Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Hand and a Half Sword

15th century
Steel, leather, wood
L. 48 3/8 in. (122.9 cm); L. of blade 36 7/8 in. (93.7 cm); W. 10 in. (25.4 cm); Wt. 3 lb. 9 oz. (1618 g)
Credit Line:
Gift of William H. Riggs, 1913
Accession Number:
Not on view
The name of this type of sword refers to the length of its hilt, which allows it to be wielded with one hand or two. Before being acquired by William H. Riggs, this sword was in the collection of Sir Samuel Rush Meyrick (1783–1848), founder of the modern study of arms and armor. Meyrick purchased the sword from a London dealer in 1818. It was included in a watercolor by the French painter Eugène Delacroix (1797–1863), which he made during a visit to Meyrick’s collection in 1825. The sword was catalogued as possibly English in the early nineteenth century, but its place of origin remains uncertain.
William H. Riggs, Paris (until 1913; his gift to MMA).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Bashford Dean and the Creation of the Arms and Armor Department," October 2, 2012–October 13, 2014.

Meyrick, Samuel R., and Joseph Skelton. Engraved Illustrations of Antient Arms and Armour: From the Collection of Llewelyn Meyrick at Goodrich Court, Herefordshire. Vol. 2. London: J. Skelton, 1830. pl. CI, fig.4.

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