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Old 26th April 2024, 11:07 PM   #331
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My collaborator Paul bought his sword and casket from the son of a man called Stafford.
Reference my short history above... that is quite some coincidence!
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Old 27th April 2024, 03:27 AM   #332
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Keith, I became interested in the British swords of Hounslow and Shotley about 40 years ago, and while I was able to plow through most of the known published esoterica on these areas of sword making in England, between the 'lore' and huge gaps......overall this was simply a huge mystery.

There it remained, and the mention of either of these centers or their history was usually brief or virtually cliche'. While some of the venerable arms sages wrote very informative works on these topics, they could only go so far using established material.

Your study on these topics these past years has been UNPARALLELED !
to say the least, and as a native son of Shotley, you have brought this history to the fore, and literally preserved it through your discoveries and remarkably well discerned collection of key examples worthy of any world class museum.

I have been wanting to say this publicly for some time, and wanted to thank you, for putting this history into its proper perspective! well done Keith!
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Old 27th April 2024, 11:05 AM   #333
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Thank-you Jim... but you failed to mention that without you and Peter mentoring me throughout I may well have fallen at the first hurdle. As it was, I had put the entire project on the back burner, considering it beyond my capabilities, and it was only when the Convid lock-down occurred that I brought it to the fore again. Thank-you once again. You and Peter continue to fly my flag and it is much appreciated.

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Old 27th April 2024, 02:27 PM   #334
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Quote:
Originally Posted by urbanspaceman View Post
Thank-you Jim... but you failed to mention that without you and Peter mentoring me throughout I may well have fallen at the first hurdle. As it was, I had put the entire project on the back burner, considering it beyond my capabilities, and it was only when the Convid lock-down occurred that I brought it to the fore again. Thank-you once again. You and Peter continue to fly my flag and it is much appreciated.
You bet Keith! it was indeed the 'four'musketeers' !! (not sure which of us was D'Artagnan). Still, you ran point on the research and ESPECIALLY the collecting. You found examples that should be collectively in museum holdings as they totally support the theories that you put forth in entirely revising much of the commonly held lore on Hounslow and Shotley. It has been one of the most exciting and intriguing adventures I have experienced in my lifelong fascination with the history of the sword.
The book is FANTASTIC! and has inspired renewed interest in the Shotley Bridge community where both you and Peter are native sons and have so proudly represented your home.
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Old 27th April 2024, 10:56 PM   #335
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Hello Jim and Keith...

Last week I met Keith for lunch at the famous pub in Shotley Bridge albeit in the section that used to be called Commercial Hotel. The sign outside was changed in the summer of 64 and any flat and painted sign boards were removed...In fact I recall that before that there was a sign still seen on some old fotos of the flat painted name of that part of the hotel The new sign is infact not a bad effort at a pair of swords below a crown but is nothing like the original sign which oddly enough was about 20 yards further down the building above the main pub doors and was two basket hilts below a crown..In this case the items making up the sign were realistic but workshop made sword likenesses but in the form of Basket Hilts. Previous to this date there was another name switch when the name of the property was Commercial Hotel and the other part The Swords. There are no pictures to my knowledge of the original pub sign with the Basket Hilts...Actually a number of other organisations adopted all or part of the Crown and Crossed Swords as company Logos such as The Shotley Bridge Hospital and The Richard Murray Maternity Hospital...and Wilkinson Swords adopted the crossed swords without a crown...Peter Hudson.
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Old 29th April 2024, 04:45 PM   #336
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My collaborator Paul bought his sword and casket from the son of a man called Stafford.
Reference my short history above... that is quite some coincidence!
My apologies for my carelessness; it was the Earl of Strafford not Stafford. Ooops!
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Old 30th April 2024, 02:31 PM   #337
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There is an excellent picture of the subject at https://www.npg.org.uk/collections/s.../?mkey=mw06088
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Old 30th April 2024, 06:23 PM   #338
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Hi Peter. Thank-you, a good shot; I will send it to Paul.
Curious sword he is wearing.
I often wonder just how accurate artists were; artistic license prevailing always.
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Old 1st May 2024, 01:08 AM   #339
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I think as a rule, in accord with the late Nick Norman ("Rapier and Smallsword 1460-1820", 1979) he based his entire work on hilts taken from portraits as in his view portraits of individuals tended to be accurate, including the swords they wore. In other artwork, especially Rembrandt for example, his 'license' was well known.

