The Noble Art of the Sword: Fashion and Fencing in Renaissance Europe

Posted on: January 11th, 2012

The Wallace Collection is all set to deliver an extraordinary exhibition this summer. The exhibition examines the sword as a weapon, fashion item, and rich jewellery object. With the upcoming Olympics and fencing being one of the nine original Olympic sports, the exhibition represents the perfect opportunity to investigate the development of sword-fighting.

The exhibition will display works of art from the Wallace Collection, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Royal Armouries, British private collections and works from continental collections exhibited in Britain for the first time. 16th and early 17th century swords will be displayed alongside illustrated fencing manuals, portraits, design books and documents which help place the Renaissance sword in its social and artistic context.

The evolution of the sword as a fashion statement represents a Renaissance phenomenon, swords were not just weapons, they were works of art. All manner of decorative techniques went into creating the swords: gilding, enamelling, carving and encrusting with precious metals and jewels. A fine sword was the fashion accessory of its day, a statement of its owner’s status and power.

The Exhibition promises to be engaging and the quality of artworks is excellent, definitely worth a visit. The exhibition runs from Thursday 17th May until Sunday 16th September 2012 at the Wallace Collection, Admission is free. www.wallacecollection.org/collections/exhibition/93