A significant Renaissance splendid sword with a Gothic blade, Fontainebleau, circa 1550-60
From castles and palaces - selected art and works of art from antiquity to the 20th century | A87p | Live auction | 245 Lots
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Double-edged blade, with shallow fullers on both sides of the upper half. A stylised tree of life engraved on both sides near the point with remnants of the brass inlays, a brass-inlaid wheel on both sides of the upper third. The partially gilt, iron hilt with decorative tendrils, finely inlaid in gold. The ends of the quillons and the knuckle bow with fire-gilt, fully sculptured mascarons. The octagonal, slightly fluted grip made of fine layered agate, the fire-gilt bronze pommel delicately chiselled in the shape of a griffin's head. Length 92.5 cm.
A small number of similar pieces made by the French workshop for deluxe weapons, presumed to be in Fontainebleau, still form part of certain notable international collections. Two comparable swords from the Rothschild collection, their grips embellished with identical décor and mascarons, were sold by Christie's of London in 1999.
Provenance: From the estate of an old, noble French family. Part of the family estate until 2006, the sword was borne on grand occasions. By all accounts, it was carried by the Maréchal de Villars at the wedding celebrations of Louis XV.
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The blade with a polished surface, slight pitting in places near the point. Only fragments of the brass inlays still preserved on the blade. The gold inlays of the hilt slightly rubbed, a patch of corrosion in the centre of the quillons (on the reverse). The mascarons and pommel in beautiful condition, the fire gilding on the edges slightly abraded. The stone hilt with a small imperfection at the side above the quillons.