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Backsword: HEN.M.222-1933

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Object information

Current Location: Gallery 31 (Armoury)


Unknown (Hilt)




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


17th Century, Mid#
Circa 1650 - 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: Thursday 7 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

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

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Backsword" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-04-24 23:08:54

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