One of the staff read out details of a Saxon silver sword with fine silversmith workings and I re-familiarised myself with a few more of the exhibits. Sarah from the Wallace had sent me the information in text format used for the large print information booklet. This was ideal and neatly complemented my first tour when my friend Jackie read out the captions on what I could make out or “see”.
There are a few specialist terms and foreign words and authors of fencing manuals which the exhibition explains. Some of the terms can be checked for the correct spelling which makes further research easier. I was able to work through items in advance of the study day so that I could follow the speakers.
Through my screenreader I had a virtual audio guide which provided a lot of information on the items in the exhibition. My screenreader is set to American male voice (Jaws and you do get used to it) and when the cursor came across items in Italian, German and French the screenreader switched to the appropriate language though rather than revert back to my usual American chum it went to a rather plummy and sinister British English!
The programme was as follows and was linked in with the themes explored in the exhibition itself. There were about 60 people in attendance.
“In the 16th-century it [the sword] became an essential part of civilian dress as well. This study day will examine the complex story of the sword in everyday life during the Renaissance, their role as weapons but also as status symbols, jewellery objects, and works of art. Topics will include the evolution of the rapier, its development, construction and decoration, and its use, which was illustrated in lavish fencing books published throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.”