“Transition Rapier”; Scotland, 1687

Hope of Scotland

Hope of Scotland

Picasso he ain’t….

William Hope’s Scots Fencing Master, or Compleat small-swordman, in which is fully described the whole Guards, Parades, and Lessons belonging to the Small-Sword &c., Edinburgh: John Reid, 1687 is not exactly an example of indigenous Highland swordsmanship. Rather, it is a practical adaptation of Continental practices embraced by an ardent amateur swordsman.

For those of you interested in the text, I can recommend Mark Rector’s book Highland Swordsmanship.

For those interested in a closer look at the weapon to be used… how about this: 

William Hope Smallsword Amberger Collection

2 responses to ““Transition Rapier”; Scotland, 1687

  1. Thanks for putting up something about my favourite master.
    IIRC Hope wasn’t particularly pleased with those pictures. Having to make do with less than ideal illustrations for one’s book or article is a problem that still troubles us now. Hope was, of course, a lowlander and the text in Mr. Rector’s book is from another of his works, the “New, Short and Easy Method of Fencing,” which describes a significantly different style of fencing.

  2. I have to agree with Milo regarding the plates for Hopes treatise. It was very common for authors of fencing works to be displeased or let down by their co illustrators, a case in point were the plates (planche) in the traite’ of L’abbat. Apparently L’abbat was less than pleased with the results of the fencing illustrations for his work and it was later found that when Martin came to re-use the same plates, he also found a good deal of them unusable; Martin subsequently used only a small few of the wood blocks from L’abbat’s original work.

    Notwithstanding the above, it is frequently found that the illustrators would made mistakes that then contradicted the teachings in the text, such a result is evident in the 1570 traite’ of Henry de Sainct Didier – thankfully in only one instance. It would be short sighted if we were to hold the authors responsible for the shortcomings of their illustrators … illustrating works in previous centuries was also very expensive for an author so we should be grateful we have images at all when in the case of many Fencing treatises, there are none at all.

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