Object Title

Sword

Sword

Date

1831-1870

Object Number

IX.7605

Provenance

Found in Brick Tower Store, rack 13B, 1982-3; first registered by Valuation Team in 1987.

Physical Description

Gilt 'brass' (copper alloy) hilt of conventional small-sword form, but lacking the arms. The pommel is of flattened urn shape on a stand and with a tang button; the knuckle-guard and two symmetrical quillons are made in one, the latter having cylindrical terminals, with domed centres, inclined towards the blade. There is a single outer shell which extends on the inside as a short section (where the inner shell would be) turned towards the pommel. The rectangular sectioned grip is also of gilt 'brass'. The pommel, knuckle-guard, edge of the shell (both sides), sleeve and edges of the grip are decorated with beading.

Straight, double-edged blade of flattened oval section with a short ricasso and decorated in relief etched foliage for about half its length and, at the base of the blade, on the outside, within a shield: SMITH & SONS / 12 / PICCADILLY / LONDON. There is a red felt buff piece.

Condition when catalogued: The gilding is worn in places. The extreme blade tip is rounded.

Dimensions

Dimensions: overall length: 94 mm (37 in.), blade length: 783 mm (30.8 in.), blade width, at hilt: 19.3 mm (0.76 in.) Weight: 545 g (1 lb 3 oz)

Associations

Notes

W.E. May and P.G.W. Annis, 'Swords for Sea Service', 2 vols (cont. pag.), London, 1970, p. 304 give the firm of Charles Smith at 12 Piccadilly between 1836 and 1859. The same authors give the name Charles Smith & Son as first occurring in 1871 but by that date the address had changed to 5 New Burlington Street. The firm is described as 'gold and silver lacemen and army accoutrement makers' and were presumably the retailers rather than the makers of the present sword.
IX.3523 has a similar hilt but the shells bear a crown over crossed laurels. There are several parts from hilts of this type in the collection, e.g. IX.5129-5132 (knuckle-guards with attached quillons); IX.5134, 5135 (shells); IX.5136 (shell with crown over crossed laurels); IX.5182-5184 (pommels). IX.5129 and IX.5182 may be in a different material, possibly 'brass' which has been silver-plated or some form of 'white' casting metal.
This appears to be a British pattern of court sword, for a civil rather than a military official, though its precise use has not yet been identified. There may be some significance in the crown over crossed laurels which appear on IX.7605 and IX.5136 but not on the other shells of this pattern in the collection (though the unassembled ones may be unfinished).