Object Title

Sword

Sword

Date

1680-1750

Object Number

IX.5440

Provenance

Purchased at auction from Wallis & Wallis, 29 April, 1998..

Physical Description

Basket guard with S shaped bars.
Hilt
The bun-shaped pommel has a prominent tang-button and is decorated with deeply incised lines in four groups of three, the central one longer than the flanking ones. The basket guard is largely formed of bars of rounded rectangular section and conventional Scottish type in having a main and side knuckle-guards and a rear-guard, but in place of the saltires and plates are five S-bars (some with the S reversed). The ends of the Ss, which are shaped and chiselled into dragons heads, each biting the end of a 'vertical' bar which joins the ends of each S. The heads are decorated with punched circular 'scales'. Additionally, inside the hand there is an oval (of the type known as a 'horseman's ring') and there are open hearts mounted between the rear quillon and the two S-bars supported on the rear guard and side knuckle-guards. The two forward guards are of rounded section.


Blade
Straight, two-edged, hollow ground blade. For the first 160 mm there is a flattened central ridge of approx. 8mm width, which bears an inscription in brass inlay (see marks). The remainder of the blade has a strong central rib and tapers to a sharp point.


Condition on Acquisition: generally good. Blade is bent in several places and curves slightly to the inside as a result.

Dimensions

Dimensions: Overall length: 1090 mm (42 15/16 in), Blade length: 935 mm (36 13/16 in), Blade width at hilt: 42 mm (1 6/8 in) Weight: 1575 g (3 lb 8.2 oz)

Inscriptions and Marks

On each side of blade: '8o VIVE 8o LE 8o ROY 8o'. The '8o' mark actually resembles a trio of joined 7 or 8 toothed cog-wheels.

Associations

Places Britain

Notes

A sword with a hilt of the same type, but with a slightly lower pommel and with a single-edged blade, was in a private collection in Feb. 1992 (photocopied illus. sent by the late Charles Darling - copies on inv. file). The hilt was very badly pitted. This is probably the sword that served as the basis for drawings of this hilt type published by R.I. McAllister, 'The Grey and Black Dragoons', 'Dispatch', No. 121, n.d. (1989?), pp. 20-24, at pp. 21 (drawings), 23-4 (text). McAllister says the sword is 'undoubtedly a dragoon sword and the Scottish connection is almost undisputable.', but he produces no firm evidence for these statements. He suggests the sword belonged either to the 'Scots Grey Dragoons' (1706-1713 or 1745?) or to 'Stair's Black Dragoons' (1715-1742?).