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Peter Finer


Peter Finer


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Peter Finer THE OLD RECTORY ILMINGTON WARWICKSHIRE CV36 4JQ ENGLAND

TELEPHONE: +44 (0) 1608 682267 FAX: +44 (0) 1608 682575 FROM USA & CANADA TEL/FAX: 1 800 270 7951 (24 hours)

OUR LONDON PREMISES ARE: 39, DUKE STREET ST. JAMES’S LONDON SW1Y 6DF ENGLAND

TELEPHONE +44 (0) 20 7839 5666 FAX: +44 (0) 20 7839 5777 www.peterfiner.com pf@peterfiner.com


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THE CATALOGUING TEAM GREGORY IRVINE is Senior Curator in the Asian Department of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London responsible for the collections of Japanese metalwork. Formerly curator in the Japanese Department of the British Museum, he joined the V&A in 1992. He visits Japan frequently to carry out research into swords and armour at museums, temples and shrines and is particularly interested in the philosophies and social background behind the use of weaponry in Japan's historical period. His many publications include The Japanese Sword, the Soul of the Samurai (London, 2000) and contributions to the Dictionary of Ancient & Medieval Warfare (London, 1998).

CLIVE THOMAS, MISTC, is an artist specialising in historical illustration. A lifelong interest in history spawned his particular passion: works of the Medieval period on which he is an acknowledged expert. His article in the catalogue of the 2003 Park Lane Arms Fair entitled ‘A Distinctive Group of Swords from the Arsenal of Alexandria’ has been widely acclaimed and he is now undertaking further research to provide the basis for a comprehensive study of Alexandria Arsenal swords.

GUY WILSON, MA, FSA, FRSA, worked in the Royal Armouries, the British national museum of arms and armour, from 1972 until 2002, serving as Master of the Armouries from 1988 until 2002. Since retiring, he has established a creative consultancy and co-founded a design company. He is currently involved in research, writing, museum planning, display design and audio and film projects. He has published widely on the subjects of arms and armour and museology. Chairman of the International Committee of Museums and Collections of Arms and Military History (ICOMAM) and its predecessor, IAMAM, since 2002, he has been an Honorary Member of the American Society of Arms Collectors since 1998.

STEPHEN WOOD, MA, FSA, is an independent consultant with thirty years’ experience as a curator in British national military museums; he was Keeper of the National War Museum of Scotland 1983-2000. Author of several books and numerous articles on military history, arms and armour and military museums, he contributed fifty-three entries to The Oxford Companion to Military History (Oxford, 2001). He was created a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques by the French government in 1994 in recognition of his book The Auld Alliance: France and Scotland, the military connection (Edinburgh, 1989). He has been an Honorary Member of the American Society of Arms Collectors since 1991.


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INTRODUCTION Welcome to this, our seventh catalogue. When we produced our first catalogue in 1995, I little thought that we would produce a further six in the following ten years. The most difficult part of publishing a catalogue is actually assembling a collection of extraordinary objects that are fresh to the market. This, I believe, we have achieved again this year. We shall be exhibiting virtually all the items in this catalogue in New York City at the International Fine Art and Antique Dealers’ Show, held at the Seventh Regiment Armory, Park Avenue, in the second half of October: we hope to welcome as many friends and clients as possible. We will be back in New York in January, exhibiting at the Winter Antiques Show, and then in Palm Beach shortly afterwards. In March we will exhibit at Maastricht at The European Fine Art Fair. The dates of all the antique shows at which we exhibit are regularly updated on our website and we are always happy to send complimentary tickets to our established clients. As many of you will know, we opened London premises this summer. Our shop is in Duke Street, St James’s, just off Piccadilly and adjacent to Jermyn Street, and is being run by our son Redmond. He is always happy to welcome visitors there and will make very effort to accommodate their schedules. If your time is tight, give him a call and he will make an arrangement to suit you. We are thrilled that Guy Wilson has joined the cataloguing team this year. As many of you will know, Guy was the last Master of the Armouries at the Royal Armouries in Leeds: he brings to our catalogue a wide range of knowledge and experience. I would particularly like to thank Stephen Wood, whose calm, relaxed scholarship has enriched the catalogue enormously. My thanks go to all our cataloguers and all those who have contributed their time and effort, including Peter Blaine, Claude Blair, Jean-Claude Boyron, Ruth Rhynas Brown, Dr Toby Capwell, Sim Comfort, Charles Cooper, James Corrigan, Norman Dixon, John Goodall, Kate Harris, Walter J. Karcheski Jr., Jack Mortimer, Harry Newman, Anthony North, Ian Peirce, Michael Spencer, Dr Stephen Taylor, Dr Paula Turner, Patrick Unsworth, Liza Verity, Colonel (e.r.) Paul Willing and the staff of the library of the Royal Armouries Museum, Leeds. Special thanks are due to Chris Challis, who has spent many long hours taking photographs, and to my personal assistant, Nickki Eden, who has now been with us for more than six years and who manages our database and catalogue sales. Each catalogue is unique, as is each item contained within it. I feel that this collection of items, which represents thousands of miles of travelling and many hours of negotiating, often with extremely reluctant vendors, is particularly appropriate in this Bicentenary Year of the Battle of Trafalgar. As you will see, it contains some truly remarkable and very fine items owned by distinguished officers of Britain’s Royal Navy who were contemporaries of Admiral Lord Nelson two centuries ago.

Peter Finer


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OUR TERMS OF BUSINESS Every item in this catalogue is for sale. All sales are made on a first come first served basis. We will not reserve any item, but will send further photographs on request if required. All the items described in this catalogue are guaranteed to be genuine antiques and of the period stated. U.S. and Canadian callers should note that when using our 1 800 270 7951 number they will be answered by a 24 hour telephone answering/fax machine. Please send a fax or leave a message and we will respond as soon as possible. Alternatively you can contact us by email: pf@peterfiner.com. Whilst the purpose of this catalogue is to offer part of our current stock, we are always interested in purchasing single items or complete collections of antique guns, pistols, swords, armour and cannon. We publish catalogues on a regular basis and would be happy to discuss the possibility of including goods on consignment. Our terms for selling are half those charged by the leading auction houses.

OUR BANKERS IN THE UNITED KINGDOM Adam & Company 22 King Street, London SW1Y 6QY Sort Code: 83-91-36 Account Number: 14492400 Account Name: Peter Finer

IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA J P Morgan Chase 270, Park Avenue, 46th floor New York NY 10017 USA Account Number: 0341 133387 A.B.A. Number: 021000021 Account Name: Peter Finer

WE ACCEPT ALL MAJOR CREDIT CARDS Š Peter Finer MMV Editor: Stephen Wood Photography: Christopher Challis Design: David Bonser Origination: De Montfort Origination Printed and Bound in England at the De Montfort Press by Raithby, Lawrence & Company Ltd


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Table of Contents


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1. A Viking Age Sword Pommel, late 10th century 2. A Medieval Harness Pendant, circa 1200 3. The Sword of Prince Alphonse, Count of Poitiers and Toulouse, circa 1250 4. A Medieval Harness Pendant, circa 1275 5. A Collection of Medieval Sword-Belt Ornaments, circa 1350 6. A German Knightly Sword from the Arsenal of Alexandria, circa 1370 7. A South German Gothic Crossbow, circa 1475 8. A South German Pavise, circa 1480 9. A German Quiver for Crossbow Bolts, circa 1500 10. Two elements of a South German Stechzeug Armour, circa 1495 11. A Flemish, Burgundian or English Breastplate, circa 1515 12. A German ‘Maximilian’ Shaffron, circa 1520 13. A German ‘Maximilian’ Close-Helmet, circa 1520 14. A German Iron Jewel or Money Casket, circa 1550 15. A Lowland Scottish Two-Handed Sword, circa 1550 16. A German Close-Helmet of Burgonet form, circa 1550 17. A North German Three-Quarter Field Armour, circa 1560 18. A North German Decorated Three-Quarter Field Armour, circa 1560 19. A North German Cod-Piece, circa 1560 20. A Two-Handed Bearing Sword of the City of Brunswick, circa 1570 21. A State Parade Halberd of the Bodyguard of the Elector of Saxony, circa 1580 22. A State Parade Halberd of the Bodyguard of the Elector of Saxony, circa 1587 23. A French Inlaid Cabinet made by a Gunstock Maker, circa 1580 24. An Italian Cabasset adapted for Japanese use, circa 1580-1600 25. A Japanese Helmet in the form of a ‘Portugese Hat’, circa 1580-1620


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26. A Japanese Helmet based on a ‘Portugese Hat’, circa 1590-1640 27. An Italian Morion adapted for Japanese use, circa 1580-1600 28. A German Gilt-Metal Plate commemorating the Siege of Vienna, circa 1580 29. A German Shot-Proof Close-Helmet, circa 1620-30 30. An English Breech-Loading Flintlock Gun by Robert Rowland, 1718 31. An Austrian Tinder Lighter by Felix Meier, Vienna, circa 1730 32. A German Sporting Crossbow by Johann Gottfried Haenisch, circa 1740 33. A Cased Pair of English Flintlock Holster Pistols by T. Richards, 1749 34. A British Grenadier Officer’s Mitre Cap, 65th Regiment of Foot, 1758-68 35. A Silver Box presented to Captain Sir Richard Pearson, Royal Navy, 1783 36. A Japanese Sawasa Small-Sword for the European market, circa 1780 37. A Cased Pair of English Flintlock Pistols by John Knubley, 1786-87 38. A British Presentation Small-Sword by James Morisset, 1796 39. An French Épee-Glaive by Boutet of Versailles, 1798 40. A Sword, Dirk and Portrait of Captain Robert Cuthbert, Royal Navy, 1799 41. A British Presentation Sabre by John Ray and James Montague, 1800 42. A Cased Pair of French Presentation Pistols by Boutet of Versailles, 1802 43. A British Gold Small-Sword and Medal, Admiral Alexander Cochrane, 1806 44. A British Presentation Sabre by Woolley, Deakin and Dutton, 1808 45. A British Presentation Sword sold by Rundell, Bridge and Rundell, 1814 46. A Cased Pair of English Flintlock Duelling Pistols by James Purdey, 1817 47. A Cased Pair of English Flintlock Target Pistols by James Purdey, 1838 48. A Cased Pair of English Double-Barrelled Pistols by James Purdey, 1838 49. A German Field Armour in the style of Koloman Helmschmied, circa 1850-80 50. A French Presentation Small-Sword by Henri Fauré LePage, 1895


