Described by The Times as a “watershed between past and future of that most magnificent of publishing beasts, the academic catalogue … as beautifully presented and generously illustrated as it is well researched”, this book draws attention to a selection of the most refined and tantalizing pieces or arms and armour from one of the most significant collections of its kind. More
The Noble Art of the Sword: Fashion and Fencing in Renaissance Europe 1520–1630
264 pages, paperback, 300 x 245 mm, 150 colour illus.
ISBN: 978 0 900785 43 6
Tobias Capwell et al.
Since the early Bronze Age the sword has been a sign of wealth, status and the power of divine right. Yet, before the sixteenth century the sword was almost never carried on the person in everyday life. It was a rare, noble weapon, carried into battle by the aristocratic warrior class but set aside in time of peace. However, the increasing prominence of the Renaissance middle classes brought a fundamental change to the sword's place in society. Now large numbers of non-noble but often wealthy and upwardly mobile people could also afford rich things like fine clothes, jewelry and weapons.
Accompanying a major international exhibition at the Wallace Collection, London (17 May – 16 September 2012), this catalogue celebrates this artistic and cultural importance of the sword, as a symbol of power and prestige, as a flamboyant fashion statement and as an icon in the Age of Discovery. It will feature weapons and related works of art from the Wallace Collection as well as other great collections of arms and armour; never-before-seen works on fencing drawn from the library of the 8th Lord Howard de Walden; and portraits, prints and drawings that will help place the Renaissance civilian sword in its social and artistic context.
Dr Tobias Capwell, Curator of Arms and Armour in the Wallace Collection, is an internationally-acknowledged expert on medieval and Renaissance arms and armour. Founding member of the Royal Armouries jousting team, Tobias became Queen's Champion by winning the Royal Armouries Queen's Golden Jubilee joust in 2006. He is the author of a numerous publications, including the recently published Masterpieces of European Arms and Armour in the Wallace Collection (2011), The Worldwide Encyclopedia of Knives, Daggers and Bayonets (2009) and The Wallace Collection: A Celebration of Arms and Armour at Hertford House (2008).
"... And the compulsively readable catalogue is packed with new and mostly unpublished material." The Telegraph, 14 May 2012
"The various chapters are both informative and decorative with a plentiful use of illustrative material culled from early litterature on the art of fencing." Birmingham Post, 19 July 2012
"Words cannot adequately describe the skill and artistry employed by the jewelers, damasceners, enamelers, gilders and burnishers who produced the splendid swords shown in the pages of this book. I recommend The Noble Art of the Sword for this reason alone." Toy Soldier & Model Figure, October 2012
The third and last in the series of catalogues and exhibitions on the endlessly diverse subject of artworks which reflect the culture of the Chinese scholar class and some of the individuals who comprised it. It follows on the heels of Documentary Chinese Works of Art in Scholars' Taste and Emperor Scholar Artisan Monk. Over 160 fine examples of painting, calligraphy and desk or scholastic objects, dating from the 15th to the 20th century, are presented with colour photographs and detailed, educative entries. More
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Stained glass was unknown in antiquity. Invented around AD 1000, it soon achieved a dominant position in the arts of the Middle Ages, not only in churches but also in secular contexts. Its innovation can be compared with that of television – and like television it involves passing light through a transparent layer, using the light of sun instead of light generated by electricity, so that in a real sense the stained glass image is in constant motion, as the light passing through it changes. More
The outstanding collection of late 17th- and 18th-century books, together with their sumptuous bindings, built up by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild in the last 20 years of the 19th century, match his other extraordinary collections (covered by earlier catalogues in the series), and is among the best of its kind outside Paris. This catalogue reveals for the first time the riches of his book collection. More
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Spanning some 350 years, the Thomson Collection of historic ship models contains examples of exquisite workmanship and some of the masterpieces of the genre. Pride of the collection are the rare British dockyard models made to scale for affluent 18th-century clients closely associated with the Navy. More
During the Tudor Age the South West was famed for the innovation and endeavour of its people. Devon seadogs Drake, Raleigh and Hawkins sailed to ‘World’s End’ in their pursuit of treasure and glory, Exeter’s Nicholas Hilliard produced exquisite miniature portraits of courtiers while fellow Exonian Thomas Bodley re-founded Oxford University’s library, later named the Bodleian in his honour. These men lived during the religious turmoil and political intrigue of Elizabeth I’s reign – a time of opportunity for the merchants and traders of Devon. More
When English naturalist Joseph Banks accompanied Captain James Cook on his historic mission into the Pacific, he took with him a team of collectors and illustrators. They returned with unprecedented collections of artefacts and specimens of stunning birds, fish and other animals as well as thousands of plants, most seen for the first time in Europe. They produced, too, remarkable landscape and figure drawings along with detailed journals, descriptions and maps of the places visited. This collection – along with contemporary portraits of key personalities aboard the ship, scale models and plans of the ship itself, scientific instruments taken on the voyage, commemorative medals and sketches – will tell the story of the Endeavour voyage and its impact ahead of the 250th anniversary in 2018 of the launch of this seminal mission. More
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There is an excitement to eccentric netsuke, and a dimension of an artistic personality and vision which raises these creations from the level of craft to art. The simple fact is that individual, experimental netsuke are much more difficult to understand than identifiable hack work – even great hack work – and are therefore much more gratifying when one does understand them. More
Literati material finds its way into parts of the brain which regular works of antiquity cannot reach; the convoluted twists of cunning poetic allusions, themselves referring back and further back, to old writings, inscriptions on stone, legendary heroes and their mottoes, and not infrequent misquotes, can catch the unwary seeker after meaning in their complex web, causing him to lose all sense of afternoons and sometimes days. While one can admire Chinese literati works for their purely visual appeal and intimate, personable presence, it is their literary content that renders them so endlessly individual and subjective of interpretation. More