Object Title





Object Number



bought at Christie's, 9th June 1982, lot no 24

Physical Description

Blade possibly German but imitating Spanish work. Hilt: silver, of conventional form, comprising pommel, knuckle guard with integral quillon, arms of the hilt and sleeve, shell guards and grip.

pommel: a variant of Norman type 88, decorated with a balnk cartouche framed in baroque scrolls, cast in relief, flanked by a juicy acanthus leaf at each end.

knuckle guard: which has a fairly large pierced flourish at its end, consists of three C-scrolls linked longitudinally. The arms terminate in large divided sprays and the single quillon in a stylised bird's head. The sleeve is of baggy form, standing on an octagonal washer. The centre of the knuckle guard has been crudely repaired by soldering.

shell guards: of equal size, their outline echoing the profile of the knuckle guard. Small loops bridge the inlets between them. The scroll at the centre of the sides of each shell is partly pierced.

grip: wood, with herringbone flutes (wire binding missing). Silver ferrules with lobate edges.

Blade: single edged, flattened hexagonal section with central fuller 140 mm (5.5 inches) long running from the hilt and thereafter changing to diamond section.


Dimensions: Overall length: 965 mm (36.5 in), blade length: 760 mm (30 in), blade width: 20 mm (0.75 in) Weight: 1 lb

Inscriptions and Marks

pommel: inside face, the following two marks:1. maker's mark, 'RE' in a rectangle2. an illegible mark.shell guard:8 outer shell on the hand side, two marks:3. Britannia mark4. part of the date letter of the London Assay Office for 1701/28 inner shell, hand side, two marks:5. lion's head for 1696-17206. illegiblequillon: on inside, the mark as in 1.knuckle guard: inside, at the root, marks 3 and 4 in a very rubbed stateblade: in the outside fuller ' ? A I A I A' and in the inside fuller 'I O M A S', presumably for Tomas de Ayala


Bibliographic References

L Southwick, London silver-hilted swords, their makers, suppliers and allied traders, with directory, Leeds, Royal Armouries, 2001[a]: 278, pl. 24 (hilt and base of blade only) - 'maker's mark of Joseph Reason'. INF. ON MAKER NOT YET FULLY EXTRACTED.

L Southwick, 'Some silver-hilted swords by London makers in the Royal Armouries', Royal Armouries Yearbook, 6, 2001, pp. 32-54, at p. 38, fig. 7. NOT YET EXTRACTED.


The maker's mark on the hilt is probably that of Joseph Reason , Free Cutler, Burleigh Street, Strand (Grimwade no 2304) registered April 1697.
See also (Grimwade, no 1611), for record of Joseph Reason, registered as a small worker 17th June, 1720. He was free of the Cutlers Company by reason of service to Daniel Wilson, 13th April 1697, and registered his first mark probably at that time. His address was Bourlay (Burleigh) Street, Strand. INF. FROM SOUTHWICK 2001 A & B TO BE ENTERED.
An identical hilt in a private collection bears only a maker's mark 'DH' in a figure 8 punch (Sotheby's, 16th Nov 1976, lot 181). This mark is not in the Goldsmith's plate of marks 1675-95 or in Grimwade.
A brass example apparently from the same mould was in an English private collection in 1983.
For another sword by this maker, see IX.2244.