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A HISTORY OF THE BRUNSWICK COLLECTION Nine items in this catalogue originate from the Historic Collections of the Dukes of Brunswick. The Princes of Hannover and Dukes of Brunswick-Lüneburg of the 20th century inherited the lands, castles and possessions of several of the former branches of their family, records of which date back to the 9th century. For more than a thousand years this extended family was influential in the politics of the German-speaking lands. Each branch of the family and each succeeding generation amassed collections of arms and armour and stored and displayed them in their many palaces, three of which, Schlosses Blankenburg, Marienburg and Cumberland, have housed the nine items offered in this catalogue at various times. Schloss Blankenburg The pieces from the Brunswick Collection offered in this catalogue are from the original armoury of the Dukes of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel. By the 19th century, most of that armoury had been collected at Schloss Blankenburg in the Harz Mountains, east of Hannover, which had entered the possession of the family in 1599. Georg, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg and Elector of Hannover, inherited the British throne as King George I in 1714: he and his descendants remained as electors of Hannover and, after 1814, kings of Hannover. When Queen Victoria succeeded to the British throne in 1837, her uncle Prince Ernst, Duke of Cumberland, inherited the German titles, becoming King Ernst August II of Hannover. Between 1837 and 1866 Blankenburg was one of the residences of the kings of Hannover. In 1866, Hannover supported Austria in its war with Prussia and found itself on the losing side, following which Hannover was annexed by Prussia. King Georg V of Hannover lost his royal title, reverting to the title of Duke of Brunswick-Lunebürg. He and his family went into exile in Austria in 1867, after which much of their property in Hannover was seized by the Prussian state. Schloss Blankenburg was not occupied by the family again until 1926. Some of the arms and armour collection remained there during the family’s sixty-year absence and some was transferred there from Austria at the end of the 19th century, a survey of the collection at Schloss Blankenburg being published in 1915. Eight of our nine Brunswick items are known to have been once at Schloss Blankenburg. Schloss Marienburg In 1857, land at Nordstemmen in Lower Saxony was given by King Georg V of Hannover to his wife, Queen Marie, as a birthday present. The Hannoverian architect, Conrad Wilhelm Haase, designed a fairytale Gothic castle as a summer residence for the queen, while his pupil Erwin Oppler designed the interiors. The castle, called after the queen, ‘Marienburg’, was not finished when Prussian troops invaded in 1866 but because the castle was the private property of Queen Marie it escaped confiscation. While the family lived in exile in Austria, between 1867 and 1913, Schloss Marienburg housed large quantities of possessions, including a great deal of the arms and armour not displayed at Schloss Cumberland as well as material transferred from Blankenburg. All our items are known to have been at Schloss Marienburg at one time or another between 1867 and the end of the 20th century.


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Schloss Cumberland Upon his arrival in exile in Austria in 1867, Georg, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg and deposed king of Hannover, lived first at Hietzing where his cousin, the Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, had owned the ‘Villa Braunschweig’ since 1854. Shortly thereafter, he acquired some land near Gmunden, a city by the lake of Traunsee that he and his family had visited in happier times. In the 1880s, his son, Ernst-August, Duke of Cumberland, and his wife built a castle on the Gmunden estate: they called it Schloss Cumberland. The quantity of arms and armour available to decorate Schloss Cumberland was increased after Duke Ernst-August of Brunswick-Lüneburg and Cumberland inherited the duchy of Brunswick-Wolfenbuttel in 1884, when arms and armour was transferred to Gmunden from Blankenburg. The Cumberland estate remained in the hands of the House of Hannover until 1937, when it was seized by the Nazi government. Schloss Cumberland was purchased by the Austrian government in the 1970s. It is known that a considerable quantity of arms and armour was used to decorate the interior of Schloss Cumberland, two of our items being recorded in an illustrated inventory of the collection drawn up in 1890.

Duke Ernst-August III of Brunswick-Lüneburg and Cumberland, and his family, returned to Germany on the eve of the First World War and reclaimed many of their lands and possessions but were again forced into temporary exile following the revolutions at the end of the war in 1918. When the duke returned in the 1920s he used Blankenburg as his main residence and the family regained Schloss Marienburg in the early 1930s. At the end of the Second World War in 1945, when Blankenburg was occupied by Russian troops, Duke Ernst-August IV was forced to flee west with his family and possessions. The family escaped to Schloss Marienburg, nearer Hannover and within the British zone of occupation: this became their chief residence and the home of the family’s arms and armour collection. In gratitude for the help given him by Britain at this time, the duke arranged a loan exhibition of arms, armour and other items from the family collections at the Tower of London in 1952-53: several of our items were exhibited in the Tower of London at that time. Duke Ernst-August IV died at Schloss Marienburg in 1953. After his death, although Marienburg was still the official centre of family life, hosting weddings and other family gatherings, the family moved out to nearby Calenberg House. Schloss Marienburg became what it remains to this day, a museum and tourist attraction.


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1. A Very Rare Bronze Viking Age Sword Pommel late 10th century

Cast and chased in bronze, comprising a trilobate upper pommel incised with entwined animalistic forms above a lower pommel incised with diamond-shaped panels of whorled and floral decoration separated by saltires, each central panel flanked by quatrefoils, the interstices of the separating saltires filled with tiny animalistic forms. Height: 1 P in Width: 3 in Our fine bronze Viking Age sword pommel is typical of that associated with the hilt of a ‘Petersen Type S’ sword and is thus similar to the pommels of 12th-century weapons in the Nationalmuseet, Copenhagen. Bronze sword hilts from the Viking period are rare, although several have been found in Finland and a sword with a very fine cast bronze and gilded hilt was found in a rich grave at Broa on the Island of Gotland. It is evident that the craftsmanship involved in the production of our pommel was of the highest quality, for no re-touching of the cast is evident: this indicates the great attention to detail of the mould-maker. The lower section of our pommel, or upper guard for the hand, curves slightly towards the upper section and is carefully incised with diamond-shaped panels of decoration on each side, each panel being separated by diagonal lines forming saltires. The central panels on either side are good examples of how animal ornamentation was often simplified and then reduced to whorls of decoration, while still giving the impression that animal ornamentation was intended. The bulbous central lobe of the upper pommel contains writhing, tangled animal forms in a schematic decoration that is skilfully continued all the way over its dome. This form of decoration may well be closely associated to the ‘Ringerike’ style, named after an area in Norway, that employed animal forms with spiral ‘hips’, interlacing with lively foliage and spanned a period of circa 980-1090. The beautifully matching flanking lobes are incised with intricately shaped straps and whorls. The deep grooves between the upper and lower pommel, and between the lobes of the upper pommel, would have originally contained either a solid strand, or twisted strands, of silver wire in order to accentuate the richness of this outstanding artefact. Furthermore, examination of our pommel under magnification has revealed dozens of remnants of silver adhering to the incised patterns: this indicates that originally they would have all been outlined in silver wire. Literature:

Petersen, J., De Norske Vikingesverd, (Kristiania, 1919). Peirce, I.G., Swords of the Viking Age, (Woodbridge, Suffolk, 2002), pp. 100-101.


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2. A Rare Medieval Harness Pendant circa 1200

Cast in copper alloy with the remains of gilding and champ-levé enamel; shield shaped, bearing the device of a crowned lion rampant upon a red enamel field within a raised border, with a loop fixed at top centre and a later ring. Height: 2 P in Width: 1 G in Our finely cast pendant is a very rare survival from the early years of heraldry. Such pendants were mainly cast in copper alloy and enamelled: it is thought that most of them decorated items of horse harness such as the peytral, or chest strap, and the upper bridle strap. They were decorative as well as functional and their decoration conveyed ownership. In a largely illiterate age, most people received their information through pictures rather than words: for this reason the art and science of heraldry became important. Heraldry conveyed the bearer’s identity and descent and the employment of his servants and retainers. The servants of a knight, nobleman or armigerous merchant also wore his Arms in order to convey where their allegiance lay. While very fine examples of harness badges do exist, see this catalogue, item number 4, it is thought that those were worn on the knight’s or nobleman’s horse and pendants such as this example were the equivalent for his servants and their horses. The shape of our pendant, together with both the simplicity and the subject of its heraldry, strongly implies a very much earlier date than the majority of surviving harness or other pendants. Its shape is similar to the shields carried by knights from about the mid-12th to mid-13th centuries, after which knights’ shields became shorter with more curved sides. The first animal to be depicted upon a shield of Arms is thought to have been a lion, necessarily borne rampant – not only to convey ferocity but also to fit on the shape of shields of the time. Lions rampant became popular heraldic ‘charges’ and were widely adopted, so much so that it is not possible to identify the master of the servant who wore our pendant, either upon his coat or upon his horse; we can, though, be confident that it is an extremely early and thus very rare and important example of an early heraldic badge. Literature:

Finlay, M., ‘Mediaeval Harness Pendants’, The Journal of the Antique Metalware Society, Vol. VI (June, 1998), pp. 25-31.