Sets the mind to wondering!
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Old 1st May 2024, 02:52 AM   #340
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On the artistic licence, I think a lot will depend on the wealth of the customer. The less wealthy the more generic the clothes and accessories will be.

One needs to consider that most of the art work would have been completed without the subject present. There would have been a sitting to get the face and hands correct, but the rest would have been completed from props. So in the case of a wealthier subject the artist may have had a studio onsite and had direct access to their clothes and accruments.

For a less wealthy subject, they may have needed to taken drawings and notes on site and then completed the work in their own studio, or had a studio sitting for the basics then completed the rest from their own props.
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Old 3rd May 2024, 11:47 AM   #341
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Thank-you Radboud. Makes perfect sense.
I do, however, see hilts on aristocracy portraits here in England that are totally unknown to me, although I am new to this game.
Referring back to that portrait, it is difficult to establish - to my untrained eye - where the hilt starts and ends; can anyone define it for me please?
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Old 3rd May 2024, 11:49 AM   #342
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Here is the portrait in question, save anyone chasing the link (thank-you by the way Peter).
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Old 3rd May 2024, 03:37 PM   #343
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With regard to artistic license, this is a very valid consideration with respect to the viability of classifying and identifying swords from portraits and artwork.
Radboud has brought up most salient points, and while in many cases, the swords represented in portraits may indeed be reliable. However reading through the late Nick Norman's introduction to "The Rapier and Smallsword 1460-1820"(1980), he notes the caveats involved in using these sources as final categorization and dating of forms.

The intention of art is not only to carry out an accurate representation of a subject, but to convey other aspects that promote more subjective reactions.

This painting of Thomas Wentworth, First Earl of Stratford, was painted by the famed Sir Anthony van Dyck, who was the painter for Charles I in 1632.
Van Dyck, was well known not only for his art, but popularization of his recognizable beard style, which became de riguer among English cavaliers and indeed Charles I himself. Interestingly we see likenesses of these in figures on many swords of the period, including the familiar 'mortuary hilts'.

As far as I can find in Norman there is no direct match to the hilt of the sword seen in this painting, however p.129 (fig. 27) there is an Italian rapier of mid 16th c. with a somewhat similar pommel. Here I would note that Van Dyck had been studying in Genoa for some time before returning to England in 1632.

This rapier depicted has the similar high relief oblong pommel seen on earlier rapier hilts, as mentioned many Italian, as well as the long quillon arms of these rapiers. Here the similarity ends as there is no knuckleguard, nor the other guard bars typically seen on the more developed hilt systems.
Thus, while seemingly this appears to be an Italian style rapier, as yet not positively identified, it seems likely the image was based on those forms.
Whether or not an actual sword was worn and drawn from, we cannot know for sure.

What is interesting though is that Charles I, a Stuart, had strong ties to Italy
of course, and Italian influences important. While at this time of the painting (1633) the dish hilt and lighter transitional rapiers were in vogue, this form of more traditional 16th century rapier, mostly Italian, would well represent the profound inclinations to those swords would have presumed a stately presence to the figure.

While these details are in of course different light from the discussion in post #330, they are still relevant to the context of the swords and climate of the English court in the 1630s, and Hounslow period.
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Old 3rd May 2024, 06:46 PM   #344
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We went down the wrong road:
the portrait is of 1st Earl of Strafford (a supporter of Charles 1st) who was executed at Tower Hill in 1641.
His son, the 2nd Earl (died 1695) was a good friend of James 2nd and he owned the Shotley Bridge sword which passed to his nephew Thomas Watson (1693 - 1750) who had the caskets made.
There is a better image of the 1st earl portrait which looks like the original; the portrait inserted earlier in this thread has been over-painted adding a dog and moving the helmet; see attached.
The sword now looks like a Pappenheimer to me but I am uncertain. Nice tournament armour.
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Old 3rd May 2024, 07:11 PM   #345
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Well noted Keith, now that I see the shells it does look like a Pappenheimer.
Norman speaks to the often practiced 'overpainting', not to mention later 'restorations'. It really does set the mind to wondering just how much license did come into play.
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Old 28th May 2024, 06:07 PM   #346
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The association of this individual with the fortunes and subsequent downfall of Catholics and thus the eventual outcome of The Jacobites are mysterious indeed.

