Object Title

Sword and scabbard

Sword and scabbard

Date

1850-1900

Object Number

IX.3358

Physical Description

The gilt-brass hilt consists of a cap-pommel with a moulded band around the top, and a half back-piece, around the edges of which is a groove. The oval-sectioned knuckle-guard which pegs into the pommel has, at its centre, a flat hour-glass knop with two quatrefoil flowers on each side; it is made in one with the short rear quillon (with disc finial inclined towards the blade), and the 'shells'. The latter comprise a vestigial, segmental projection inside the hand; while outside the hand there is an oval shell inclined towards the pommel. The latter shell has four roughly triangular piercings to define a central plate, and two comma-shaped plates, engraved with milled lines somewhat resembling sea-shells. A silver plated(?) flaming grenade is attached by two rivets to the central plate. The wooden grip is covered with fish-skin, spirally grooved and bound with a medium spirally bound copper twist flanked by two fine twists in the same sense. There is a reeded ferrule nearest the blade.
The double-edged blade is of flattened hexagonal section with a 34 mm (1.3in.) ricasso. The blade has relief decoration for about half its length. On each side is a panel of foliage scrolls with, at the centre, the monogram HAC. The ricasso has, outside the blade, a six-pointed star with a circle at its centre, and, on the inside, 'PRATER & CO / CONTRACTORS / LONDON'.
The black leather scabbard has gilt-brass mounts. The deep top-locket is deorated with grooves by the mouth and near the base. The base is drawn down on the outside to a half-oval with an elaborate frog stud at its centre. The chape is decorated ensuite and has a pointed asymmetric shoe.
Condition: Extensive patches of the gilding are worn. The blade has apparently formerly been badly rusted and has been severely cleaned, though all the decoration has survived in outline. The scabbard leather is possibly not original as it fits the mounts badly.

Materials

Dimensions

Dimensions: Sword: Overall length: 959 mm (37 1/2 in.), Blade length: 826 mm (32.6 in.), Blade width: 25 mm (1 in.), Scabbard: Overall length: 832 mm / (32 3/4 in.) Weight: Sword: 700 g (1 lb. 8 3/4 oz), Scabbard: 220 g (7 1/2 oz)

Associations

Places Britain

Notes

A similar sword is illustrated in J. Wilkinson_Latham, 'British Cut and Thrust Weapons' (1971), p.57, captioned 'c.1875'. The hilt is the same except that the terminal of the rear quillon is decorated with an incised flower.
What may be a similar sword is worn by an Infantry Private (Full Dress, Off Duty) in an engraving captioned '1850-57' in GA Raikes, 'History of the Honourable Artillery Company (1878-9)', Vol. II, pl. facing p. 480.