3. The Sword of Prince Alphonse, Count of Poitiers and Toulouse circa 1250

The hilt featuring a distinctive bronze pommel of chamfered ‘disc’ form, its base being thicker than its top when viewed in profile, secured to the tang with a decorative copper button. Upon both faces of the pommel are the Arms of Prince Alphonse Capet (per pale, azure seméde-lys or and gules semé of towers or), these being executed in gilded enamels and reversed on the ‘rear’ face of the sword. Fitted over the stout tang is a simple, straight iron crossguard of square section, widening at its centre to accommodate the blade. The blade double-edged, tapering along its length to a curved tip; a wide, shallow fuller running for approximately three-quarters of its total length and, on one face only near the hilt, the mark of a crosscrosslet inlaid in gold alloy. Overall length: 37 D in Blade length: 31 I in Royal swords that exist outside national collections are rare but such weapons that can also be linked to the era of the Crusades are truly exceptional. This fine piece is particularly noteworthy because it was the property of no less a person than a prince of the French royal house of Capet, the dynasty that ruled France for nearly three-and-a-half centuries. In fact, so businesslike and practical is our sword that only the Arms upon the pommel betray its royal association. These, of champ-levé enamel, belong to Prince Alphonse, Count of Poitiers, Auvergne and Toulouse, third son of King Louis VIII and a brother of King Louis IX: the king who would later be canonised and remembered in history as the pious crusader, St Louis. Although he lived somewhat in the shadow of his brother’s glory, so closely was Alphonse involved with Louis’s rule that a discussion of his life must be linked inextricably to the history of 13th century France, particularly in his early dealings in Poitou and his involvement in the disastrous Seventh and Eighth Crusades. He was born in November 1220. These were turbulent times: the people of Languedoc were witnessing the evils of the Albigensian Crusade against the heretical Cathars and the French monarchy was having to deal with its own defiant barons on one hand and the political manoeuvring of outsiders such as the English king, Henry III, on the other. King Louis VIII died on campaign against one of these baronial factions in 1226, leaving the kingdom to his twelve-yearold eldest son and his widow, Blanche of Castile, who acted as regent until the young Louis IX came of age. Prince Alphonse became one of France’s greatest potential landowners in 1237,


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when he married Joan, sole heir of Count Raymond VIII of Toulouse, a man who had been a thorn in the monarchy’s side for more than a decade. This marriage was intended to extend royal power into Toulouse, although Prince Alphonse did not inherit the county of Toulouse until after his father-in-law’s death in 1249. In addition to his claim by marriage to the lands of Toulouse, Alphonse also benefited handsomely from his father’s will that was based upon a system that became known as the appenage grant. Put simply, certain areas of land were handed out to younger sons in an attempt to strengthen royal jurisdiction over them: Louis VIII was the first to leave such considerable landholdings to his heirs. These lands were held in trust by Louis IX and his mother until his brothers came of age, whereupon the king allowed each of them to take over their appenages, with Artois going to the next oldest brother, Robert, in 1237. In 1241, Alphonse acquired both Poitiers and Auvergne; Anjou and Maine became the property of the youngest brother, Charles, in 1246. The knighting and investiture of Alphonse as Count of Poitiers took place at the castle of Saumur in Anjou amid much ceremony and royal splendour. The chronicler Jean de Joinville, who was present, describes the banquet that followed, when Alphonse sat with the king among many great lords and newly dubbed knights, them all being guarded by a great company of sergeants, in suits of taffeta embroidered with the arms of the comte de Poitiers. It was probably shortly after this ceremony that the prince won his spurs. He went with the king to Poitiers, where the local lords paid him homage, but – at the same time – a group of disgruntled nobles headed by Hugh de Lusignan, Count of La Marche, opposed the investiture, claiming that Alphonse was not their rightful liege-lord. The rebels were supported by King Henry III of England, among others, who recognised an opportunity to win back some of the lands in France lost by King John: the affair culminated in a battle near the castle of Taillebourg, after which most of the rebels deserted the field and the English king withdrew to Gascony. Count Hugh was forced to make peace with the Crown and to do homage to Alphonse for Lusignan and La Marche. In a last-ditch measure, Hugh’s wife Isabella, the widow of the English King John, tried to have both


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Alphonse and Louis poisoned but her attempt failed. In 1244, Alphonse committed himself to go on crusade with his brothers and after several years in preparation the Seventh Crusade, with King Louis at its head, sailed for Egypt in August 1248. Alphonse had been plagued by logistical problems and did not embark with the king, instead sailing several weeks later. When Louis and his men took Damietta in the early summer of 1249, Alphonse was still en route and was detained further by a titanic storm that was raging in the Mediterranean north of Egypt. Because of this delay, the advance southwards to ‘strike at the serpent’s head’ in Cairo did not get underway until the winter and further progress was difficult because of having to navigate the Nile delta. In the face of great resistance, the crusaders spent the winter constructing a causeway by the fortresstown of Mansourah, near to which a large Egyptian army was encamped. Forcing a crossing on 8th February 1250, a detachment of Knights Templar, along with Alphonse’s brother Robert, Count of Artois, and a small English contingent charged into the enemy camp and scattered the defenders. Unfortunately, the impetuous Count Robert continued, storming headlong into Mansourah itself despite pleas for caution by his peers. The rest of the force followed, only to be trapped in the town’s streets and set upon by the defenders. A few managed to escape but most, including Count Robert, were slain as a result of his vanity. Instead of falling back to Damietta, the main force of crusaders held their ground and on the following day fought a huge Egyptian army led by the very capable Baybars Bunduqd¯ari, who was shortly to become the first major Mamluk Sultan. The ever-present Joinville, in his Life of St Louis notes that Alphonse was the only mounted combatant in the unit under his command and that this was utterly routed. The prince was captured for a moment, only to be rescued by a group of his men and camp followers and returned unscathed. Heavy losses were inflicted on both sides and neither won the engagement, with the crusaders staying near Mansourah for many weeks under constant siege until, inevitably, the king was forced to surrender. The survivors were taken into the town and imprisoned, with the highestranking being released a month later after Louis had


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negotiated terms of ransom. The booty taken at Damietta was used to pay part of this but Alphonse himself had to remain in captivity to ensure that the rest of the money would be paid. He was released after a short time and returned to France after briefly joining the king in Acre. Upon returning home, he headed directly for his newly acquired lands of Toulouse where the local lords paid him homage. With his mother as co-regent, he ruled France until the king’s return: when she died in 1252 he shared the responsibility with his younger brother Charles. When Louis returned in 1254 the prince concentrated upon his own considerable estates, proving to be an extremely capable administrator by introducing a centralised coinage into these lands and running his domains rather like a petty king, having his own court, chancery and household. Meticulous records of his activities were kept and he appears to have treated his subjects fairly. For example, in Poitou he limited the carrying of weapons and the practice of judicial duels, encouraging appeals in his court instead and was quick to defend the rights of the middle classes against the local nobility. The king valued his counsel and Alphonse played a part in ceding certain lands to King Henry III under the Treaty of Paris of 1259, thus finally improving relations with England. In his correspondence Alphonse seems a rather cold, avaricious figure, but Joinville reveals another side of his character during the time following his release from captivity in Egypt. While on crusade, the pious Louis had forbidden the playing of games and other frivolities but: While the king was in Acre his brothers indulged in playing at dice. The comte de Poitiers was such a goodmannered player that on occasions when he won he would have the doors of his room thrown open and invite any gentlemen and ladies, if any, who were outside to come in. Then he would distribute money to them in handfuls, from his own pocket as well as what he had won in play. When he lost, he would buy, at a valuation, the money of those with whom he had been playing, whether it was his brother the comte d’Anjou or anyone else, and he would then give everything away, both his own money and what he had obtained from others. Clearly, although ruthless in his official duties, he was generous to his family and friends, demonstrating royal largesse when appropriate. During the whole medieval period it was common for swords to have a working life of two or three generations and it is very possible that our sword is one of these ‘heirlooms’. With its very short grip, wide crossguard and elegantly tapering blade, it is of Oakeshott’s ‘Type XII’, a distinct style that was prevalent from the 12th century to perhaps the beginning of the 13th century and is likely to have had a different pommel before its acquisition by the prince. Broadly similar styles of hilt were in use as early as the late 11th century, as evidenced by a number of swords recovered from graves in Finland, but a better comparison is the sword of Ramon Berengar III, Count of Barcelona, circa 1170 (Musée de l’Armée, Paris) which is similar in overall form. That this style continued in use into the middle of the 13th century is shown in both sculpture and manuscript illustration, such as the excellent ‘Maciejowski Bible’ of circa 1250, which depicts a mix of older and contemporary styles in use side by side. It is reasonable to assume that the present bronze pommel was fitted to our sword at some point after Alphonse had formally taken control of his appenage of Poitiers: its relatively small size in proportion to the rest of the sword means that the perceived balance of the blade is mainly towards the tip. This type of weighting was ideal for mounted combat and was perhaps a personal preference of the prince.


