The weapons of the privileged class have always been influenced by fashion. Just after the turn of the 17th century, the cruciform sword based on the Gothic model, returned to favor in England. Rapiers and broad swords with straight cross guards were worn by those who could afford them. The popularity lasted little over a decade and by 1620, had run its course, probably owing to the fact that the early form was disadvantaged against those weapons which provided greater hand protection. This example dated to that period and is a rare surviving example of that fashion. It is all iron, with a hilt chiseled in foliage and undoubtedly gilt originally. The rapier blade was imported from the most esteemed maker of the time, Antonio Picinnio, and bears his name repeated three times on each side of the blade. The inscription as well as the panels of foliage flanking them, retain their original gold inlay. Blade length: 31 1/8"