Object Title

Sabre and scabbard

Sabre and scabbard



Object Number



Purchased 4 July 1984 from Andrew Lumley (dealer). For earlier provenance, see Notes. Notes.

Physical Description

Elaborately decorated cut steel hilt with knuckle guard, quillon and half shell guard being integral, a large 'S' scroll branch linking cross guard and knuckle guard. The pommel is integral with the backstrap to the grip and is located at its base inside a ferrule. All the metalwork of the hilt is pierced to create a mixture of plain straps and straps in the form of linked paterae, all fitted with facetted and polished steel studs rivetted or screwed into place. The dense, dark wood (ebony?) grip is finely carved in relief and, on the inside, incorporates a cartouche bearing the monogram 'PL', possibly that of Pietro Leopoldo (1747-92), Grand Duke of Tuscany and later Emperor of Austria.

Blade: single edged, curved, with wide fuller both sides, pattern welded to create a herringbone effect. The inside face is polished and etched near the hilt with decorative elements and an inscription
' R'al Manifattura di Napoli', the arms factory of Ferdinand IV.

scabbard : all steel, fitted with two suspension mounts, a small mouthpiece and a shoe, each decorated in similar fashion to the hilt. The four corners of the scabbard are finely file cut along their whole length.


Dimensions: Sword: overall length: 935 mm: blade length: 805 mm Weight: Sword: 1010 g, Scabbard: 540 g


Bibliographic References

C. Calanandrei, Armi Bianche Militari Italiane 1814-1950, Editoriale Olimpia, Florence, 1987, p. 351 (illus.), 2nd edn, idem., 1999, p. 494.


Two sabres with similar hilts are in the Musée de lArmée, Paris, inv. no J.497 (both have same number - see photocopied photos and letter from A.V.B. Norman, May 1991, on inv. file). On one the guard is made up of two S-scrolls. According to inf. from G.M. Wilson, Oct. 1990, these are mourning swords (MS note by GR in IBE).
According to Brian Gilmour this is an important example of late manufacture of a pattern-welded blade (pers. comm. to Sarah Bevan, 1989). It is not clear whether the Musée de lArmée examples also have pattern-welded blades (probably not) and this needs checking (PJL, 15/03/99).
According to Calamandrei (1999: 494) it was earlier sold at auction by Hermann Historica OHG in 1984.
Found with 'Louisville' label attached, but no entry in FLOC so assumed not to be required and label removed. (PJL, 29/10/03).