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Old 23rd January 2019, 04:13 AM   #1
M ELEY
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Default A beautiful 17th century hanger

Yep! I went and did it again! Can't get enough hangers, I guess.

This amazing piece comes from the Lanes Armoury. It's a late 17th century hunting hanger with brass fittings, stag hilt, pierced guard with foliage, German made 21" curved blade with false edge and faint stamp which I suspect is the 'knight's head' for the Wundes family of smiths.

The truly amazing thing about this sword is that it has King William III (with crown) and Queen Mary cameos cast into the beautiful brass pierced guard. The two were married in the 1680's, Mary died just prior to 1700 and Charles followed in 1704. Thus, I would place this sword in those two decades.

William was the Prince of Orange (in the Netherlands) before marrying the English king's daughter, Mary Stuart. The Dutch were an embattled nation, fighting off the English in trade, with France advancing on their border, the Spanish attacking their navy and even the German Republics harassing them. Admiral de Royter, acting under William, did an amazing job with strengthening the Dutch navy and even took on the Brits at sea (and won!). When it became apparent that England was not going to stop their tactics, William invaded the UK, sending Charles fleeing the country. In the peace talks, William was offered the crown and became ruler of Great Britain, Scotland, Ireland and Wales with his queen at his side. They had a popular rule and apparently many things bore their image (but I have yet to see a sword with them prior to this example!)

This early hanger was used by the affluent gentry for status and in hunting, but they were immensely popular with naval officers for their durability (brass doesn't rust in salty air) and short length (to prevent getting caught in the rigging when swinging). In Annis' Naval Swords, you will see two famous portraits of naval officers of the era wearing the exact type of hanger (Admiral Benbow and Admiral Shovell). Other examples can be seen in Gilkerson (Boarders Away) and Neumann (Swords and Blades of the American Revolution).
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Last edited by M ELEY : 23rd January 2019 at 04:38 AM.
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Old 23rd January 2019, 04:17 AM   #2
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Default More pics...

A close-up of the cameos- Note the pommel cap has very interesting cherubs and odd symbols. These are classic for this period and I'm told were used by the German smiths for mystical purposes (have to do some research there. Something about the river they quenched the blade in being holy?)
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Old 23rd January 2019, 04:22 AM   #3
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Default For comparison-

For comparison, here is a link to my other hanger from this era. Note the hanger from the other thread has similar designs, cherubs, face casting. Most were plain or had mythological figures. This one below has a much thinner piece of stag antler for grip, but a longer 27" hanger-type blade.


http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=17233
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Old 23rd January 2019, 12:18 PM   #4
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Hmm, I'm not sure everyone would agree with this version of 'the Glorious Revolution'. The monarch he deposed was James II who was unpopular because he was a Catholic (it mattered in those days) threatening to impose the religion on the protestant population and because he had an autocratic attitude to government, similar to that of his father, Charles I, over which a civil war had been fought.
William of Orange 'invaded' at the invitation of prominent protestant politicians and James II fled because he had no popular support.
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Old 23rd January 2019, 03:12 PM   #5
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Oh, I agree wholeheartedly, Richard. He was kind of an #@!!*. He is depicted pretty accurately in an interesting movie 'Admiral' (2016). I wasn't throwing rays of sunshine his way by any means. Still, he was an important ruler whose image was impressed on many items of the time (linens, table wares, etc).

But what do you think of the sword?
Mark
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Old 25th January 2019, 05:19 PM   #6
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Hey Capn Mark!
I have been remiss in not heralding in the arrival of the new blade in your armoury!!! It is fantastic, and as you have well pointed out, a good 17th century hanger (latter) and with a stout 'Wundes' blade.

I would note here for your benefit, as a faithful pirate author, this is nearly identical to the 'Admiral Benbow' sword (Annis "Naval Swords" if I recall), and that was the name of the inn, in "Treasure Island" !

