Object Title





Object Number

IX.2578 A-C


Purchased 22nd October 1982.

Physical Description

Hilt: of gold, comprising pommel, knuckle guard with integral quillon, arms of the hilt and sleeve, oval shell guard and grip.

Pommel: urn shaped, having a prominent tang button and a small stand, with borders of faceted studs. The main body of the pommel is fluted, the upper portion having a series of overalapping oval panels around its periphery. The tang button is decorated with faceted gadrooning with a short neck terminating in a band of knurled ribboning.

Knuckle guard: is of plain diamond section towards the pommel and plain triangular section towards the blade. The central, swelled, section is cast in relief and pierced with alternate gadrooning and studding within a scalloped border. The quillon is of the same section as the lower portion of the knuckle guard and the outer face of the downturned disc finial is cast and pierced with faceted studs and spiralling scrollwork; the inner face is stamped with a complete set of hallmarks (see under Marks for details).The sleeve is decorated with a wreath of faceted foliage on a matt ground.

Shell guard: has a pierced border consisting of knurled scrolling ribbon work interspersed with faceted paterae and a frieze comprising a row of faceted studds; this is followed by a presentation inscription which reads

'from the Colony of Essequebo and Demerary to GEORGE WILSON ESQ., Major 39th Regiment in testimony of the sense entertained of his merit September 1800'

Grip: hollow cast gold, decorated en-suite.

Blade: hollow ground triangular section, blued, gilt and etched for half its length with scrolling foliage, a lion's head, a lion, a trophy of arms, helmeted heads ans the figures of Victory, Mercy and Britannia. At the forte is a gilt panel etched with foliate scrollwork and oak leaves within a cusped border.

scabbard : wood, covered with black leather and carrying three gold mounts, all having cusped borders backed by an engraved line. The two lockets are fitted with a loose suspension ring. One the inside face the top locket is inscribed

and stamped with the standard and duty marks, date letter and makers mark as on the quillon finial.

A new tang button was made in 1987/88 to replace the original which was damaged in 1987.


Dimensions: Sword: length overall: 1048 mm (41.25 in), blade length: 864 mm (34 in), Scabbard: overall length: 889 mm (35 in) Weight: Sword: 400 gm, Scabbard: 65 gm

Inscriptions and Marks

On the quillon finial:1.lion passant mark (at this date indicating 22 carat gold).2. London assay mark3. date letter 'F' for 1801/24. duty mark5. makers mark 'SC'.

Bibliographic References

G. M. Wilson, Arms and Armour at The Dorchester, 1983, November, pp. 22-29

T. Richardson and G. Rimer, Treasures from the Tower in the Kremlin, Moscow, 1997, cat. no. 44, pp. 114-115 (col. illus. - gen. view; det. of hitl), 188-189 (b. & w. illus. - det. of hilt) - date letter incorrectly given as 1800-01.



A.G. Grimwade, 'London Goldsmiths 1697-1837; their Marks and Lives', London, 1976 suggests that the maker's mark SC is possibly for Samuel Cooke of Crown and Sceptre Court, St James Street, who registered his first mark in 1776 and his second in 1789. For a more recent and fuller account see Southwick 2001: 76-7 (not yet extrached).

Major George Wilson of the 39th regiment of Foot was appointed an ensign on 2nd February 1784, served as a Captain between 1793 and 1795 in the West Indies and appointed Major on his return to England. In 1796 his regiment were sent back to the West Indies; howver they were forced to divert to Demerara, a Dutch colony, which surrenderd to the British army. Wilson and his regiment returned to England in 1803 and in June 1809 he fought in the Peninsular War until his death in 1813. For further detail see C. T. Atkinson, 'The Dorsetshire Regiment', Vol I, Part I, 'The Thirty-Ninth', Oxford 1947.

A note in the Typed Inventory, 8th March 1988, records that a replica tang button was made to replace the original, damaged in 1987 when a bracket was being made for display. The question was raised at this time whether the detailed facetting of the grip carried out by a diamond miller and whether such equipment existed in 1801 ?