Object Title

Sword

Sword

Date

1700-1740

Object Number

IX.641

Provenance

Transferred from the Rotunda Museum in 1927 where it was numbered XIV-20. Possibly brought from Paris in 1815.

Physical Description

Hilt about 1740; Blade about 1700.
Hilt: iron or steel, comprising pommel, guard with integral quillons and branches, and grip.
Pommel: globular with a slightly raised meridian belt flaring outwards at the extremities to produce two lateral scroll terminals. Set upon a stem with a splayed circular foot and having an integral tang button.
Guard: springing from the quillon block on one rear side is the single rear quillon with a discoid finial turned towards the blade. On the other side is the root of the 'D' shaped knuckle guard. At the junction of the quillon and quillon block, two side arms extend which sweep backwards to join the knuckle guard, just above the first bend, creating in effect two hollow boat shell guards. On the outer face of the quillon block is a small protrusion which acts as a hinge block for a hinged guard; a similar protrusion at the upper extremity of the knuckle guard provides a second pivot point for this secondary guard which, when folded, is partly embedded within a channel cut for it in the knuckle guard proper. When folded outwards, it is locked at a 90 degree open position by a spring latch, itself secured by a screw, within the rim of the outer arm of the shell guard. An additional oval washer is placed between the quillon block and the shoulders of the blade. Traces of gilding remain on some of the less exposed parts of the hilt.
Grip: wooden, flattened barrel-shaped armature over which is bound two spirals of stranded brass and possibly silver wire laid adjacent to each other. The remains of a lower Turk's head ferrule exists which appears to be hair; the upper ferrule is missing and the wood beneath chipped away.
Blade: flattened hexagonal section, with two very narrow fullers close to the edges, commencing approximately 205 mm from the shoulder of the blade and extending for 230 mm. Close to the hilt is an elongated panel of engraved decoration incorporating an oval cartouche within which, on the outside, is the inscription:
'Ne Me tirez pas sans Raison'
and on the inside:
'Ne Me Remettez point Sans Honneur'
Forward of these panels is a standing female figure holding aloft a wreath and sword. Symmetrically placed about the figure are five shallow oval depressions, the centre with the initial 'A'. Beneath the figure is a further shallow depression within a scrolling border and with the letter 'B'. All the engraved decoration is crudely executed.

Dimensions

Dimensions: Overall length: 1029 mm (40.5 in), blade length: 851 mm (33.5 in) Weight: 745 gm (27 oz)

Associations

Bibliographic References

A.R. Dufty and A. Borg, European Swords and Daggers in the Tower of London, London, 1974,, pl 43b.

Notes

This sword is similar to that shown in a portrait of William IV by Ared in the Rijksmuseum (390) and dated 1751. A version of this painting also exists in the Mauritshuis (461). Another sword with a similar hilt, but different blade, remains at Woolwich, XIV-195. Other swords with folding guards can be found:-
RA, IX.906;
Wallace Collection, A693, 694;
Musee de L'Armee, J312, 323;
Metropolitan Museum, New York, (ill. in Dean, Court Swords, No 20;
C. Andrade Collection, 1922, pl I, 47., in Morosini Sale, New York, 1932, 567 and Offerman sale, 1937, 265.
Others with more complex hilts are at Berne, Historical Museum, J.3.567 and J 568 1397.13. See also C. Ariès, 'Armes Blanches Militaires Françaises', 30 vols and index, 1966-1990, and Livrustkammaren, 5236; c XV.5235 and W.2060.