I had one of these same hangers some years back, but cannot recall maker it was either Wirsberg or Wundes, the mark looked like a sextant.

Your account of this period was as well put as can be said of these times, and the favor or disfavor of these monarchs depends on who you're talking with. It has nothing to do with misunderstanding the history, its that there could not have been more complexity involved. In the Jacobite rebellions the reasons were far more complex than simply Catholic vs. Protestant, much of it involved a culture in decline, and Highlander vs. Lowlander does not even work as there were no clear lines of demarcation.
I would leave that for other discussions, but again to the piracy matter, Blackbeard's ship, the "Queen Annes Revenge" suggests a Jacobite connotation.

Regarding these hangers, they were typically hilted in England, and from the time of the Hounslow works, one of the primary types were naval hangers.
Stuart Mowbray's book on English military swords is the best source ever!
While this example is considerably later than Hounslow, the Shotley Bridge works were well in place by its period. There were numbers of hangers brought in from Germany (the exit port for German blades was typically Rotterdam) and it is unclear whether these came in already hilted, or just the blades.....records indicate 'hangers'.

The cherubs etc. were among themes which were in place from earlier in the century, and the figures of period personages is in line of course with the well known 'mortuary' swords (thought to be called that for the executed Charles I) but such figures actually predated that event.

An outstanding piece Mark!!! which is perfectly placed in your collection and the times which are the theme in your exciting novels!!!!!
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Old 25th January 2019, 09:29 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M ELEY
A close-up of the cameos- Note the pommel cap has very interesting cherubs and odd symbols. These are classic for this period and I'm told were used by the German smiths for mystical purposes (have to do some research there. Something about the river they quenched the blade in being holy?)

Those "odd symbols" on the pommel cap look very much like fleur-de-lis, no?
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Old 25th January 2019, 10:04 PM   #8
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Going further in analysis on this, finally found my copy of "Naval Swords" (Annis, 1970) and the portrait and sword I was thinking of. On pp.24-25 a hanger remarkably like Mark's (this one c.1700) with stag horn etc. The portrait was of John Benbow (1653-1701) who was a captain in the Royal Navy 1689; and achieved flag rank becoming Commander in Chief in West Indies. He was killed in action with a French squadron in 1701.

Surely the West Indies connection was in mind for Stevenson when he wrote "Treasure Island" in 1883, and Benbow predated the settings of Stevenson's story estimated mid 18th c.

With the decoration in the hilt, as always, a great deal can be read into the theme. Cherubs (or 'putto') are often featured in Baroque art as the fluer de lis is , and this form of 17th century+ art is typically associated with the Catholic Faith. However in Holland it was deemed to have less religious connotation.
The 'cherubs' (often winged) can represent the flight of death, or may reflect the omnipresence of God, and of course various interpretations.
As far as I have known, there is no particular association in Germany with cherub use in theme as far as on swords. There is as always a great deal of lore surrounding blade centers toward quenching of them in river waters etc. and the same is found in Spain and others.

It would be hard to say what royal figures are represented here, but the crowns of course suggest that association. As noted, the faces are not necessarily commemorative to specific figures. Among these themes in English swords are also figures such as 'the green man'; moon type faces; and others.


In Annis (op.cit p.25) it notes the kings head mark on the blade of the example (the mark of the Wundes family et al. through 17th c) though Annis claims it is unidentified, but that"... it is almost certainly German, and it is entirely possible that the whole sword was made in that country".


We have found in research on the Shotley Bridge enterprise that blades from Germany indeed came into England from Rotterdam in this latter 17th century period. It seems entirely possible that blades from Solingen may have been hilted in Holland for sale in England. It is well known that the styles favored with Dutch and English swords ran very close and through the 18th c as well.




David I just noticed your post and we crossed posts......those are indeed fluer de lis, which appear surprisingly frequently in English motif of these times and even in blade markings in the 18th c. .
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Old 26th January 2019, 04:07 AM   #9
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Thank you so much, Jim and David, for your input.

