Object Title

Sword and scabbard

Sword and scabbard



Object Number



from the collection of Captain L. Beck. Sotheby's, 9th June 1950, with IX.935

Physical Description

Hilt: of steel, comprising oval pommel, knuckle guard with integral lobate quillon and arms of the hilt, two oval symmetrical shell guards and grip. The steel elements have a chiselled decoration of stylised foliage and octagonal cartouches containing trophies. The relief decoration is partly uncoloured against a matted and thinly gilt ground, and partly covered in quatre couleur gold so thin that it cannot be described as encrusting. The tip of the quillon is claasped by an acanthus calyx. The grip is of wood of rectangular section. It is bound with gilded wires, two thick twists forming a herring-bone pattern, flanked on each side by a fine twist, all alternating with a steel foil riband encrusted at intervals with gold florets and sprays. Turk's head ferrules of gilt wire.
Blade: hollow ground triangular section, blued and with gilded foliage patterns extending for 224 mm (8.8 in) from the shell guards.
Scabbard: of wood covered with fish skin, having steel mounts decorated like the hilt.


Dimensions: Sword: overall length: 1003 mm (39.5 in), blade length: 825 mm (32.5 in), Scabbard: length: 833 mm (32.8 in) Weight: Sword: 368 gm (13 oz), Scabbard: 56.6 gm (2 oz)

Inscriptions and Marks

On the locket: 5'SOUET/M/FOURBISSEUR/RUE CHOIX/DES P 5CHAMPS/ 5A LA BELLE/ARMEE'. (The last letter of SOUET is intelligible - see Notes below).


Places France

Bibliographic References

A. R. Dufty European Swords and Daggers in the Tower of London, HMSO 1974, p. 27 and pl. 64d.A. V. B. Norman, The rapier and Small Sword 1460-1820 London, 1980, p. 388.

Royal Armouries, Royal Armouries Museum [Leeds]. Souvenir guide, Royal Armouries, Leeds etc. [2006], pp. 50-51, illus (gen. view - 'French, Paris, about 1777').


C. M. Norman (September 1977) suggests that this maker is a member of the Souef family, perhaps Antoine, who was apprenticed to Francois Louis Pernot on 4th June 1761 and was probably the man of this name recorded as working at the Palais Royal in 1776, 1777 and 1779.