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Sunday, 9 October 2022

Raffaello Schiaminossi’s etching, “Plate 24: Rapier and Dagger Combat”, 1610


Raffaello Schiaminossi (aka Raffaello Schiaminossi) (1572–1622)

“Plate 24: Rapier and Dagger Combat, 1610, from the series of forty-three plates illustrating Ridolfo Capo Ferro’s (aka Ridolfo Capoferro; Rodulphus Capoferrus) (1558–?) instructional manual on fencing (Italian rapier combat), “Gran simulacro dell'arte e dell'uso della scherma” (Grand Simulacrum of the Art and Use of Fencing), published in 1610 by Silvestro Marchetti (fl. 1602–1619) in Siena (see https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/object/P_1867-0309-75-119).

Etching on fine laid paper with full margins and letterpress text with woodcut border printed verso as published.

Size: (sheet) 20.4 x 27.5 cm; (plate) 13.3 x 23.8 cm.

Inscribed on plate: (upper left corner) “24”; (lower left corner) “C/ [artist’s monogram] S/ RAF [ligature]. F.”; (lower right corner) “D”.

Letterpress Italian text verso: “FIGVRA CHE PARA DI PV-/ GNALE ALTO DI DENTRO ET/ FERISCE DI RIVERSO NELLA COSCIA ET/ di quarta nel petto come dimostrano le figure./ RITROVANDOTI in quarta con il pugnale alto, stando il tuo auersario in qual si voglia/ guardia atta a stringer di dentro, pur con la gamba dritta innanzi, incomincerai a strin-/gerlo di dentro in quarta e cauando egli per ferirti di quarta in faccia tu parando di den-/ tro con il tuo pugnale sopra il tuo braccio dritto, lo potrai ferire, o d’vn riuerso nella co-/ scia, ò veramente d’vna quarta sotto il braccio.”

Interestingly, this fencing manual was very influential in its time and the manual must still be influential and relevant as it has been republished by Greenhill Books/Stackpole Books in 2004. This recent reprint of the original plates and text (fortunately translated into English) is described with the following excellent account (of which this is an extract):

“The manual, illustrated with 43 striking illustrations, gives a very real flavour of the panache of this expert in swordsmanship and mastery of that most lethal of weapons—the rapier. Ferro examines different kinds of swords, their component parts and their suitability, before going on to discuss their actual use. There he expounds his theory as to the timing and direction of thrusts, the essential distances and the need for complete control. He also looks at defensive measures, guards, parries, the need for quick footwork. Capo Ferro's text is a practical guide to fighting and one which builds on the theory to show exactly how a superior form of swordsmanship could be learned by Europe's elite. His illustrations clearly show the best methods and also show how a rapier could be lethally effective when used with a dagger or with a cloak” (see https://www.amazon.com/Italian-Rapier-Combat-Ridolfo-Simulacro/dp/1853675806).

Condition: a strong and well-printed page (recto and verso) with full margins. There are remnants of mounting on the upper corners, otherwise, the sheet is in an excellent condition with no tears, holes, folds, abrasions or significant stains.

I am selling this unforgettably graphic image of a “tough-love” rapier lesson set in an open field with naked muscly chaps, for AU$330 (currently US$210.24/EUR215.80/GBP189.45 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world, but not (of course) any import duties/taxes imposed by some countries.

If you are interested in acquiring this exceptionally rare etching from an important and unusual instructional manual, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.










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