- Dated: circa 1640
- Place of Origin: England, Britain (hilt); Solingen, Germany (blade)
- Medium: steel, silver, leather
- Measurements: overall lenght: 98.5 cm. Width: 12 cm
- Inscriptions: ‘TH’ monogram and inscribed ‘Me Fecit Salingen’ and inlaid with a running wolf mark
Light rapiers of this form first became fashionable in England in the 1630s. The style and decoration of this silver hilt follow very closely that of the steel hilts of the period. Its distinctly war-like decoration, consisting of scenes showing cavalry engagements and warriors, suggests that it would have been worn by an officer. Silver hilts were expensive and reflected the wealth and status of the owner.
The hilt of this sword was made in England, almost certainly in London, but its plain, serviceable blade is stamped with a Latin inscription indicating that it was made in Solingen, Germany. By using a series of well-managed workshops, Solingen had become the largest producer of sword-blades in Europe by the 17th century.
A sword with a silver hilt of this form was too fragile and expensive to be used as a weapon. Swords for practical use were fitted with a steel hilt. This silver-hilted sword therefore should be regarded as an item of masculine jewellery. When a silver hilt became old-fashioned, it would be taken to a hilt-maker who would use the silver to make another in the latest fashion, giving the purchaser the bullion value of the old hilt. Consequently hilts of silver dating from before the end of the 17th century are rare.
Source: Copyright © 2013 V&A Images
If you look closely at the Moon, you will see a large airplane in front of it. Well, not always. OK, hardly ever. But if you wait for days with your camera attached to a Moon tracker in a place where airplanes are known to pass, you might catch a good photograph of it. Well, if you’re lucky. OK, extremely lucky. The above image was taken two weeks ago over South East Queensland, Australia using an exposure time of 1/250th of a second and, in the words of the photographer, “a nerve of steel”.