The Noble Art of the Sword celebrates the artistic and cultural importance of the sword, as a symbol of power and prestige, as a flamboyant fashion statement, and as an icon of the Age of Discovery.

It will be composed of weapons and related works of art from the Wallace Collection; never-before-seen illustrated works on fencing drawn from the Lord Howard de Walden library; loans from a number of the great collections of arms and armour; and portraits, prints and drawings that will help place the Renaissance civilian sword in its social and artistic context.

This major international exhibition will also explore the ancient origins of the modern sport of fencing. Fencing is one of only nine original Olympic events practised since the first Olympiad of the modern era of 1896. It is set to reveal a place in history where art and sport converged.

Since the early Bronze Age the sword has been a sign of wealth, status and the power of divine right. Yet before the 16th-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 peacetime. 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, jewellery and weapons.

An exciting programme of events will accompany the exhibition including themed talks and tours, handling sessions and live demonstrations.

The Wallace Collection

Hertford House, Manchester Square, London, W1U 3BN

020 7563 9500

Website

Opening times

Daily, including bank holidays, 10am – 5pm Closed 24 – 26 Dec

Free to all

20% off dining on Fridays and Saturdays, from 5pm.

Valid to 31 December 2018

Round off your visit to the Wallace Collection with a meal at Oliver Peyton's The Wallace Restaurant in the beautiful glazed courtyard. Show your National Art Pass to receive 20% off your bill for food and wine. This discount is available on Fridays and Saturdays, from 5pm. Booking required, see below for details.


Haven't got your pass yet? Learn more


Exhibitions at The Wallace Collection


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