Jim, your dissertation, for that truly is what it is, presents a thorough support for the hanger and I'm glad you like it! I remember discussing the mortuary hilts and use of cherubim in past threads and it is very interesting that the two periods for such designs follow one another as they do. David does mention the fleur-de-lis, but I also recall that English sword makers used this symbol on pre-18th century swords (I just recently saw a brass so-called monster-head or doghead English naval cutlass from ca. 1680-90 with the "fleur" on the blade.) I also recall a discussion somewhere in the many passages of the Forum where the English fleur-de-lis was actually attributed to an English blades smith? Have to do some searching for that one! In any case, glad you approve of the hanger, Cap'n Jim-
Mark
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Old 26th January 2019, 05:16 AM   #10
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The fluer de lis really does throw people off as it is typically regarded as strictly French. Actually the three fluer de lis existed in the Royal arms of England until 1801. .and as such did represent France in the heraldic circumstances that go back to Edward III.

It seems to have a lot broader connotations of course. Regarding the fluer de lis you mentioned as a makers mark in England, I dont think it was a makers mark but possibly a quality type mark. I believe there was a street named flier de lis street somewhere in England where blades were sold in bundles to 'sword slippers' but cannot recall more, but it was about mid 18th c. It might have been in Aylward or one of the references amidst the Shotley Bridge research.

You know it'll drive me nuts til I find it! I think there was one or more of these blades in "Swords of Culloden". As you noted earlier though, there were some German smiths who used fluer de lis but these may have alluded to these used with Toledo blades in some cases.
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Old 27th January 2019, 02:21 PM   #11
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Hi Guys,
This older thread http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ghlight=hunting may have some relevance to your discussion.
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Norman.
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Old 28th January 2019, 11:23 PM   #12
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Norm, you are a life saver! This was the thread that I was speaking of, with comments by Jim McD. and Dmitry. As I stated also, I've seen identified English swords (usually early, pre-1750's) with the fleur-de-lis stamp...of course, per this thread, it could have been the German blade makers using the symbol all along. Interestingly, you will note the sword in post#9 of this old thread is an American Revolutionary War horseman's saber, yet it still has the "French" symbol.
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Old 29th January 2019, 12:53 PM   #13
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Some things I notice about the heads on this sword which may or may not have significance;-

William and Mary were made joint monarchs, but only one head is crowned.

The crowned head is on the inside of the guard when I would have assumed, being presumably the more important, it would be on the outside.

The head on the inside of the guard appears to be the wrong way round i.e. with the crown towards the grip. Certainly both heads are not the same orientation.

With respect to the fleur-de-lys see attached
https://www.bonhams.com/auctions/24...ength=90&page=1

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Old 29th January 2019, 02:13 PM   #14
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Hello Richard,

I, too, noticed the lack of a crown over the feminine (?) opposing faced head. I thought it odd and disrespectful, but then again, the German craftsmen might have been a little chauvinist perhaps?
Thanks for the pic from the other auction at least verifying that there are other so called William and Mary hangers out there (ouch! Sold for less than half of what I paid!)
Mark
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Old 29th January 2019, 05:37 PM   #15
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Mark,
It's a shame there were no more photo's on the Bonham's site. I'm sure I've seen more, but can't remember where or when, or much of the detail.
William and Mary coinage usually has a profile of each, one in front of the other, and guess who's always at the front?
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Old 29th January 2019, 09:36 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M ELEY
Yep! I went and did it again! Can't get enough hangers, I guess.

This amazing piece comes from the Lanes Armoury. It's a late 17th century hunting hanger with brass fittings, stag hilt, pierced guard with foliage, German made 21" curved blade with false edge and faint stamp which I suspect is the 'knight's head' for the Wundes family of smiths.

The truly amazing thing about this sword is that it has King William III (with crown) and Queen Mary cameos cast into the beautiful brass pierced guard. The two were married in the 1680's, Mary died just prior to 1700 and Charles followed in 1704. Thus, I would place this sword in those two decades.

