Antiques & Collectibles
Our Reference Library:
The Paper Armoury:
Our Top Shelf
Scotland the Brave
myArmoury Member Reading Lists
This book is featured on Jonathan Hopkins's list:
The small sword in England;: Its history, its forms, its makers, and its masters
by J. D Aylward
* RECOMMENDED *
Published in 1945, this is still the best reference on small swords. Aylward's approach is comprehensive, covering not just sword forms, but materials, construction, production, swordsmen, various schools of small sword fencing, and advice for the collector. More sword types deserve the treatment Aylward gives the small sword. Although parts of it are probably out of date (I have not cross referenced any specifics), this book is not to be missed by any small sword enthusiast. In fact, it should be required reading!
Since the book is long out of print and one cannot simply go to its Amazon page to get an idea as to the contents, I have reproduced them below using the author's own descriptions. As one can see, Aylward packs quite a lot of information into 125 pages (including black and white photos and other illustrations)!
1. The Sword: Influence of Charles II--Evolution--Rise and Decline of Fashion--Etiquette of the Sword--Sword-cutlers and their Shops--Business Quarters--The Flaming Sword--Organisation and Practice--The Handle-Binders--Changes in Practice--The Scabbard-Maker--Sword-Belts and Sword-Carriers--Contemporary Prices--Lost and Stolen Swords--Swords as Collateral--Sword-Knots--Costly Swords--Presentation Swords--Decadence in Design--Criticism--Famous Collections.
2. Blades: The Almain Armourers--The Hounslow Sword-Smiths--Midland Bladesmiths--The Hollow Sword-Blade Company--The Shotley Bridge Sword-Blade Company--The Cutlers' Company--German Sword-Blade Monopoly--Gill of Birmingham--Early Small-Sword Blades--The Colichemarde--Triple-Edged Blades--Other Forms of Blade--Double-Edged Blades--An Experimental Blade--Blade Decoration--The Electors and Apostles--Blade Engravers--Blade Inscriptions--Pride of Workmen in their Work--Methods of Manufacture.
3. Hilts: Modern Terms for Parts of Hilt--Decorative Practice--Early Steel Hilts--The Queen Anne Period--Russetted Steel--Russetted-and-Gilt Hilts--Gold and Silver Encrustations--Pierced Steel--Mourning Hilts--Brass Hilts--Gilt Brass Hilts--Tonquinese Hilts--Cut Steel Hilts--Factory-Made Hilts--Matthew Boulton as a Hilt-maker--The Pattern-Book--Boulton's Prices--Difficulty of Identification--Boulton's Raw Material--Late Hilts.
4. Silver Hilts: Hallmarks on Silver Hilts--Dutch Hilt of 1685--English Hilt of 1685--French Hilt of 1696--English Hilt of 1708--English Hilt of 1722--French Hilt of 1721--Hilt of 1730--Hilt lacking Hallmarks--English Hilt of 1747--English Hilt of 1750--English Hilt of 1754--English Hilt of 1757--English Hilt of 1758--Another Hilt of 1758--Atrophy of Pas d'Ane--English Heart-shaped Shell of 1758--English Hilt of 1759--English Hilt of 1764--English Hilt of 1766--English Hilt of 1768--English Hilts, Militia Hilts of 1770--English Hilt of 1775--English Hilt of 1776--English Hilt of 1782--English Hilt of 1792--A French Empire Hilt--Tabular Analysis of Hilts.
5. Swordsmen: Schools of Arms--Sir William Hope--Angelo--Angelo's Methods--Disarming--Fencing Academies--Fencing Dress--Respect paid to Masters--John McArthur--Duels and Duelling--Etiquette of Duelling--The Byron-Chaworth Duel--Benefit of Clergy--Trial of the Earl of Warwick--The Hamilton-Mohun Duel--Fields of Honour--Foul Fighting--The Sheridan-Matthews Duel.
6. Contemporary Sources: Hope's Opinion of Fencing Text-books--Tricks of Fighting--Mounting a Sword--Proportion of a Sword--Length of the Sword--Balance of a Sword--Chosing a Sword--Holding the Sword--Hope's Illustrations--More Methods of Holding the Sword--Set of the Blade--The Bullie's Blade--Contemporary Terms for Parts of Hilt--Practical Value of Pierces Steel Hilts--The Small-Sword v. Other Arms--The Sword-Cutler--Bladesmith's Marks--Rudolph Cronau--Why Few Bladesmiths left Solingen.
7. Collecting: Rarity of Small-Swords--Assembled Swords--Technical Hints--Mistakes in Re-Mounting--Blades--Restoring Grips--Restoration Discussed--Preserving the Collection.
8. The Sword-Cutler: The Diderot Encyclopedia--Translation of Lucotte's Article--Some Observations.
APPENDIX: I. London Sword Cutlers--II. Sword Cutlers who were Masters of the Cutlers' Company--III. The Hollow Sword-Blade Company London--IV. Hounslow Bladesmiths--V. The Shotley Bridge Sword-cutlers--VI. Provincial Sword-cutlers and Bladesmiths--VII. Leading Masters of the Sword--VIII. References--IX. The Petition of the Survivors of the Hounslow Germans to Charles II.
Updated Aug 3, 2010