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In addition to the sword having been blessed by a bishop when its owner was knighted, it would have been further consecrated by the addition of the inlaid cross-crosslet upon the blade: this device, a symbol of sanctity, was probably applied after Alphonse ‘took the Cross’ in 1244. Upon the same face as the inlaid mark, the prince’s Arms upon the pommel appear in their correct form: with the arms of France ‘ancient’ to the left and the towers of Poitou to the right, just as they are depicted in Walford’s Roll of Arms, circa 1275. On the other side of the pommel, this arrangement of the Arms is reversed. There are two likely explanations for this, both based upon the fact that there are definite obverse and reverse faces to the sword. It may be that this ensured that it was always returned to the scabbard facing the correct way, as generally the higher the sword’s quality, the better the fit of the scabbard. Alternatively, it has been suggested that this configuration of the Arms on the pommel and inlay in the blade ensured that the blade always faced outwards to the enemies of Christ when the sword was both in the hand and when sheathed. There is scant evidence to support this second theory, but it would certainly have appealed to the medieval mind. Throughout the 1260s the Christian areas of the Holy Land were under increasing threat from the hostile Mamluk Sultanate, which had commandeered power in Egypt during King Louis’s earlier Crusade. As a result, Louis proclaimed his intention to return to the east in 1267 but, instead of attacking Egypt directly as before, he decided to land at Tunis as its Amir Mohammad had connections with Christian Spain and was supposedly anxious to convert to Christianity: this was a rumour that proved to be untrue. Alphonse, by now nearly fifty, was heavily involved with this new Crusade, which included the future King Edward I of England, and both he and his wife were present when the crusaders landed on the African coast near Carthage in 1270. Their suffering exacerbated by the intense summer heat, most of the army succumbed to illness due to poorquality drinking water; Louis himself became afflicted and died shortly afterwards. Further outbreaks of disease ensured that the venture had to be abandoned, with only the late-arriving English contingent able to continue to Acre in the following year. Alphonse, too, was struck down by disease and died on the return journey at the port of Savona near Genoa, as did his wife Joan. They had no offspring, so their considerable estates became the property of the crown. A great many legal documents survive from the prince’s administration of his lands in southern France, as do the coins that he introduced there. Our sword, however, is a unique reminder of his knightly persona: that of a Crusader and a loyal brother to King Louis IX. Literature:

Boutaric, E., Compte des Dépenses de la Chevalerie d’Alphonse, Comte de Poitiers, (Bibliothèque de l’Ecole des Chartres, 1853), Vol. IV. De Joinville, Jean ‘The Life of St. Louis’, in: Joinville & Villehardouine, Chronicles of the Crusades (translated by Shaw, M.R.B., London, 1963). Oakeshott, E., The Sword in the Age of Chivalry, (Woodbridge, Suffolk, 1964, repr. 1995), pp. 37-41. Oakeshott, E., Records of the Medieval Sword, (Woodbridge, Suffolk, 1991, repr. 1998), No. XII.4, pp. 68-69.


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4. A Fine Medieval Heraldic Horse-Harness Pendant circa 1275

In cast copper alloy with the remains of fire-gilt and champ-levé enamel, the two-piece pendant comprising: a rectangular upper piece, pierced with four holes for attachment – two on either side within a dotted, double lined border, the centre of the piece bearing, within a wavy gilt border, the heraldic device of a lion passant guardant upon the remains of a green enamel field, the edges of the lion heightened with a line of gilding, and suspending, through two loops formed of a split and lapped-back tongue of copper alloy at centre base, the lower piece which is fitted with a single loop at centre top through which passes a copper pin to attach the two pieces; the shield-shaped lower piece having a dotted, double-lined border enclosing a shield charged with a tower or castle and, in chief, a lion passant guardant, the field of the shield bearing the remains of red enamel and that of the chief green enamel, the edges of the lion and tower heightened with a line of gilding and the base of the shield pierced with a dome-headed rivet retaining a portion of leather on the reverse. Height: 3 G in Width: 2 in Our fine pendant once decorated the horse-harness of a medieval knight or great magnate. Our pendant bears the original owner’s heraldry. Enough of the enamel remains for us to be able to blazon the shield of Arms as gules a tower or, on a chief vert a lion passant guardant or, a gold tower on a red field below a golden lion, side-on, on a green field. It has not proved possible to identify the original owner of this heraldry but it is worth noting that the device of a gold tower on a red field are the Arms of the Kingdom of Castile, now part of Spain. The conjunction of these Arms with a gold lion passant guardant – a device used as part of the Royal Arms of England, although on a red field – may imply a connection between our pendant and the marriage of Eleanor of Castile (1245-90) and King Edward I of England (1239-1307) that took place in 1254. Literature:

Finlay, M., ‘Mediaeval Harness Pendants’, The Journal of the Antique Metalware Society, Vol. VI (June 1998), pp. 25-31: illustrating this pendant on the cover of the Journal.


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5. A Highly Important and Exceptionally Rare Collection of Medieval Sword-Belt Ornaments probably French circa 1350 In cast, chased and gilded copper alloy and coloured champ-levé enamel, the ten ornaments in the form of quatrefoils with pierced points between the leaves, each ornament bearing a shield charged with Arms in coloured enamels upon a coloured enamel ground within gilded sprays of leaves. Three ornaments have a blue ground bearing a shield blazoned: or a winged lion rampant (or griffin segreant) gules within a border engrailed gules, in the chief dexter quarter an escutcheon azure, a cross engrailed between four fleursde-lys or; three have a ground divided blue (left) and red (right) bearing a shield blazoned: per pale, or a winged lion rampant (or griffin segreant) gules within a border engrailed gules, and azure a cross engrailed between four fleur-de-lys or; two have a ground divided red (left) and blue (right) bearing a shield blazoned: per pale, azure and gules, six crescents, three, two and one, or; two have a ground divided red (left) and blue (right) bearing a shield blazoned: per pale, azure and gules, six crescents, three, two and one, or, dexter an escutcheon checky or and gules. Each ornament has on its reverse the remains of a copper alloy boss. Height: 1 G in Width: 1 G in Our ornaments represent a remarkable and rare survival from the sword belt of a medieval knight. Their shape and style and the form of their opaque champ-levé enamelling set them firmly in the mid-14th century; depictions of similar sword-belt ornaments on surviving effigies and monumental brasses from the period confirm not only their date but also their function. Their use of heraldry is also typical of their period, a time comparatively early in the use of Arms when those entitled to bear them used them widely, frequently and flamboyantly, on their person and on their possessions: such use was an indication of status, of ancestry and of connections. The belt that our ornaments decorated would have been worn by its owner low on his hips and over his surcoat, or coat armour, beneath which would have been his hauberk, a long mail shirt, or early elements of plate armour. Suspended from his belt would have been his knightly sword, with its heavy disc-shaped pommel, thick cross guard and broad, straight double-edged, blade, see item 6 in this catalogue. The belt itself would have been broad – at least three inches – and covered with cloth and embroidery, the richness of its decoration dependant upon the size of the owner’s purse. Given the splendour of our badges, it is likely that they were originally mounted upon a belt covered in quilted silk velvet, probably of red or blue – or both – and embroidered in gold and silver. Although our badges show, in miniature, his own heraldry and that of his kinsmen and women, the original owner’s surcoat and shield, as well as the crest on his helmet, would have displayed his Arms in their full magnificence and thus identified him at a distance to friend and foe alike.


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Belts such as that described above, and showing ornaments like ours, heraldic and non-heraldic, can be seen on the effigies of Edward, Prince of Wales, The Black Prince (1330-76), in Canterbury Cathedral, and of Thomas Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick (1345-1401) in St Mary’s Church, Warwick, as well as on the monumental brasses of Sir William de Setvans (circa 1322) in St Mary’s Church, Chartham, Kent, Sir Robert de Bures (circa 1331) in All Saints’ Church, Acton, Suffolk, Sir John D’Abernon (circa 1340-45) in St Mary’s Church, Stoke D’Abernon, Surrey, Sir John de Cobham (circa 1360-62) in the church of St Mary Magdalene, Cobham, Kent, and of Sir John and Lady Harsick (circa 1384) in St George’s Church, Southacre, Norfolk. The heraldry of our ornaments represents two families and, although it does not show them to be connected, the remarkable similarity of colours and design consistent throughout our set of ornaments implies very strongly indeed that there was a connection between them. This connection must have been one of which the original owner was sufficiently proud to want to display it in the heraldry of his sword belt. The ornaments fall into two heraldic groups, one of six and one of four. In the group of six ornaments the principal heraldic charges are a red beast, either a winged lion or a griffin, on a gold field and a gold cross with scalloped arms between four fleurs-de-lys. On the shields divided equally between these two charges, this represents a marriage between a gentleman, whose Arms are the winged beast, and his wife, whose Arms – or, more properly, whose father’s Arms – are the cross and the fleurs-de-lys. On the shields whose principal charge is the winged beast, with the small shield, or escutcheon, placed upon it, this probably represents the marriage of the son of our first married couple with an heiress from the family of his mother – perhaps his cousin. Although it has not been possible to identify the owner of the Arms bearing the winged beast, the Arms of the cross and fleurs-de-lys have been said to be similar to those borne by the Breton family of Le Metayer de Boisberger. In the group of four ornaments, the shields divided red and blue with six crescents are the Arms of a gentleman, the division of the shield in this instance not representing a marriage but, rather, heraldic decoration. In the case of the same shields bearing the chequered escutcheon, these represent the marriage of this gentleman to an heiress whose father’s Shield of Arms was chequered red and gold. It has not been possible to identify the owners of either of the Arms in the group of four ornaments. There is little iconography that captures the spirit and ‘flavour’ of the Middle Ages as well as heraldry and few examples of its use in ornament are as accessible as our rare collection of belt ornaments. One can admire a 14th-century cathedral but not acquire it; one can marvel at the artistry innate in funeral monuments and effigies but these, too, are fixtures and rightly so. The personal immediacy of our set of ornaments, undoubtedly once adorning the personal sword belt of a medieval knight, brings one close to the Middle Ages, close to its artistry in gilded copper alloy and enamel and close to its familiarity with heraldry. Provenance:

D. Alexander Collection.

Literature:

Alexander, J., and Binski, P., Age of Chivalry, (London, 1987), pp. 250-251, 291296, 357-358.


