Object Title




about 1774

Object Number



Purchased at Phillips (London) Sale No. 28975, 28th May 1992, Lot 113 (ill. in cat, Plate II, left.

Physical Description

Hilt decorated to imitate cut-steel. The pommel is partly pierced and is decorated with rays and beads. The shell is pierced and decorated, towards the hand, with rays in the form of an eight-pointed star surrounded by a wreath, with beads around the outer edge; towards the blade the wreathed star is replaced by an oval of rays and an oval of studs. The knuckle-guard and quillons are decorated with beads, and the former has three oval holes at its mid-point. The quillon block is decorated with a pierced star of beads. The grip is bound with a silver laterally ridged ribbon alternating with a pair of spiral wire twists in opposing senses flanked by a pair of fine wire twists. There is a ferrule at either end made in one with the pommel and the quillon block, each decorated twice with a shell-like motif. Traces of gilding remain, especailly on the pommel stand and around the quillon block.

Triangular section blade with fullers rising approx. 100 mm (4 in) from the hilt and extending to the tip. Remains of etched foliage scrolls.

Condition on acquisition: Good, though blade is very slightly bent and its decoration is very worn for last 120 mm (4.75 in)


Dimensions: Overall length: 998 mm (39.3 in), blade length: 834 mm (32.7 in), blade width, by hilt: 20 mm (0.8 in)

Inscriptions and Marks

On hilt: silver marks5On shell, towards the blade, inside the hand: lion passant guardant (Sterling silver standard mark).5On shell, towards the blade, outside the hand: 'W.K' in a frame shaped to the letters.5On the rear arm of the hilt, inside the hand: leopards head (London town mark); date letter, probably 'T' for 1774-75.


Bibliographic References

Sale Cat. (see under Provenance).[G.J. Rimer], 'Recent Acquisition', The Armourer, Autumn 1992 (unpaginated).

L Southwick, London silver-hilted swords, their makers, suppliers and allied traders, with directory, Leeds, Royal Armouries, 2001[a]: 290, pls 75-7 (hilt and base of blade only; similar view looking down; det. of shell and marks).

L Southwick, 'Some silver-hilted swords by London makers in the Royal Armouries', Royal Armouries Yearbook, 6, 2001[b], pp. 32-54, at pp. 47-8, fig. 24.


For information on William Kinman and for other hilts in the Royal Armouries by him, see entry for IX.855, under Notes.
Similar small-swords are in: the Victoria and Albert Museum, Reg. No. 1724-1888, with London marks for 1776-7 (A.V.B. Norman (and C.M. Barne), 'The Rapier and Small-Sword, 1460-1820', London etc., 1980, p.150; Anthony North, 'An Introduction to European Swords', London, 1982, p. 26, fig.49); Glasgow Museums and Art Galleries, Reg. No. '39-65 jy, unmarked silver hilt (A.V.B. Norman, 'Some Eighteenth-Century Civilian Swords', 'Scottish Art Review', XII, No. 12 (1969), pp.19-21, at p.20, Pl.3). Another was being offered for sale on the website of Michael Long (www.michaellong.com; no. 101012) on 30 January 2006 (prints on inv. file). No date letter was mentioned; the maker's mark was somewhat unclear in the images but was interpreted by the dealer as TC. A hanger with similar decoration is Royal Armouries Inv. No. IX.2166 (Chrisites / Sotheby's COMPLETE REF).