Cross–hilt sword, 1600–1625
England (London) and Germany (Solingen)
Iron, silver, wood, copper alloy, steel, and gold; L. overall 39 1/4 in. (99.7 cm), L. blade 30 1/4 in. (76.8 cm), Wt. 2 lbs. 6 1/2 oz. (1.09 kg)
Purchase, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Gift, 2010 (2010.165)
This rare and finely made sword comprises a silver-decorated cross-hilt by a London silversmith or cutler and a richly etched and gilded blade by the bladesmith Clemens Horn of Solingen, Germany. It represents a style that was fashionable in England in the early seventeenth century and is associated with the court of King James I. Related examples include swords made for the king himself and for his sons, Charles and Henry, Prince of Wales. The extensive and accomplished figural designs on the hilt rank this sword among the very best examples of the style. The iron pommel and cross-guard are covered with inset silver plaques or friezes decorated with miniature masterpieces of relief sculpture showing putti riding long-necked sea monsters and dolphins through the waves. Further research may eventually connect this sword with one of the royal cutlers—such as Robert South, John Cradocke, Thomas Cheshire, and Nathaniel Mathewe—who are known to have made or supplied similar swords to the royal family and other English noblemen of the period.