Object Title

Sword and scabbard

Sword and scabbard

Date

1875

Object Number

IX.2584

Physical Description

Said to have been presented to Colonel John Ignatius Macdonell, 71st (H.L.I) egt. of Foot. Wilkinson blade number 19846.

Inscriptions and Marks

On blade, on ricasso, stamped: 19846 [Elgood 2008 gives number as 19845 - to CHECK] with 'embossed' inscription 'FROM H.R.H THE PRINCE OF WALES K.G., G.C.S.I / INDIA 1875-76'.

Associations

Places Britain

Bibliographic References

Trotman, 2008 (original edition 1898), pp. ix-xxiii plus Appendix, at pp. xiv, xv (illus.).

Notes

A number of weapons, including quite a quantity by Wilkinsons, for presentation by the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) during his visit to India in 1875-76. All the weapons so far encountered have the same cartouche of the Prince of Wales's feathers, surrounded by the collar of the order of the Star of India and a wreath, and surmounted by a crown.
A list of recipients from the Royal Archives at Windsor Castle is reproduced by Robert Wilkinson-Latham, 'Mr Wilkinson of Pall Mall, London: the History of Wilkinson Sword in two volumes 1772-1972', RL Publishing, Anna Valley, 2000, chapter 4, Appendix: The .577 Howdah Pistol presented by the Prince of Wales on his tour of India 1875-6, at pp. 5-6. From this it can be seen that there were ten recipients of 'Cross Hilted Claymores' (these are Wilkinson blade slip nos 19841-19850) and nine recipients of 'Basket hilted Claymores' (these are Wilkinson blade slip nos 19851- 19860). One 'Silver Mounted Claymore' was also presented. A cross-hilted claymore and a drawing, by William Rowe, for the cartouche with the Prince of Wales's feathers is reproduced by Wilkinson-Latham, Ch. 4, p. 14.
The list of recipients also includes 37 people who received 'Cimitars', one at least of which was a special version of the General Officer's pattern 1831 (see below under 'Other pieces ... noted elsewhere) and 5 people who received 'dirks'. The latter are the only knives mentioned. It is not clear whether this includes the Shakespeare knives (as Royal Armouries X.772) but Wilkinson Latham (Appendix, 'Howdah Pistols', p. 4) illustrates a scabbard for a single-edged knife with the P o W feathers, though the folding knife shown above it appears to be too long for the scabbard.
Other pieces from this series in the Royal Armouries are:
X.772 - Shakespeare knife and sheath, by Wilkinson officer'sword, by Wilkinson.
XII.1579 - cased double-barrelled howdah pistol, by Wilkinson.
XII.10624 - centre-fire double-barrelled rifle, by Wilkinson.
Other pieces from the series, noted elsewhere:
Highland Regiment officer's basket-hilted sword and scabbard, by Wilkinson - Bonhams (London), 6 April 2006, lot 138 (illus. in cat.) - blade number 19852.
A 'Cimitar' presented to General Sir Dighton Probyn (a special version of the 1831 General Officer's pattern) was offered for sale by Smith & Wilde Ltd, of Pocklington, nr York, at an auction held at the Royal Armouries, Leeds, 19 October 2007, Lot 138 (illus. in cat.). Lot 139 in the same sale was a Howdah Pistol, by tradtion presented to Probyn at the same time, though Probyn's name is not included in the list of recipients of 'Double-Barrelled Pistols' in the list of recipients mentioned above.
For information on the howdah pistols generally in this series and details of other examples, see entry for XII.1579, under Notes.
Since the above was written Robert Elgood (Elgood 2008: ix-xxiii) has discussed the Prince of Wales's visit, including the weapons presented, and he identifies some of the other firms who supplied firearms (Elgood 2008: xii). (PJL, 17/10/13)