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E.B. Erickson
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Location: Thailand
Joined: 23 Aug 2003

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PostPosted: Sat 01 Jan, 2011 1:49 am    Post subject: English sword early 1600s         Reply with quote

I posted this over on SFI, but thought that it would be a good to post here as well. I hauled this out of the closet today to give it a coat of oil, and thought I'd share it with the forumites.

Description: English sword, 1630-40. 31 SE blade with one narrow back fuller, with an inlaid copper bladesmith's mark. Hilt of shell shape to the right, a trilobate shell (damaged) on the left. Main knucklebow with central shell, attached to pommel by a screw. Scrolled quillon. Side knucklebow similar to that seen on later Mortuary hilts, also secured to the pommel by a a screw. Large faceted pommel. Original wooden grip.

Condition: Dark, stabilized oxidation overall. The sword appears to never have been apart. When purchased, the hilt was deformed, but I managed to carefully bend things so that it is now close in form to what it originally was. The screw attaching the main knucklebow was partially stripped due to the hilt deformation, but since it is frozen in position, it was left alone. One of the scrolled ends to the side knucklebow is a modern brazed on not-too-well-done restoration, and one day I plan to redo this restoration to better match the original.
The trilobate shell on the left has been broken, and while I had originally intended to restore the missing portions, I have decided to leave it alone.
The scrolled front quillon has suffered some delamination.
The grip is octagonal in section, cracked and wormed. There is a partially-collapsed section due to subsurface worm damage. Since the grip is original, I opted for conservation, and stabilized it with CA glue.
The blade isn't too worn, and appears to be of original length, although it has been resharpened multiple times. Besides the copper cross, the left side of the blade bears remains of circular stamps and engraved lines, but these were too faint to photograph well.

So how does one classify this hilt? Although the knucklebow's central shell and the form of the side guard are found on Mortuary and Proto-Mortuary hilts, this hilt is structurally different from both (although you could make a case for this being a type of Proto-Mort). Discussion, anyone?

--ElJay



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E.B. Erickson
Industry Professional



Location: Thailand
Joined: 23 Aug 2003

Posts: 436

PostPosted: Sat 01 Jan, 2011 1:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

And here's some detail shots, including a close up of the bladesmith's copper-inlaid mark.

--ElJay



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William Goodwin




Location: Roanoke,Va
Joined: 17 Nov 2003
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PostPosted: Sat 01 Jan, 2011 3:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

hey Eljay,

I'd cast my lot for Proto-mort for it seems to have more characteristics in that area than not.

thanks for sharing this.......

cheers,

Bill

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David Evans




Location: Rotherham, West Riding
Joined: 09 Sep 2004

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PostPosted: Sat 01 Jan, 2011 4:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Looks Proto mort for my eyes.

1630-40 sounds good whilst the blade length is short, would you describe the blade as slim or chunky ?
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E.B. Erickson
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Location: Thailand
Joined: 23 Aug 2003

Posts: 436

PostPosted: Sat 01 Jan, 2011 5:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Blade is neither slim nor chunky: see the attachment under the photos of the first post. I don't think that the blade has lost length (or if it has, it hasn't lost much!), as the only real wear is due to the resharpening of the cutting edge.
--ElJay
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Terry Crain




Location: Pennsylvania, USA
Joined: 29 Jan 2006
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Posts: 224

PostPosted: Sat 01 Jan, 2011 9:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sounds like I would love to root around in your closet, wonder what else is there! Wink

Beautiful piece. So great to have access to original workmanship from almost four hundred years ago! I'm sure its invaluable in your appreciation and high level of accurate replication of swords; especially all the fantastic complex hilts you produce with seemly flawless artistry.

I would also vote proto-mortuary.

I'd love to see you reproduce this sword and have a side by side comparison. It would be like looking at the sword retrieved via a time machine. I am sure you could render this in stunningly accurate detail. I am also sure you have more that enough work lined up to make such an endeavor unlikely, as your spare time is a premium I'm sure, and having a reproduction of the original would be a luxury.

