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Backsword: HEN.M.222-1933

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Object information


Hilt Unknown


Back sword. Tall poppy-head-shaped pommel, with well-formed button, of steel carved into the likeness of the opening petals of a flower with diagonally worked tendrils with eight trefoil heads above a neat scrolled collar. Grip of steel, widening slightly towards the back, decorated in the same manner as the pommel. Knuckle-guard, of square section at top and bottom, with two opposed swellings at midpoint to match the pommel. Single outside loop-guard of the same form and decoration as the knuckle-guard; enclosed within it is a triple-branched interior guard in the same style, the middle branch extending downward to protrude below the loop-guard. Massive rear quillon, sharply downturned at a right-angle, with a large terminal loop en suite with the pommel. At the back, a looped thumb-ring attached to a small decorative plate springing from the back of a very stout quillon-block of square section. This plate is decorated with four flame-shaped leaves carved à jour from the plate.
Straight blade of triangular section, the faces hollowed and back ridged. The cutting edge is wrought to an acute point by a gentle curve toward the perfectly straight back. The blade is decorated with delicate engraving; on the obverse a series of geometric 'doodled' forming a base to support an extremely thin classical figure, helmeted, plumed and carrying a walking-stick or yard. Above this is the legend IVNTILIA NUS ROM between scrolls. Above, a pestle and mortar with the words MEFECIT SOLINGEN between similar scrolls. The design is topped by an elaborate floral scrolling motif. On the reverse, a similar geometrical base supports a second figure in classical dress in an airy dancing pose holding aloft a sword in the right hand. Between scrolls, the word PARIS TRO, with a pestle and mortar above, with a second legend ENGEL LOBAG, with the terminal designs of the obverse repeated.
Norman, type 108. Pommel is a variant of pommel type 28.


History note: Mr James Stewart Henderson of 'Abbotsford', Downs Road, St Helen's Park, Hastings, Sussex

Legal notes

J.S. Henderson Bequest

Measurements and weight

Length: 96 cm

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1933-03-16) by Henderson, James Stewart


Mid 17th century
Circa 1650 - 1660 1660


The hilt is extravagantly carved and chiselled. The blade is engraved on one side with: a figure of a warrior, ‘IVNTILIA/NUS/ROM, a pestle and mortar and ME FECIT SOLING; the other with a warrior, ‘PARIS/TRO’, a pestle and mortar and ENGEL/LOBAG.

Western European

People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Sword: composed of steel Hilt: Length 17.5 cm Width 11 cm
Blade: Length 79.3 cm Width 2.3 cm

Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: between two scrolls

  • Location: On blade above classical figure
  • Method of creation: Inscribed

Inscription present: on a pestle and mortar between scrolls

  • Location: On blade
  • Method of creation: Inscribed

Inscription present: between scrolls with a pestle and mortar above

  • Text: PARIS TRO
  • Location: On reverse of blade
  • Method of creation: Inscribed

Inscription present: with pestle and mortar

  • Location: On reverse of blade
  • Method of creation: Inscribed

Identification numbers

Accession number: HEN.M.222-1933
Primary reference Number: 18956
Old object number: B83
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Tuesday 20 April 2021 Last processed: Wednesday 21 April 2021

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

Citation for print

This record can be cited in the Harvard Bibliographic style using the text below:

The Fitzwilliam Museum (2020) "Backsword" Web page available at: Accessed: 2021-11-30 11:54:57

Citation for Wikipedia

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{{cite web|url=|title=Backsword|author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2021-11-30 11:54:57|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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<div class="text-center my-3"> <figure class="figure"> <img src="" alt="backsword" class="img-fluid" /> <figcaption class="figure-caption text-info">backsword</figcaption> </figure> </div>

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