th century), Pls 61a, 109 (mark).

A.V.B. Norman (and C.M. Barne), The Rapier and Small-Sword, 1460-1820, London etc., 1980, p. 185.

J.P. Puype, Blanke wapens: Nederlandse slag- en steekwapens sinds 1600: zwaarden, degens, sabels en ponjaards : historisch eoverzicht en typologie, Lochem-Poperinge : Uitgeversmaatchappij de Tijdstroom, 1981, p. 43, fig. 26 - '1650-1650'.

M. Carasso-Kok and J. Levy-van Halm (eds), Schutters in Holland : kracht en zenuwen van de stad, Zwolle : Uitgeverij Waandes, 1988, p. 230, no. 49 - 'Dutch 1650-1670'.

P. Hammond, The Royal Armouries Official Guide, 2nd (rev'd) edn, 1993, p. 7, centre (col. ill., sword only, lacking last part of blade, 'Dutch, mid-17th cent.').

T. Richardson and G. Rimer, Treasures from the Tower in the Kremlin, Moscow, 1997, cat. no. 59, pp. 152-53 (col. illus. - det. hilt and base of blade), 196 (b. & W. illus. - as before, but smaller) - 'Dutch, about 1650'.

Royal Armouries, Royal Armouries Museum [souvenir guide], Royal Armouries, Leeds, 2000, p. 26 (illus., incomplete viuew, missing end of blade).

Royal Armouries, Royal Armouries Museum [Leeds]. Souvenir guide, Royal Armouries, Leeds etc. [2006], p. 60, illus. (gen. view lacking last third - 'probably Dutch ... between 1650 and 1670').

C. Paggiarino, The Royal Armouries, masterpieces of medieval and renaissance arms and armour, Milan, 2011 volume 2


Very similar swords are shown in two group paintings in the Westfriesmuseum, Hoorn: 'The Company of Capt Dirck Veen', by J.A. Rotius?), dated 1653 (Royal Armouries' neg. no. A3/xxxx(xx)) - detail (to CHECK & COMPL. neg. no.); and 'The Company [or Banner] of Capt. Claes Willemsz Jager' by Jan Alberttsz Rotius, dated 1655 (museum no. A73), worn by Sergeant J. Groot de Jonghe from a shoulder belt - a slightly less good view of the hilt than the former (Royal Armouries neg. no. A3/3595(15) - detail; R.B.F. van der Sloot and J.B. Kist, 'Some Facts Concerning Sword-Hilts at Hoorn arouind the year 1650' (trans in 'Armamentaria', 1970), p. 15, Pl. VI; Carasso-Kok 1988, p. 134, fig. 109 (whole view). Compare also the hilt of a sword with a thin straight blade in a portrait of Pieter Sebont (?), signed and dated by Th. de Keyser, 1660, in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam (no. 1310); and another with a straight blade in 'Scene in a Brothel', signed and dated by Jacob Van Loo, 1659, in the Rheinisches Landesmuseum, Bonn, Germany.

Several hilts of the same general type have been recorded and the following list is selective; some further examples will be found in the sources cited. A very similar hilt was recorded in a private collection in Warwickshire (note by A.V.B. Norman in IBE); A sword with a similar hilt in brass was brought into the Castle Museum, Norwich for an opinion in 1985 (see corresp. on inv. file); a sword with Peter Dale Ltd in 1989 had a hilt in the form of St George fighting the dragon (M.D. Coe 'et al'., 'Swords and Hilt Weapons', London, 1989, p. 69 (more inf. of inv. file for present sword)); a sword in the Legermuseum at Delft has a hilt of silver-plated bronze with the grip and pommel in the form of a lion clutching a ball (van der Sloot and Kist, 'op. cit.', ill. 12; one in the Scheepvaartmuseum, Amsterdam, no. RB.293 (3) (Puype, 'op. cit.', p. 42, fig. 25); IX.960 has an ivory hilt in the form of a lion and a cub; IX.978 (18th- or possibly 19th-century) has an ivory grip in the form of a lion being attacked by hounds and similar hilts survive elsewhere (see under IX.978); the lion motif also occurs on a hilt at Rosenborg Castle, Copenhagen, attributed to Gotfried Leigebe (but see van der Sloot and Kist, 'op. cit.', p. 15 and refs there cited); IX.977 has a steel hilt of about 1660, chiselled in the form of dragons and signed by Carlo Botarello of Brescia.