Maybe someone will be inspired and ask you for a commission to make one if you are so inclined!

Thanks so much for sharing. If this sword could talk, I am sure it could tell some tales. Perhaps seeing action in the thirty years wars, etc.

Best regards and hope you have a happy, prosperous and healthy new year!

Terry

Terry Crain
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Roger Hooper




Location: Northern California
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PostPosted: Sat 01 Jan, 2011 12:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It shares characteristics of both Mort and Proto-Mort (or, as Mazansky would say, First Pedigree and Second Pedigree)

It's mostly Proto-Mort and looks a fair bit like Mazansky's type VA - CA 772 and 776 in the York Castle Museum on page 271 of British Basket-Hilted Swords. - dated 1640.

The Mort part is the side knuckleguard that ends with 2 scrolls on the shell.

Is there a stub of a broken off thumb ring on the in-board side? I see something in the second to last picture that may indicate that.

I wonder where the blade was made? Unfortunately we don't see many photos of Mortuary blades - they're mostly focused on the hilts. It doesn't have German marks on it. Perhaps it was made in England at Hounslow

It's a beautiful sword, definitely one of the better Mortuarys.
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Sat 01 Jan, 2011 2:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That type, and some of the other English "heavier" compound hilted swords, has interested me for quite some time. Thank you for sharing this.
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David Evans




Location: Rotherham, West Riding
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PostPosted: Sun 02 Jan, 2011 2:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I had to think for a bit but I was fairly sure I'd seen a somewhat plainer relative of this sword,

http://collections.royalarmouries.org/index.p...=&pg=2
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Roger Hooper




Location: Northern California
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PostPosted: Mon 03 Jan, 2011 3:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Let's keep this discussion going for awhile.

Most of the Mortuary sword photos that we see have a certain sameness to them. Many are not well made, look a little shabby, and are awkwardly decorated, often with uninspired foilage and cartoonish, goofy looking Cavalier faces (No, I didn't mean Goofy - anyone want to see the Disney Mortuary sword?) Ewart Oakeshott didn't seem to care for them much, but does write that there are a few finer examples ( European Weapons and Armour, page 173)

However, if you consult Mazansky's British Basket-hilted Swords, you will see many beautiful hilts with much variability in form. Mazansky classifies them exhaustively - he even creates theoretical categories, where no example actually exists. I wish ElJay's sword was included in the book, because I think it would have given Mazansky a turn. He would have had to give it a new category, probably as a Second Pedigree Proto-Mort - maybe VAiii

ElJay's sword is unique, but you will find many others in the book that look to be one-of-a-kind. See photo below of I*Aa on page 246.

Terry Crain wrote:
I'd love to see you reproduce this sword and have a side by side comparison. It would be like looking at the sword retrieved via a time machine. I am sure you could render this in stunningly accurate detail. I am also sure you have more that enough work lined up to make such an endeavor unlikely, as your spare time is a premium I'm sure, and having a reproduction of the original would be a luxury.

Maybe someone will be inspired and ask you for a commission to make one if you are so inclined!


ElJay is making a Mortuary Sword for me. it won't be a copy of the one he features on this thread, but it does share some characteristics. It's going to be a wonderful sword.



 Attachment: 95.31 KB
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Mort I*Aa on page 246 of "British Basket-hilted Swords"
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William Goodwin




Location: Roanoke,Va
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PostPosted: Mon 03 Jan, 2011 3:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Some of you know what a huge advocate I've been for mortuary hilt swords over the years. There are many lovely examples, not the crude, grostesques of some or the plain munition grades of alot used in the ECW. A couple that are associated with Oliver Cromwell are rather grand. Seems that mortuary's get lost in the shuffle quite often in the basket hilt world....

I eagerly await what Eljay will do for Roger.....know it will be super.

cheers,

Bill

Roanoke Sword Guilde

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"I was born for this" - Joan of Arc
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