Twenty. Twenty two. Twenty four. You count the dusty stone steps as you scuttle down them in the old man’s wake. Twenty six. Twenty eight. Thirty. You try not to think of your mother’s ghost stories: of vampire crypts and torturous counts. After all, it was she who nodded her approval when the snowy-haired knight asked if he might show you the armoury.
A torch sputters to life at the foot of the stairs, and you see that your fears were unfounded: this room is welcoming and well-appointed, with vaulted ceilings and decorous tapestries draped on the walls. The subterranean space is divided by thick stone pillars, and between them stand row after row of dark wooden racks, each bearing ten or more swords.
You cannot help but gawp as you are led between the gleaming treasures, each more splendid than the next – here a lion’s head pommel, there a jewel-encrusted guard. Yet the old man strides unerringly to the end of the steely avenue, pausing before a simple wooden stand, which bears a single sword.
The moment you glimpse it, it may as well be the only weapon in the room. It is sapphires on snow, its long leather-bound grip the blue of a moonlit sky in winter, crossed with shining bars which brush together with steely kisses to form a sail-shaped guard. From this elegant tangle the pommel blooms: a six-petalled flower, writhen and weird.
The old man gestures toward the sword.
“Here,” he says, with kindness in his watery eyes. “This is the gift your father bound me give you.”
“My father?” you ask, eyes wide and head spinning. “Was he a warrior too?”
“Yes and no,” the old man smiles – though there is steel behind that smile. “Your father and I were men of peace, not war. But sometimes the right sword in the right hand can keep the peace longer than none. Do you understand me?”
You hesitate, then nod, hoping the knight doesn’t see the confusion in your eyes.
“Don’t worry my boy,” he chuckles, “You will.”
This powerful swiss sabre is a sword Chris has always wanted to make. It is based on the Wallace Collection A489 swiss sabre, which is dated to the 1530s.
The elaborate guard is a game-changer for two-handed fencing, and a significant aesthetic draw. However, despite its imposing features the sword is nimble and willing in the hands, thanks in no small part to the deep sabre grind of the blade.
The size of the guard is increased by around 10% from the original, to make room for our client’s fencing gloves. Depite this, the weight is only 8% higher than that of the original, and it is surprisingly easy to use in one hand as well as two.
Named for the smith thought to have made the original sword, this lovingly-made replica brings the lavish aesthetic of the A489 to the modern day salle.
A similar bespoke swiss sabre would come to £2250 plus postage.
The hand-forged and heat-treated guard and pommel are polished to a satin finish. The guard features a horizontally recurved crossguard with hand-carved terminals styled after flower buds. A trefoil-shaped side ring forms the base for elaborated diamond-sectioned and segmented barwork, with an S-shaped centrepiece joining the long knuckle guard to a sail-like hilt arm.
The hand-carved pommel is writhen and spiralling. The oak grip is wrapped first with linen thread, and then with royal blue kidskin.
Have you got a museum piece in mind? Get in touch to discuss your vision.