Fine Antique Arms & Armour

English Civil War Period Mortuary Hilted Backsword Ref: 009.15


Price £2,850

Item Description:


A good English "Mortuary" hilted back sword dating to the middle part of the 17th century. The main guard plate is covered with chiselled decoration to the outside consisting of foliage and scrolls plus typically two images of a face commonly thought on these sword hilts to represent the head of King Charles I. The workmanship is a good example of the English Civil War period armourers craft.


The hilt is of typical form consisting of a broad boldly manufactured dish-shaped guard plate from which three main guard bars extend with the flattened terminals screwed into the pommel. The spaces between these bars are infilled with subsidiary bars and scrolls. A curled wrist guard is fashioned from the rear of the plate. The pommel is globular in shape, decorated with boldly cut chiselled lines, has an integral button and a pronounced flared neck.


The original wooden grip is covered with its period leather cover on top of which much of the original copper wire binding remains with copper "Turks" heads top and bottom. The grip sits on an iron flanged plug mounted onto the inside of the guard plate and from which two langets extend through the tang aperture to flank the blade either side of the ricasso for a short distance from the hilt.


The blade is single edged for most of its length. It has a short bold ricasso bordered with lines and inside which an armourers mark is punched either side. The blade has a pronounced broad fuller inside which floral decoration is applied either side.


The condition is good and original. The hilt is in russet condition and small patches of a lighter metal nearer the wrist guard indicate that the hilt was once covered with another softer metal possibly silver. The blade is age stained with blackened patches and minor areas of pitting.


The blade is just under 34.5 inches long (87 cm) and overall the sword measures 40.5 inches (103 cm).

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