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6. A Rare and Important German Knightly Sword with an Arabic Inscription from the Arsenal of Alexandria circa 1370 The hilt featuring a large oval ‘wheel’ pommel with prominent raised central bosses, each with an incised cross. A large tetrahedral button secures the pommel to the tang, which has been furnished with two later wooden grip-plates secured by two rivets. The arms of the iron crossguard curve slightly downwards and widen to flattened spatulate tips. The broad doubleedged blade ends in a rounded tip with very little taper along its length. A single fuller runs for approximately two-thirds of the total length on both faces, and within this, also on both faces, is a distinctive maker’s mark with traces of latten inlay. A single-line inscription in naskhi script is engraved within one of the fullers, beginning approximately half an inch from the forte and partially obscuring one of the maker’s marks. Overall length: 44 K in Blade length: 34 D in This outstanding example of a 14th-century ‘sword of war’ belongs to the fascinating and diverse group of European swords with Arabic inscriptions from the Mamluk arsenal of Alexandria. The group, known to number well in excess of a hundred pieces, is of the greatest interest to those studying the development of medieval swords because many of these inscriptions include dates, as well as the names of the various Sultans or amirs who placed them within the arsenal. While some examples were very likely to have been captured in battles or skirmishes, it is now believed that a great many of these swords were actually gifts or tribute items from the rulers of nearby Christian states, particularly Cyprus. The arsenal (Khaz¯a ’in al-sil¯a h) was a large fortified building constructed in a part of the city now lost to modern knowledge, called ‘the enclosure’ (al-zariba) and possibly located on the western side of Alexandria. The practice of displaying European arms and armour within its many halls seems to have begun following a brief but devastating attack upon the city by an international force of crusaders, commanded by King Peter I of


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Cyprus, in 1365. Although this was to be the last time that a formal crusade ever struck a blow against the sultanate, a great many more European swords came to the arsenal over the next seventy years or so, the last dateable pieces arriving about 1436-37. The Burgundian traveller Guillebert de Lannoy, who was sent to observe the area in anticipation of a possible future crusade by the rulers of Burgundy, France and England, wrote of the arsenal in 1422: There is (at Alexandria) a house full of old Christian armour, and everything new that is given to the Sultan or which is procured from the Christians is put there. De Lannoy’s observations were never put into use, as the projected crusade never came to fruition. Less than a century later, however, the Mamluk sultanate became a target of its Muslim neighbours, the Ottoman Turks, who invaded Egypt in 1517. Following this conquest, most of the contents of the Alexandria arsenal were removed and taken to the former Byzantine church of Haghia Eirene in Constantinople, which by this time was used to house the Imperial Ottoman Arsenal. Much later, in 1726, this became Turkey’s national Military Museum and, although much of its contents have been dispersed in more recent times, over sixty swords with Alexandria inscriptions remain in the present-day Military Museum in modern Istanbul, thus retaining an impeccable provenance. Many more now reside in the museums of Western Europe and North America, as well as several in private collections around the world. Our sword bears the following inscription: Hubs Khaz¯a’in al-sil¯ah bi-thughr al-Iskandariyyah (Donation to the Arsenal in the frontier city of Alexandria) Although this single line of inscription shows neither a name nor a date, a number of the swords in Istanbul have been inscribed in a similar fashion. If, however, we carefully study the inscriptions of those that do bear known dates or the names of donors, we can see that the ‘handwriting’ on our piece closely matches several examples of a subgroup that were presented to the arsenal in the name of the Amir Saif al-din Aristay. We know that Aristay was a senior Mamluk of the Sultan al-Z¯ahir Sayf-al-Din Barq¯uq during the late 1390s and that he was appointed Governor of Alexandria during the reign of his son and successor, al-N¯asir N¯asir-al-Din Faraj, in December 1400. Despite the fact that his time in office only lasted six months or so, it affords us the luxury of being able to date fairly


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precisely when these swords were donated to the arsenal: probably in early 1401. Aristay died in Cairo in 1408, and is often given the title ‘prince of the amirs’ (malik al-umar¯a) on some of the blades which bear his name. It is impossible to know exactly how this sword came into the hands of the Mamluks in this turbulent period, as this was a time of uneasy truces and minor skirmishes between the Christian and Muslim states of the eastern Mediterranean. This is further complicated by the fact that the republics of Venice and Genoa were quite prepared to sell arms to both sides if a profit could be made, despite Papal laws forbidding this. At the same time, the Knights of St John maintained an aggressive presence in the area, their galleys operating from Rhodes preying upon both Ottoman and Mamluk shipping alike. Taking all of this into account, the swords that bear Aristay’s name are typologically diverse and it is certainly possible that they were captured in battle rather than bestowed as gifts or tribute. Indeed, the edges of our sword’s blade show evidence of much use, although whether this occurred before or after its deposition in Alexandria cannot be known. In addition to its Arabic inscription, several other features of the sword are particularly noteworthy, such as the marks on both faces of the blade. With most of these Alexandria swords, the inscriptions do not usually obscure the original maker’s marks, as here, but in this respect the sword is not unique. At least two of those that remain in Istanbul (Inv. Nos. 11593 and 10924 – the latter inscribed in Aristay’s name) have had their marks overwritten in this way. On the reverse side of the blade we can see the mark very clearly. It appears to depict an angular, stylised heart above what may be described as three converging ‘spears’, the ‘heads’ of which are inlaid with latten. There is in fact a number of medieval sword blades that bear quite similar – and in one or two cases, nearly identical – marks, including another of the Istanbul swords: almost all can be dated to the 14th century or soon afterwards. Many of these are shown in conjunction with other marks, such as the ubiquitous ‘running wolf’ and ‘bishop’s crosier’ associated with the great blademaking centre of Passau, on the Danube. This, in all likelihood, is where our sword, or at least its blade, originated. The incised crosses on the bosses of the pommel are also of great interest. This was a relatively common form of decoration and features on a number of the other Alexandria swords, perhaps indicating their original owner’s service to the Church. One sword, which was offered in our 1996 catalogue, Item No. 40, has a similar ‘wheel’ pommel upon which crosses are featured not only within the central boss, as here, but also around its circumference: all are inlaid with latten. That sword’s blade also bears a maker’s mark of a small heart alongside variations on the ‘running wolf’ theme, further reinforcing the links with Passau. Returning to our present piece, tiny traces of latten may be seen within one of these crosses, indicating that both were fully inlaid originally. Surviving knightly effigies and other works of art show that large ‘swords of war’ such as this were quite prevalent in this period, most being exported from the German-speaking lands throughout Christendom. They seem to have been especially popular in countries bordering the Mediterranean, where heavy armour was eschewed because of the climate, and would have been extremely effective against lightly armoured opponents. With its heavy, broad blade designed for dealing lethal shearing blows, this sword is an archetypical example. It can be classified as a ‘Type XIIIa’ according to Oakeshott’s typology. It is, certainly, one of the more imposing styles of medieval sword and one that clearly emphasises the brutal, bloody nature of hand-to-hand


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warfare. Although quite heavy for a medieval sword, weighing nearly 4 I pounds, it is not difficult or awkward to wield and truly ‘comes alive’ when gripped with two hands. The riveted wooden plates that form the sword’s grip are a common, and often remarked-upon, feature of the ex-Haghia Eirene pieces. These distinctive grips are not medieval in origin but are more likely to have been fashioned by the Turks when the arms at Haghia Eirene were arranged into decorative panoplies in the latter years of the 19th century. These impressive displays were recorded in a series of early photographs taken around 1900 and many of the swords shown therein are clearly fitted with these unusual grips. It would appear that the authorities at Haghia Eirene were prepared to sell many items from these displays, as shortly after the First World War a large number of swords bearing Arabic inscriptions, some with riveted grips or Ottoman identification tags, were offered for private sale in London. Some of these were acquired by North American collectors or museums; it remains possible that our sword was originally among their number, having been discovered very recently in Canada. It is fascinating to follow the history of our sword, from its beginnings in medieval Germany and probable use around the eastern Mediterranean, to its deposition in the arsenals of Alexandria and Haghia Eirene where it lay preserved for many centuries. Provenance:

The Alexandria Arsenal. Private collection, Canada.

Literature:

Alexander, D.G., ‘European Swords in the Collections of Istanbul – Part 1, Swords from the Arsenal of Alexandria’. Zeitschrift für Historische Waffen- und Kostümkunde, Vol. XXVII (1985). Combe, E., & de Cosson, A.F.C., ‘European Swords with Arabic Inscriptions from the Arsenal of Alexandria’, Bulletin de la Société Royale d’Archéologie d’Alexandrie, No. 31 (1937). Kalus, L., ‘Donations Pieuses d’Epées Médiévales à l’Arsenal d’Alexandrie’. Revue des Etudes Islamiques, Vol. L (1982). Oakeshott, E., The Sword in the Age of Chivalry, (Woodbridge, Suffolk, 1964, repr. 1995), pp. 42-47. Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.


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7. A Very Fine and Rare Gothic Crossbow South German circa 1475 The composite bow covered with parchment decorated in monochrome to simulate fishskin or snakeskin. Along the length of the back this skin decoration gives way to a panel of foliate scrollwork incorporating painted red flowers and painted green foliage. The panel bifurcates at each end to enclose a triangular panel of similar scrollwork containing a figure: the panel at the left tip is damaged but that at the right tip represents Eve holding the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. A similar, but narrower and plainer, band runs the length of the belly. The long and elegant wooden tiller thick at the fore-end, where the cord bridles secure the bow, then tapers and is cut away on the underside for the thumb-and-finger grip before expanding to the area around the release nut and lock; from here the tiller tapers gradually to the butt. A cranequin-lug passes through tiller some six inches behind the release nut. The top of the tiller reinforced with plain bone for its entire length and having a lateral bolt guide at the fore-end. Shaped panels of horn are let into the sides of the tiller around the area of the lock and on the underside around the areas of the trigger and the original string and bound cord bridles. A small iron stirrup or hanging loop is attached to the back of the bow by more recent leather bindings. The long lever trigger operates directly on the iron-reinforced underside of the horn release nut: this rotates on a cord binding tied around and through the tiller and nut. Length: 28 D in Width: 27 I in Dated crossbows from before the 16th century are extremely rare. Fortunately, two are now in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and help to confirm the period of our crossbow. One is dated 1460 and bears the Arms of Ulrich V of Württemberg and his third wife, Margaret of Savoy, whom he married that year; the other is dated 1489 and bears the Arms of King Matthias the Great (known as Corvinus, the Raven) of Hungary. Although both of these are differently decorated from our example, they are both of the same general form. Another bow of similar style, though more highly decorated than our example, can be seen hanging from the belt of a soldier in the painting of the ‘Conversion of Saul’ that formed part of the Peter and Paul Altarpiece painted in the late 1470s by Friedrich Pacher for the Chapel of Saints Peter and Paul in the Jöchlsthurn, Sterzing (Vipiteno) in the South Tyrol just south of the Brenner Pass. The art of making composite bows is believed to have been introduced to Europe from the East in the 12th century, although the method of construction of European composite bows is rather different from the normal Eastern method. Composite bows were used increasingly on European crossbows from the 12th century onwards, both for hunting and for warfare. Their power derived from their construction, in which


