Object Title

Cutlass

Cutlass

Date

1750-1815

Object Number

IX.1802

Provenance

Purchased from D.S. Davies, Antiquarius, September 1978. Previously sold at Wallis and Wallis, Lewes, 4th November 1976, Lot 505.

Physical Description

Iron half basket, consisting of a shell on the outside of the hand, curved to protect the hand; a knuckle bow; a straight guard on the outside of the hand which like the knuckle bow fits into the brass grip at the pommel; a scroll guard between the knuckle bow and the outer guard; and a small rear quillon. Cast brass grip marked with spiral bands, of alternately concave and convex section. Grip ends in a flat cap pommel with a cylindrical tang button.


Straight single edged blade with a false edge for 165 mm (6 1/2 in) from the spear point. Single narrow fuller running along the back from the shoulder to the false edge.

Dimensions

Dimensions: Overall length: 845 mm (33 1/4 in), blade length: 708 mm (27 7/8 in) Weight: 1 kg 20.6 gm (2 lb 4 oz)

Inscriptions and Marks

On the shell, engraved: a crowned 'R', and to its right, 'A'.On the pommel, stamped: a six-pointed star.On the inside of the blade, stamped: a seven petalled rosette.On the outside of the blade, stamped: a coat of arms in a lozenge, possibly crowned, the arms apparently a cross quartering two pales or paly (the town mark of Barcelona); a crowned anchor flanked by 'B' (or 'R') and 'A'.

Associations

Places Spain

Notes

A similar sword, but missing its side guard, was in Wallis and Wallis sale, 28th February 1977, Lot 1000. Both this sword and IX.1802 when sold in the same rooms in 1976 (see above) were catalogued as late 17th-century English Militia swords. However the presence of the Barcelona town mark (cf. similar marks in E. Heer, 'Der Neue Stockel', III, 1982, p.1528) points to Spain. A number of early 19th-century Spanish military patterns with guards which are broadly similar are illustrated in B.B. Rubi, 'El Arammento Portatil Espanol (1764-1939)', especially the grenadiers sword of 1803, No.1 on p.75. The anchor mark suggests the sword may be a naval weapon. A similar sword was brought in to the Tolson Memorial Museum, Huddersfield for identification in 1991 (see correspondence and photographs on inv. file). It had the same engraved letters on the guard, but the blade had (inside) a lion passant, and (outside ?) a crown(?) and chevron or arrow, and 'P' over 'I'. Another, similar sword sent in (photo only) sent in for identification by a Mr George (via IWM - photos & correspondence on inv.file) with unidentified mark on blade.