Italian foil or épée; Italy, c. 1890

Pessina vs. Pecoraro






Pessina vs. Pecoraro






Italian épée fencing… or are these foils?

I admit it is hard to tell if these are foils or épées… and I happily correct headline and description. My guess is based on the thickness of the blade at the forte, which unfortunately also might be an artifice of long exposure times. The Italian épées in my collections have deeper guards… but most of them post-date this image by a generation. The thick, padded foil gloves tahat enable you to tell foil from épée in the French school are missing…

Dr. Gaugler suggests: “As far as I know the large épée bell guard of the Italian épée was the invention of the Greco brothers.  Previously, apparently, the bell guard was the same as for the Italian, or more correctly, the Neapolitan foil bell guard, only the blade differed, being triangular and semirigid.  So, it is hard to say whether the blade in your picture is that of a foil or an épée.  It does seem thicker than a foil blade.”

The image corresponds to another one I posted earlier this week. The fencer to the right doubtlessly is Pecoraro, the one to the left could be a young Pessina (pere).

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