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layers of wood, sinew and horn were glued together to form a single flexible unit, the sinews being glued to the front of the bow in order to provide tensile elasticity and the horn being glued to the back to provide compressional elasticity. For a while after their arrival in Europe, such mystery surrounded the art, strength and exotic nature of composite bows that they were popularly thought to be made from the phalluses of elephants. They were gradually replaced for war by steel bows in the late 15th century but remained popular for hunting well into the 16th century. A major reason for this seems to have been that they had a reputation for being more reliable than simple wooden bows and for being less likely to break in cold weather than steel bows. This last attribute was especially important when chasing game such as chamois high in the European Alps: illustrations from Der Weisskunig, begun in 1516, of the Emperor Maximilian I hunting chamois show him using a composite bow. It may well be that our bow was a sporting weapon: however, we cannot be certain of this since illustrations, such as the Pacher painting of the ‘Conversion of Saul’ mentioned above, exist that show bows more highly decorated than ours in use by soldiers. Different materials were used to weatherproof these composite bows: most commonly these were varnished wrappings of cloth, paper, bark or snakeskin. Analysis of some bows excavated from Hungarian graves has shown that they were covered with viper skin. The dotted decoration found on our bow may, therefore, be intended to represent snakeskin rather than the fishskin that has traditionally been suggested. The inclusion in the decoration on our bow of the figure of Eve carrying the fruit with which she was to tempt Adam is an important and early example of the type


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of ‘men beware’ subject-matter on crossbows: this seems to reach its height in the decoration of a late 16th-century steel-bowed crossbow in the collection of the Armoury of the Moscow Kremlin. Bone panels on the tiller of that bow are engraved with the following scenes upon this theme: Delilah making Samson sleep on her lap and calling someone to cut off his hair (Old Testament, Judges 16), Judith cutting off the head of Holofernes as he sleeps and giving it to a servant to put in a bag (Apocrypha, Judith 13) and the defeat of Sisera and his murder as he slept by Jael, wife of Heber – a particularly gruesome scene showing her hammering a nail through his temples into the ground (Old Testament, Judges 4).

Our crossbow eventually became part of the collections of the Dukes of Brunswick. In the 1890 catalogue of the ducal collections in what is generally known as Schloss Cumberland, Gmunden, Austria, it is illustrated and described as number 45 and is clearly shown hanging on the east side of Great Hall of the castle, close to the crossbow quiver offered in this catalogue as Item No. 9. Our crossbow is said to have come from the Augustinian Abbey of Neustift, Brixen (Bressanone) in that part of the South Tyrol that now lies in Italy. This was one of the most important monasteries of the region and is the burial place of the troubadour Oswald von Wolkenstein. Bressanone is only some twenty miles from Vipiteno, where Friedrich Pacher included the very similar crossbow in his painting of the ‘Conversion of Saul’ referred to earlier. Given this provenance, together with its general form, it is highly probable that our fine and rare crossbow was made in the southern German-speaking lands.


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Gmunden is a town situated on the northern shore of the Traun-See, a lake in Upper Austria between Linz and Salzburg. There has been a castle on an island in the lake since the Middle Ages and this survives, though much altered in the 19th century, as Schloss Ort. Following his espousal of the Austrian cause in the Austro-Prussian War of 1866, King George V of Hanover and Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg lost his kingdom and was forced into exile. The Emperor Franz-Joseph invited him to Austria where he acquired some land near Gmunden. His son, the former crown prince Ernst-August of Hanover, by then known as the Duke of Cumberland, and his wife Thyra, a Danish princess, built a new castle, Schloss Cumberland, on this land in the 1880s. As with our quiver, Item No. 9, our crossbow was subsequently moved from Schloss Cumberland, Gmunden, to Schloss Blankenburg and thence to Schloss Marienburg, the details of which can be found within ‘A History of the Brunswick Collection’ at the front of this catalogue. It was also included among the items shown in an exhibition at the Tower of London in 1952-53, in which it was Item Number 118. Provenance:

Kloster Neustift, Brixen. Historic Collections of the Dukes of Brunswick successively at Schloss Cumberland, Schloss Blankenburg and Schloss Marienburg.

Exhibited:

Tower of London, Exhibition of Arms, Armour and Militaria lent by the Duke of Brunswick, 1952-53, Item No. 118.

Literature:

Anonymous, Schloss Sr Konigl. Hoheit Herzog von Cumberland und Herzog zu Braunschweig Lüneburg bei Gmunden an Traunsee, (Vienna, 1890). Dean, B., ‘A Crossbow of Matthias Corvinus, 1489’, Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, (New York, 1925), pp. 154-157. de Cosson, Baron, ‘The Crossbow of Ulrich V, Count of Württemberg, 1460, with remarks on its construction’, Archaeologia, Vol. LIII, (1892), pp. 445-463. Paterson, W.F., A Guide to the Crossbow, Society of Archer Antiquaries, (1990), pp. 67-68. Ronen, A., The Peter and Paul Altarpiece and Friedrich Pacher, (Jerusalem, 1973).


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8. A Fine and Rare Pavise South German circa 1480 Of wood covered with gessoed canvas and rectangular in shape with rounded corners and a rounded, projecting, vertical medial gutter. The front painted in an orange-red ground colour, stippled with yellow-gold to a double yellow-gold lined border beyond which the edge is painted in a rust-brown; on the front is painted a black eagle with wings displayed, its chest bearing a shield charged with the Arms of the Wittelsbach family: bendy dexter-paly azure and argent. The back of the pavise painted in a rust-brown colour and fitted with a forked, Y-shaped, vertical, leather handle, with two staples near the top and one centrally near the bottom for the attachment of a suspension loop and prop. Height: 51 I in Width: 24 D in Our pavise has an Imperial connection. The Arms on it are those of the Wittelsbach dynasty that was founded in the 10th century and ruled Bavaria and, from 1214, the Palatinate of the Rhine. The blue-white lozengy Arms were adopted by the Wittelsbachs in 1272. The single-headed black eagle was the symbol of the King of the Romans, a title used until 1806 by Holy Roman Emperors after their election but before their coronation by the Pope as well as by their designated heirs who had been elected during the life of an emperor. The Wittelsbach family was allowed to use the device of the eagle because, in 1273, Ludwig II of Bavaria and Count Palatine of the Rhine married Mathilde, daughter of the Emperor Rudolf I. Two members of the Wittelsbach family were also elected King of the Romans: Ludwig IV who was elected in 1314 and crowned Emperor in 1328 and Ruprecht who was elected in 1400 but died in 1410 before his coronation as Emperor. It is not known for which member of the Wittelsbach family our shield was made. Despite the fact that the single eagle was more relevant to the Palatine branch of the family, the absence from our pavise of the Palatine heraldry of a golden-lion-on-a-black-ground and the presence upon it of the Bavarian branch’s blue-white lozengy Arms suggests that it was most likely to have been made for use by the forces of Duke Albrecht II of Bavaria who ruled from 1465 to 1508. However, the branches were interconnected and if this pavise was made for the Palatine Wittelsbachs it would have been intended for the forces of Elector Count Palatine Otto II (reigned 1449-99) or, if slightly later in date, for Philip (reigned 1499-1508) or Otto III (reigned 1508-59). While large shields were used by infantry soldiers throughout the Middle Ages, the specific form of shield known as the ‘pavise’ seems to have developed in the early 14th century. It is thought to take its name from the north Italian city-state of Pavia and is mentioned in records dating from the early 14th century in connection with the Pavians and their rectangular shields. According to an anonymous chronicle of about 1330, the military renown of the Pavians is proclaimed all over Italy. After it are called large shields, rectangular at top and bottom, known as ‘Papienses’. The shields proved very successful, soon spreading across Europe, probably through their use by Italian mercenary forces. Pavises had reached England by the middle of the 14th century, the first reference to them in the Tower of London coming in the inventory of receipts from Robert Mildenhall for the period 1353 to 1360, and they had a long and active life. Henry V took numbers


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with him on his 1415 campaign to France that ended with the battle of Agincourt; they were widely used during the Wars of the Roses in the mid-15th century and they were commonly found on naval ships of the period. Throughout the later Middle Ages the term ‘pavise’ was used to describe a large, rectangular shield often used propped on the ground as a defence from behind which crossbowmen and archers, but especially the former, could shoot. In Germany such a shield was generally known as a Setzschild, because it literally sat on the ground. When bows began to be replaced by firearms, pavises continued to be used to protect their users, the Hussites employing them in the early 15th century to cover the gaps between their laagered war wagons. However, the pavise’s fate was tied to that of the crossbow and in the 16th century it was rendered redundant by the growing use and effectiveness of firearms, against which it was no defence. Against arrows the pavise had been a good and necessary defence since the archer armed with a crossbow needed time to ‘span’ and load his weapon between shots. At this time he would be vulnerable as he bent over his bow and so, when in the field – as opposed to when he was allowed the shelter of a town wall – the crossbowman needed protection. Often, either two crossbowmen worked together behind a pavise, one shooting and one spanning, or the crossbowman was accompanied and assisted by his ‘pavisier’, whose job it was to carry the pavise into battle and to


