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Length: 82.75 inches (210cm)
Width: 4 inches (10cm)
Thickness of shaft: 1.25 inches (3.5cm)
Length: 85 inches (216cm); 86 inches (218cm)
Width: 3.75 inches (9.5cm); 3.5 inches (9cm)
Thickness of shaft: 1.3 inches (3.5cm); 1.25 inches (3cm)
Both glaives have shaped blades, profusely etched on both sides with Clemens August’s coat of arms, and both dated ‘1741’ and with the letters: ‘CAC.Z.C’, one with a replacement shaft. The glaives have a single-edged blade on the end of a pole. One with three circular piercings into the blade.
The partisan has a spear head with symmetrical protrusions, mounted on a long wooden shaft. The ribbed blade pierced and shaped, with a pair of upward-curving lugs and four circular piercings. Decorated with an etched pattern – possibly elaborate initials ‘CAC’, surmounted by an etched crown.
There were three main types of ceremonial polearm, which were in use from around 1500: the glaive; the partisan; and the halberd. Each derived from a fighting weapon, and had a broad blade made from wrought steel which could be finely decorated. Such highly decorated polearms were used by the nobility and royalty of Europe – for parading and for ceremony and to arm their personal bodyguards. Such polearms were used to demonstrate the importance and wealth of their owners. These weapons quickly became obsolete with the arrival of practical firearms, although they remained use for many years as a ceremonial weapon.
Clemens August of Bavaria (17 August 1700 – 6 February 1761): Clemens August was a member of the Wittelsbach dynasty of Bavaria, Archbishop-Elector of Cologne, and Grand Master of the Teutonic Order. His brother was Charles VII, Holy Roman Emperor. Clemens August was a great patron of the arts and was responsible for building the magnificent palaces of Augustusburg and Falkenlust in Brühl.
Clemens August, through astute political manouevres, enriched his treasury immeasurably and used his wealth to create interiors of the most sumptuous grandeur imaginable. Marcus Binney (op. cit) cites the reaction of Lady Mary Coke, who spent a day at Bruhl in 1767: ‘The ceilings of two or three of the rooms are beyond any of those the King of France has at Versailles.’
The splendour of the interiors provided a fitting context for the ceremonial Clemens August desired, and Binney quotes the report of the Abbe de Guebriand, the Ambassador of Louis XV, who arrived for an audience at the Schloss on 21st November 1747: After he had passed the officers of the Court in the hall, ‘the chief equerry received me at the doors of the first chamber, the grand marshal at the second, and the grand marshall, in the absence of the great chamberlain at the third.’
To receive such distinguished guests, Clemens August would be flanked by his personal ceremonial guards who would have armed with the glaives offered here. They represent a rare survival as no other examples of polearms made for Clemens August’s personal guard are known to exist.
Private Collection, UK.
‘Schloss Brühl: Cologne’ in ‘Great Houses of Europe: from the Archives of Country Life’, Marcus Binney, Aurum Press, 2003, pp. 50-59.
|Height||216.00 cm||(85.04 inches)|
|Width||9.50 cm||(3.74 inches)|
|Depth||3.50 cm||(1.38 inches)|
Thomas Coulborn & Sons
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