Artwork from 19th Century Study of Historical Fencing

Presented here below for the first time curtsey of John Waller at the Royal Armouries is a splendid selection of artwork from an 1891 "lecture on fencing" at the Lyceum theater in London by none other than Captain Alfred Hutton  and Egerton Castle (well known Victorian-era sword scholars and fencers). I gained a lot more respect for both Castle and Hutton after seeing this. The illustrations are well done and excellent in that they really show proper form for each style --or what our modern interpretations (both HACA’s and the RA fight team’s) believe them to be. Even the weapons are accurately described according to what modern expert consider them. John Waller observed on how well they seem to be doing it all correctly. I made the comment that in many ways the Royal Armouries fight interpreters are carrying on the living tradition of this study and practice of historical fencing that was begun by Hutton and Castle. What is most interestting is that they too practiced a wide range of weapons, used safety gear, and practiced both masked and unmasked (both drilling and sparring perhaps?).

lyceum2.jpg (114695 bytes)

It is worth considering that following from the valuable writings of both Hutton and Castle it seems that here now more than a century later our understanding of the same subject they pursued has not changed all that much. We have greater opportunity now to network and exchange information and a greater array of equipment, but we have not progressed that far. This may very well be due to the interruptions imposed upon study by two intervening World Wars and the wide host of dramatic social and cultural changes of the 20th century. However, there is no question now however that once more serious study is now fully commencing once again!


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