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position and move it to give good protection. The best contemporary English description of a pavise in use comes from an undated ordinance of the Earl of Shrewsbury and ‘Perche Lorde of Mounthermer’: this dates from the period between John Talbot being created Earl of Shrewsbury in 1442 when he led the fight against France in the latter stages of the Hundred Years War and his death at Castillon in 1453. The ordinance specified that every ij yeomen make them a goode pavise of bordes or of pap, in the beste maner they cane best devise, that on may hold it, whiles that the other dothe shete.... Pavises propped up in front of crossbowmen, usually at sieges and not field battles, appear in the art of northern Europe in the 15th century, examples of this including a miniature from the Histoire du Grand Alexandre (Museé du Petit Palais, Paris) and in the Pageant of the Birth, Life and Death of Richard Beauchamp Earl of Warwick dating from the late 1480s (British Library Cotton MS Julius E. IV, folio 19). Our impressive and rare pavise is of typical form and construction. Paul Zidek recorded in his Liber Viginti Artium of 1413-17 that, a pavise is made of wood, glue and pieces of canvas which are joined together as thoroughly as possible by glue and interwoven by ligaments. According to the ‘Herbal’ of Tadeás Hájek, published in Aventine in 1562, the wood used in making pavises was that of the willow tree, because of its stickiness and sinewed character. Some pavises, notably those from Bohemia, were fitted with single or double iron spikes along their bottom edges: these enabled them to be driven into soft ground, thus rendering a wall of pavises an obstacle inspiring confidence in those sheltering behind it. This was a tactic peculiar to the Bohemians and is, for example, celebrated in a number of songs relating to the battle of Regensburg of 1504. The form of such a pavise-wall can be seen in one of the woodcuts illustrating Der Weisskunig, prepared for the Emperor Maximilan I in about 1516. In this semiautobiographical work, the Emperor, in the guise of the ‘White King’, learnt various forms of combat, including the use of the Bohemian pavise on foot. Literature:

Bradbury, J., Siege Warfare, (Woodbridge, Suffolk, 1992), p. 184. Denkstein, V., ‘Pavises of the Bohemian Type II’, Sbordnik Narodniho Muzea U Praze Acta, Vol. XVIII, (1964), 3-4, 107-94. Myers, A.R., ‘Gregory's Chronicle’, English Historical Documents, IV (1327-1485), p. 288. Nicholas, Sir N.H., History of the Battle of Agincourt, (London, 1833), Appendix p. 41. Paterson, W.F., A Guide to the Crossbow, Society of Archer Antiquaries, (1990), p. 43. Seward, D., Henry V as Warlord, (London, 1987), p. 98. Wilson, G.M., ‘Pavises in England’, Royal Armouries Yearbook, Vol. II, (Leeds, 1997), pp 53-54.


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9. A Rare Quiver for Crossbow Bolts German circa 1500 In the form of a pilaster expanding gradually to a broad base and constructed of wood covered in black leather with five narrow front panels and a broad, wide, flat back panel. The leather tooled on the four side panels alternately with hatching and double serpentine lines and on the central face with symmetrical foliate ornament and strapwork; the back tooled with broad cross-hatching. The U-shaped mouth having a central knop to fasten a cover, now absent. A vertical iron staple fitted to the back panel to accommodate the belt or carrying strap. Height: 18 I in Width: 5 N in Medieval crossbow quivers are extremely rare. Those few that survive are of the same general form as this example but of semi-circular section and covered with natural pigskin retaining its hair. Examples can be found, for example, in the Royal Armouries Museum, Leeds, (No. XI.21) and in the Philadelphia Museum of Art (Kretzschmar von Kienbusch collection, No. 631). Another was sold by Christie’s, London, on 26th October 1994 as lot 147. Another example, shorter than normal, is now in the Glasgow City Museum and Art Gallery (No. E.1939.65.so) and was previously in the Scott, Zschille, Bernal and Londesborough collections. We offered a fine example in our 1997 catalogue, Item No. 10. This form of quiver is known to have been in use from the beginning of the 15th century onwards and was used both in sporting activities and in war. Quivers like this are shown in use for hunting in the illustrations in the version of Gaston Phoebus’s Livre de Chasse in the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, (No. BN Ms FR. 616): the text of this dates from 1387-89 but this version has been dated to around 1407. They also appear, but carried by soldiers, in the version of Das Feuerwerkbuch in the Royal Armouries Museum, Leeds (No. I.34): this has been dated to about 1450. Quivers of this type had a long life and continued to be used into the 16th century. Clearly covered with natural pigskin, they are shown, for example, in two paintings in the Alte Pinakothek, Munich: Hans Holbein the Elder’s ‘Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian’, dated 1516, and one of Bernhard Strigel’s four paintings of soldiers guarding Christ’s tomb, circa 1522. All of the illustrations mentioned above show the quivers with their tops open and, in all but the Holbein painting, the bolts are shown with their heads emerging from the tops of the quivers. This is the reverse of the way that a longbow arrow was normally carried in its quiver. It has generally been assumed that the typical form of the crossbow quiver – expanding from top to bottom – was developed to accommodate the extra width of the flights at the base of the quiver when they were put in head uppermost. It has also generally been assumed that the difference between the way that longbow arrows and crossbow bolts were carried in their quivers may be explained by the greater durability of the flights of crossbow bolts, normally made of wood or leather, as compared with the fragility of the feathered fletching of longbow arrows. However, the evidence is not quite that simple. The illustrations from the Livre de Chasse mentioned above show a number of this general type of crossbow quiver without bases: thus, the flights of the crossbow bolts are exposed


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and these can clearly be seen to be made from feathers. It is possible that all the quivers in the Livre de Chasse are without bases but numbers of them have long fringes that hide their bottoms so we cannot be sure. Fringes seem to have been a popular adornment for crossbow quivers and are also found around the mouths of the quivers illustrated in the Royal Armouries’ Feuerwerkbuch. The illustrations in the Livre de Chasse show a variety of forms of decoration on these quivers. Many are colourful and this may indicate that they were covered in fabric; others may also be intended to represent the type of finely detailed tooled leatherwork such as is found on our quiver. The evidence suggests that crossbow quivers of this type were commonly used in Europe north of the Alps over a long period. With its long and notably elegant pilaster shape and its high-quality, attractively tooled leather covering, our quiver appears to be a unique survivor of the very superior and decorative quivers that are known to have been used in the late Middle Ages. A final irony is worth mentioning. Soon after this quiver was made, the power of gunpowder removed the crossbow from its pinnacle as the most powerful projectile weapon. However, in a fine example of how old and familiar forms are adapted for new uses once they become redundant, it is interesting to note how some early cartridge boxes, such as the German one dated 1559 in the Musée de l’Armée, Paris (No. M.21138), copy the form of the old crossbow quivers almost exactly. Our quiver comes from the historic armoury of the Dukes of Brunswick. It is illustrated and described as number 148 in the catalogue of the ducal collections in what is generally known as Schloss Cumberland, Gmunden, published in 1890. In this catalogue it is clearly shown hanging on the west side of the Great Hall of the castle and is described as dating to the end of the 15th century: perhaps significantly, it was then hung close to our crossbow offered in this catalogue as Item No. 7. As with our crossbow, item number 7 in this catalogue, our quiver was subsequently moved from Schloss Cumberland, Gmunden, to Schloss Blankenburg and thence to Schloss Marienburg, the details of which can be found within ‘A History of the Brunswick Collection’ at the front of this catalogue. It was also included among the items shown in an exhibition at the Tower of London in 1952-53, in which it was Item Number 126. Provenance:

Historic Collections of the Dukes of Brunswick successively at Schloss Cumberland, Schloss Blankenburg and Schloss Marienburg.

Exhibited:

Tower of London, Exhibition of Arms, Armour and Militaria lent by the Duke of Brunswick, 1952-53, No. 126.

Literature:

Anonymous, Schloss Sr Konigl Hoheit Herzog von Cumberland und Herzog zu Braunschweig Lüneburg bei Gmunden an Traunsee, (Vienna, 1890). Kramer, G.W., ‘The Firework Book: Gunpowder in Medieval Germany’, Journal of the Arms and Armour Society of Great Britain, (London, 2001), Vol. XVII, No. 1. Joubert, F., Catalogue of the Collection of European Arms and Armour Formed at Greenock by RL Scott, (Glasgow 1924), Vol. III, Section 7, pl. 2. Thomas, M., Avril, F. and Schlag, W., The Hunting Book of Gaston Phébus, (London, 1998).


