The Wallace Collection

Swordplay Saturdays Image
Special Day Event

Swordplay Saturdays

Saturday 26th May, 2012

11:00am - 5:00pm

Price: Admission Free

Ages: All Ages


Come and enjoy a day of historic sword-fighting demonstrations, family workshops and special talks and lectures. End the day by watching a swashbuckling film in the Lecture Theatre.  All events are free of charge.


11.00am-12.45pm and 2.30pm-4.15pm: Drop-in family art workshop. Make your own Armour! With artist Alex Hirtzel.

11.30am-12.15pm: Historical Sword Fighting Demonstration with the Sussex Sword Academy

The Spirit of the Sword

This demonstation will explain the concept of sprezzatura which appeared in the early 16th century. A gentleman was expected, amongst other things, to be accomplished in poetry and fencing and show ease and grace in all that he did. The demonstration will show how sprezzatura influenced the early styles of swordplay and how it's adoption also affected the world of fashion.

1pm - 1.45pm: Historical Sword Fighting Demonstration with the Sussex Sword Academy

The Science of the Sword

This demonstration will examine how the 16th century fashion of attempting to understand the universe through the use of mathematics and geometry was applied to swordplay. You will learn about the principles of angulation, time, measure, judgement and creating cones of defence and attack. This demonstration will also cover the metallurgy of the sword and how this affected the type of weapons that could be produced at this time.

2pm-3pm: Shakespeare and the Sword

This lecture by former Olympic fencer and By the Sword author Richard Cohen will look at the extent to which Shakespeare himself got into duels, how he put swordfights into his plays and the controversies that have raged ever since on how to stage them. (Lecture Theatre)

3pm-3.45pm: Historical Swordfighting Demonstration with the Sussex Sword Academy

The Reality of the Duel

This final demonstration will show that although fencing had lofty ideals the reality of combat was far from civilised. Learn how swash-bucklers got their names, how a duel was fought and why they were outlawed in many countries.

4pm: Swashbuckling film screening (Lecture Theatre)

*This programme is subject to change