Popular feeling ran very high against the Earl, and the King, though he had assured Strafford that his life should be spared, abandoned him when it came to the point, and on the 10th signed the commission for giving the royal assent to the Bill. The Earl was beheaded on Tower Hill, 12th May 1641, and met his death with dignity and composure. He was 48 years of age. In private life the Earl of Strafford was a devoted husband and father, a true friend and a man of high cultivation and feeling. Many of his faults of temper arose from his shattered health, the result of agonizing accessions of inherited gout. His personal habits were naturally simple, but to sustain the honour of the King "before the eyes of a wild and rude people," he maintained almost regal magnificence, with a retinue of fifty servants and a body-guard of one hundred horse splendidly mounted and accoutred. The ruins of a princely mansion, begun by him, but never completed, may still be seen near Naas. In fact further research reveals 1633-1640
Thomas Wentworth (Black Tom) Earl of Strafford and Lord Deputy of Ireland builds his great house at Jigginstown, it would be an Irish Residence for Charles I, but alas Wentworth is recalled to London and loses his head before the roof goes on his great house.
He was long known in the traditions of the Irish peasantry as "Black Tom."
Peter Hudson.

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Old 28th May 2024, 10:34 PM   #347
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Interesting stuff on the complexities of Great Britain in this period, and as noted Thomas Wentworth was sent to rule in Ireland in 1633 by Charles I. While he is noted as being of admirable being in this context, his sobriquet "Black Tom" was from the Irish subjects for not only his despotic rule, but his dark demeanor and insistent wearing of somber Puritan clothing.

IMO, the style of the sword in the 'pappenheimer' manner likely comes from the profound Dutch influences brought to England in these times. The German blade makers ostensibly from Solingen were actually recruited in Holland for the Hounslow enterprise. This indirectly of course set the stage for the later Shotley Bridge venture.

Again, interesting connections, the son of 'Black Tom' (2nd Earl of Strafford) had a Shotley sword passed to his nephew Thomas Watson (1693-1750)
which of course has to do with the 'casket' (s) mentioned by Keith earlier.

Every sword has its own legacy, history and dynamics which present most fascinating perspective on historic events and persons. They are literally icons of history and the most exciting way to study it!
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Old 30th May 2024, 11:32 AM   #348
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Short version as the website ate my longer reply.
There are multiple versions of the Strafford portrait, with the Pappenheimer one owned by the NT (after Van Dyke, if I recall correctly) and the other by the NPG (school 0f Van Dyke). The NPG have another with him facing to the right, but it shows the same sword hilt in both. It also appears in Van Dykes full length portrait of Charles I in armour. I suspect that it is therefore a prop supplied by the artist, along with the cuirassier armour. That armour was rarely used in England, with only one regiment and a few troops of horse using it in the ECW, but it usefully displays the martial connections of the sitter, being used even as late as the early C18th.

To be fair to AVB Norman, there are good depictions of eg Irish Hilts in portraits of Colonels Booth, Massey and Hutchinson and a Type 91 hilt in Rembrandts 'Self portrait with Saskia', which can also be seen on contemporary tomb monuments in Bristol and Gloucester cathedrals.
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Old 31st May 2024, 06:11 PM   #349
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Just as a hint of a suggestion: I always type/compose my longer responses in MS Word, then copy and paste into the forum, as too many times the website eats my efforts.
On to the issue at hand:
Artist's 'Props', now there is an obvious reason that never crossed my mind... thank-you.
Of course, getting important folk to sit still for lengthy periods on an often basis was never easy was it/is it?
I have abandoned all efforts to unravel the family lineage involved in the Wentworth/Woodhouse/Watson affair: simply way too many variations on the names and titles to achieve coherence. I do think I got it right except the caskets were made post 1750 by the latest WWW incumbent.
All good fun until your brain melts.
Thank-you Folks.
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