William was the Prince of Orange (in the Netherlands) before marrying the English king's daughter, Mary Stuart. The Dutch were an embattled nation, fighting off the English in trade, with France advancing on their border, the Spanish attacking their navy and even the German Republics harassing them. Admiral de Royter, acting under William, did an amazing job with strengthening the Dutch navy and even took on the Brits at sea (and won!). When it became apparent that England was not going to stop their tactics, William invaded the UK, sending Charles fleeing the country. In the peace talks, William was offered the crown and became ruler of Great Britain, Scotland, Ireland and Wales with his queen at his side. They had a popular rule and apparently many things bore their image (but I have yet to see a sword with them prior to this example!)

This early hanger was used by the affluent gentry for status and in hunting, but they were immensely popular with naval officers for their durability (brass doesn't rust in salty air) and short length (to prevent getting caught in the rigging when swinging). In Annis' Naval Swords, you will see two famous portraits of naval officers of the era wearing the exact type of hanger (Admiral Benbow and Admiral Shovell). Other examples can be seen in Gilkerson (Boarders Away) and Neumann (Swords and Blades of the American Revolution).



You surely mean James (II) fled the country not Charles . Charles(II ) had died in 1685 !
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Old 29th January 2019, 11:10 PM   #17
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My bad! Yes, I meant James II. Charles came to mind (unconsciously and incorrectly) because his visage was also portrayed on swords around this period in the form of 'mortuary' hilts.

Richard, you bring up a good point as far as the portraiture. England had always appreciated both their monarchs, king and queen. So why the second hand treatment? Could it be that the country wished to downplay Mary Stuart's role in the whole thing, being that she was James' daughter? The whole "guilt of the father, guilt of the bloodline" thing? Or perhaps some might have seen her as a true betrayer/replacer of the old king? Very interesting! I haven't looked up other images of the pair, as you mentioned on coinage. I'll have to do some research...
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Old 29th January 2019, 11:18 PM   #18
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Is there any hard evidence that the figures depicted are actually William and Mary ?
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Old 30th January 2019, 12:22 AM   #19
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I had also questioned that point, but the cameos depict a royal couple with crown, no question about that. These type hangers were really only used by the gentry in England and are very time specific based on their construction, decoration, etc. to the period 1680-ish up to 1710 or so. After that, more plain hangers came into play lacking the mythological elements, cherubs, harpies, Medusa, the Green Man, Hercules, etc, etc, which were passe. So, either these are indeed William and Mary or they are some fanciful generic depictions of an earlier king and queen (Arthur???)
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Old 30th January 2019, 07:36 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M ELEY
I had also questioned that point, but the cameos depict a royal couple with crown, no question about that. These type hangers were really only used by the gentry in England and are very time specific based on their construction, decoration, etc. to the period 1680-ish up to 1710 or so. After that, more plain hangers came into play lacking the mythological elements, cherubs, harpies, Medusa, the Green Man, Hercules, etc, etc, which were passe. So, either these are indeed William and Mary or they are some fanciful generic depictions of an earlier king and queen (Arthur???)


yes , take your point .... though as has been already remarked , it is surprising that 'Mary' is not wearing a crown ... as this 'joint monarchy' was a very important condition of the deal in inviting William over .
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Old 30th January 2019, 01:05 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M ELEY
Norm, you are a life saver! This was the thread that I was speaking of, with comments by Jim McD. and Dmitry.



Mark you are very welcome
My Regards,
Norman.
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Old 31st January 2019, 04:27 AM   #22
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Default Remains of sword hilt

Stumbled on this by complete accident. A relic from the Queen Anne's Revenge! Unfortunately, the pommel with the possible faces of William and Mary aren't displayed, just the guard. We do have the description, though, as well as another sword referenced in the Williamsburg collection.

https://www.qaronline.org/conservat.../bladed-weapons
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