As fencing progressed in the period this set was made, the combat aspect slowly faded until only the rules of the sport remained. While the fencing taught in the late 19th and early 20th centuries was intended to serve both for competition and the duel (while understanding the differences between the two situations), the type of fencing taught in a modern sport fencing salle is intended only to train the student to compete in the most effective manner within the rules of the sport. The first regularized fencing competition was held at the inaugural Grand Military Tournament and Assault at Arms in 1880, held at the Royal Agricultural Hall, in Islington in June. The Tournament featured a series of competitions between army officers and soldiers. Each bout was fought for five hits and the foils were pointed with black to aid the judges. In the United States, the Amateur Fencers League of America drew up a rulebook for fencing in 1891, in Britain the Amateur Gymnastic & Fencing Association drew up an official set of fencing regulations in 1896 about when this set was made.
Makes for a moody work of art, we think.