Object Title

Sword and scabbard

Sword and scabbard



Object Number



Purchased from the Beriah Botfield collection at Norton Hall, Northamptonshire, with the aid of the National Art Collections Fund, 1942. (Norton Hall No. 243)

Physical Description

Hilt: cut steel, without knuckle guard, comprising pommel, grip, shell guards and quillons/sleeve.

Pommel:facetted urn-shaped with pronounced tang button and a small stand. It is pierced with two elongated trapezoidal slots on the inner and outer faces, running almost the full length, and which are filled with facetted cut steel beads strung on a wire. [one of these strings is missing] The forward and after faces are decorated with a rosette of beads, flanked by an arrangement of a single circular bead with an oval bead above and below. The slightly bulbous stand is also facetted.

Quillons: spring laterally from the upper portion of the sleeve and in plan view together form an elongated 'S' shape. The flattened button finials are in the same plane as the shell guard. The quillons are flat on the under side and chamfered on the upper side, the top face being decorated with a series of shallow lateral flutes into which beads are set. These follow through onto the upper face of the finial to form a circular border around a central, larger, bead. In addition, the edge of the outer curve of the quillon is cusped and follows through on to the full periphery of the finial. The outer tip of the finial on the forward quillon has a small integral ring formed upon it and to which would have been attached the lower extremity of the beaded chain knuckle guard which is now missing. Likewise, there is a hole in the pommel for the attachment of its upper end. The sleeve is of slightly waisted form with vertical facets on its inner and outer faces. Somewhat above the centre of these faces is a rosette of beads. There are no arms of the hilt.

Grip: is of facetted barrel shape decorated en-suite with the pommel. The central cut-outs on the inner and outer faces is additionally flanked by plain polished facets, themselves flanked by a longitudinal flute filled with a line of oval, facetted, beads. A ferrule of beads strung on a wire is present at the junction of grip and sleeve.

Shell guard: between sleeve and shell guard is an oval steel washer, radially fluted and blued. The single guard itself is of oval form, the outer edges being cusped. It is pierced to create a series of elongated, curved, gadroons or petals emanating from the central, solid portion. The cut-outs are filled with strings of beads, some of which appear to be more graded in size than others. At the edge of the guard, beneath the quillon finials, are two rosettes of beads as on the finials themselves. The decoration of the guard is symmetrical about the major and minor axes of the ellipse.

The beads attached directly to the elements of the hilt appear to be rivetted, rather than screwed, into place.

Blade: hollow ground, triangular section without trace of any decorative features.

scabbard : wood, covered with a material whose texture and finish resemble polished ivory. It is crazed all over and has flaked off in parts. Steel top and middle lockets, each arranged to carry a loose suspension ring, are fitted. The chape and lower four inches of the scabbard are missing. The inner face of the top locket is inscribed:

'Read[?] Cutler/No 4/ Parlimt St/Dublin'

in dot punched lettering.


Dimensions: Sword: overrall length: 947 mm (37.3 in), blade length: 780 mm (30.7 in), Scabbard, length (tip missing): 686 mm (27 in) Weight: Sword: 0 lb 14 oz, Scabbard: 0 lb 3 oz



This hilt, with its rectangular piercings on pommel and grip, is very similar to that of IX.1507; see also IX.5148, IX.5149, IX.5150 (detached grips).
Thomas Read, Cutler, is recorded at 4, Parliament Street, Dublin, in 1802 and 1806. By 1808 the entry is changed to Thomas Read & Co.