Fine Antique Arms & Armour

Civil War Period Mortuary Back Sword Ref: 017.16


Price:  £3,150

Item Description:


A good English "Mortuary" hilted back sword dating to the middle part of the 17th century. The workmanship is a fine 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 upwards with the flattened terminals screwed into the pommel. The spaces between these bars are infilled with subsidiary bars and scrolls.


The main guard plate is covered with chiselled decoration to the outside consisting of panels of scrolling foliage and two busts either side of the blade commonly thought on these sword hilts to represent King Charles I.  The guard bars and pommel are decorated with chiselled lines in a fern-like manner. A curled wrist guard is fashioned from the rear of the plate. The pommel is globular in shape and has an integral button and a pronounced flared neck.


The wooden grip is wrapped with copper wire. 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 ricasso with three pronounced fullers, that on the cutting edge terminating at the end of the ricasso where the sharp edge begins.  Two further fullers are present. The central fuller extends to the blade tip. The third fuller which runs under the spine of the blade terminates some 7 inches (18 cm) from the tip after which the blade is double edged. An armourers mark is stamped either side in the middle fuller at the ricasso. Thereafter each of the four fullers is stamped "WIELM" followed by a clear running wolf mark, probably indicating Solingen as the place of blade manufacture, followed by "TESSCHE" each feature interspersed with a design formed from a quatrefoil of dots.


The blade is age stained with blackened patches and in general the sword is in fine condition. The blade is just under 31.5 inches long (79.5 cm) and overall the sword measures 37.5 inches (95 cm) long.


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