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10. Two Rare and Important Elements of a Stechzeug Armour South German probably Landshut circa 1495 Comprising a left pauldron and a right vambrace of steel. The pauldron having a wide, fanned shoulder plate, small at the front and larger at the back, on the front a peg pierced with a hole, perhaps for helping to secure a pear or shield. Radiating flutes decorate the back and the upper part of the front, converging on the top of the shoulder, where the edge of the plate is cusped at the flutes, with flat-headed cusps engraved with three lines. At the top of the shoulder is a pivoting iron buckle, possibly a later replacement, for securing the pauldron. Attached to the shoulder plate are six lames overlapping downwards, articulating on leathers and sliding rivets, the five upper lames narrow with double vertical flutes in the centre, their lower edges curving down to cusps near either side and to a triple cusp in the centre; the lower lame broader, with flutes radiating from the vertical double flutes in the centre that match those on the upper lames. The vambrace consisting of upper and lower cannons and couter permanently attached to each other, the upper cannon of fluted, guttershape with a low medial ridge, the couter consisting of one lame above the main elbow plate and two below. The distinctive lower cannon, usually known in this type of armour as a polder-mitten (Poldermiton), consisting of a full-length gutter-shaped outer plate with flutes curving away from a low medial ridge and a small inner cuff plate to which is riveted a large, fluted fan plate hinged on the outside to the outer cannon plate and secured on the inside by a strap and iron buckle. Pauldron: Length: 17 in Weight: 2 lb 10 oz Vambrace: Length: 15 in Weight: 2 lb 7 oz These two important elements are a part of the type of armour known as Stechzeug that was developed for the form of jousting known as the Gestech. This emerged in the 14th century and was very popular in the German-speaking lands in the 15th and early 16th centuries. In this area of Europe at this time, although there were many types of joust, they were all variations of two main types: the Rennen, or Scharfrennen, fought with a pointed lance, and the Gestech, fought using a blunted lance, usually with a coronel head; see our 2001 catalogue, Item No. 16. Both types were fought in the open field without the tilt barrier that was gradually becoming popular elsewhere. There were two main forms of the Gestech: the Gestech itself, in which the object was either to unhorse an opponent or to break a lance on him, and the Hohenzeuggestech, the main object of which was to score points by the splintering of well-aimed lances. The latter was called the Hohen or ‘high’ course because the rider sat or, more accurately, stood on a high saddle raised above the horse’s back. This saddle had a large, curved, shield-like bow at the front that extended down to protect the rider’s legs, obviating the need for plate armour defences for them. Originally, the Gestech was fought in ordinary field armour and a frog-mouthed helm, Stechhelm. This type of helmet was so constructed that the wearer could only see where he was going when


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he lowered his head. Once the horse was set in the right direction towards an opponent the head would be raised, thus presenting a wall of steel to the opponent’s lance. The disadvantage of this was obvious – the wearer was riding blind – but the advantage was critical, for the wall of steel gave good protection against the splintering of a well-aimed lance and splinters were known to blind or kill. The earliest evidence for special armour for the Gestech comes from an inventory of armour belonging to Archduke Friedrich of Tyrol dating to 1436. By about 1470 the form and style of this special armour was in place and continued in use with only minor changes until about 1530. For a time in the second half of the 15th century the Hohenzeuggestech went out of fashion before being revived by the Emperor Maximilian I (reigned 1493-1519) who seems to have delighted in promoting specialised and different forms of martial sports. However, the armour for the Gestech remained much the same, whatever the variation in the course. The Stechhelm was normally bolted to the breastplate: this was shaped to the right side to take a large lance rest and queue – a bar projecting back under the arm with a hooked end under which the butt of lance was engaged. Usually, the breastplate had a reinforcing plackart and often an additional arched supporting plate beneath this that rests on the thighs. The backplate was often little more than a saltire frame, as all the danger came from the front in this form of sporting combat. Fauld and culet plates and short tassets were also normal. The arms were generally of the form described here with the addition of besagues, always on the right and often on both shoulders, and a large gauntlet, known as a manifer, on the left hand. The right hand was protected by a large vamplate and was either left bare or given some additional protection by a padded glove. To give added protection to the vulnerable left side, a pear, a wooden or leather buffer for the shield, and a small rectangular shield, usually made of wood, the Stechsartsche, were suspended by cords passing through holes in the breastplate. The main armour pieces were often also connected and held in place by complex lacing arrangements. From about 1480 a new defence for the legs replaced the wooden saddlebow. It usually took the form of a padded bumper, the Stechsach, that was hung round the horse’s neck to protect both its chest and its rider’s legs. Numbers of armours of this general type survive, especially in the Hofjagd- und Rüstkammer, Vienna and in the Germanisches Museum, Nuremberg. Illustrations of them can be found in contemporary illustrated tournament books such as The Triumph of Maximilian (text 1512 and engravings, largely by Hans Burgkmair, 1512-19, published 1526), the Tournament Book of Johann


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Friedrich the Magnanimous of Saxony (school of Lucas Cranach the elder about 1535) in the Kunstsammlungen der Veste Coburg, (MS 2, S.81) and other Saxon tournament books dating mostly from the early 1540s but depicting tournaments from the late 1480s onwards. The polder-mitten found on our vambrace was a very important part of these highly specialised sporting armours, designed to give maximum frontal protection for the vulnerable inner elbow. Very similar fluted polder-mittens are found on the otherwise less fluted arms of an armour in the Hofjagd- und Rüstkammer, Vienna (No. S.VII) made for Archduke Sigismund of the Tyrol (142796) by Christian Schreiner in Innsbruck in 1483-84. The flutes leading to cusped edges on the lames of our pauldron seem to be an early feature: this is similar to the decoration on the pauldrons of an armour in the Hofjagd- und Rüstkammer, Vienna (No. B 19) that, together with other parts of the armour, bear the mark of the Landshut maker Mathes Deutsch. This armour is believed to have been made for Johanns des Beständigen (John the Constant), Duke of Saxony (1468-1531) to wear at the tournament organised by the Emperor Maximilian at Innsbruck in 1497. Similar cusping to the edges of the pauldron lames also appears on an illustration of a joust at Torgau in 1493 in the Turnierbuch Johanns des Beständigen. Landshut, a town some forty miles north east of Munich, was at this time developing into one of the major producers of high-quality armours and Mathes Deutsch is known to have made other tournament armours for the Saxon court. There is, therefore, reason to believe that our important and early elements of armour for the Gestech are very likely to have been made in southern Germany. They may well have been made in Landshut, although they may have come from one of the other major armour-producing centres of the region: Nuremberg, Augsburg or Innsbruck. These elements of armour for the Gestech are known to have been among the large collection of arms and armour belonging to the Dukes of Brunswick that was preserved until 1945 at the Castle of Blankenburg in the Harz Mountains, the details of which can be found within ‘A History of the Brunswick Collection’ at the front of this catalogue. Thereafter they were kept at Marienburg Castle. They were included among the items shown in an exhibition at the Tower of London in 1952-53 as Item Number 1. Provenance:

Historic Collections of the Dukes of Brunswick successively at Schloss Blankenburg and Schloss Marienburg.

Exhibited:

Tower of London, Exhibition of Arms, Armour and Militaria lent by the Duke of Brunswick, 1952-53, No.1.

Literature:

Applebaum, S., (ed), The Triumph of Maximilian, (New York, 1964). Blair, C., European Armour, (London, 1958), pp. 159-62. Haenel, E., Der Sächsischenkurfürsten Turnierbücher, (Frankfurt am Main, 1910), Pl. 53. Smith, R. D., Heavy Metal: Focus on European Armour, (Delft, 2004), pp. 40-41. Spitzelberger, G., Landshuter Plattnerkunst, (Landshut, 1975), pp. 23, 45.


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11. A Fine and Rare Breastplate Flemish, Burgundian, or from the English Royal Workshop at Greenwich circa 1515 The steel breastplate of globose form with a medial ridge and high neck, having two downward-lapping articulated plates at the waist, the lower one retaining rectangular holes at each side for the original attachment of a third plate. Fitted with single articulating gussets at each shoulder, the gussets and the neck of the breastplate having exceptionally fine and pronounced angular outward turns at the edges. On the right side of the breastplate is a near-vertical line of four holes: to these would have been attached the staple by which the lance rest was secured with a peg. Beneath the shoulder of the breastplate on each side is a cut-out with a semi-circular end, perhaps for locating on the backplate; at the top, one of the two strap rivets on each shoulder survives. Height: 19 in Width: 13 I in Weight: 9 lb 6 oz In its general form, this breastplate is Italianate. Features such as the centrally ridged fauld plates, the large turns to major edges and the form of the lance rest that attached to a staple on the breast are all to be found on northern Italian armours of the late 15th and very early 16th centuries. Citing the quantities of such armour that he found in Spain, Bashford Dean suggested that armour with such Italianate features was, in fact, Spanish. Modern scholarship is of the view that if such armour was not made in Italy it was made in Flanders by Italian armourers for the Spanish market. Many Italian armourers went to Flanders to work for the Hapsburgs and, of course, brought their style with them: in the course of their business they trained local craftsmen in their ways. Particularly close to the form of our breastplate was one on a composite armour owned by Bashford Dean and from the Osuna collection: it had a centrally ridged fauld of four plates, a ‘stapled’ lance rest and bold turns at neck and shoulders that he described as ‘typically Spanish in form’. However, another breastplate, complete with reinforce and with similar features, although with less pronounced turns and with restored fauld plates, forms part of an excavated armour in the Schweizerisches Nationalmuseum, Zurich (No. LM 4955). That breastplate bears the mark of the Arbois workshop that was founded in 1494-95 on the instructions of Emperor Maximilian I (reigned 1493-1519) by the Milanese armourers Gabrielle and Francesco Merate. The Burgundian town of Arbois is some 25 miles south west of Besançon, near where the armour was found, in eastern central France and the stylistic links between this and other similar pieces with different attributions show how difficult it is accurately to pinpoint where, north of the Alps, armours of Italianate form were actually made. Another very similar breastplate is to be found on an armour in the Hungarian National Museum, Budapest (No. A.77): this came from the historic Imperial Armoury at Vienna and bears the mark of an M below a crescent. Other known pieces bearing this mark are: an Italianate armour in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (No. 29.158.52), two plain horse armours in the Real Armería, Madrid (Nos. A.3-4), the ‘Burgundian’ bard horse armour of King Henry VIII (Royal Armouries Nos. VI.6-12) and the horse armour belonging to the silvered and engraved armour of King Henry VIII (Royal Armouries No. II.5). The mark of an M below a crescent was once attributed, with no supporting evidence, to the Merate brothers working at Arbois in Burgundy


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but a definite alternative craftsman or workshop has yet to be identified. All that can be said is that the weight of evidence suggests that the craftsman using this mark worked somewhere in the Flemish or Burgundian territories of Emperor Maximilian I. Nevertheless, the weight of evidence and modern scholarly opinion suggest that most of these Italianate armours made north of the Alps were produced in Flanders. It was from among the armourers working in Brussels for Emperor Maximilian I, as well as from Italy itself, that King Henry VIII of England recruited craftsmen to establish a royal armour workshop in London in 1511. The armourers from Milan, men such as Filippo de Grampis and Angelo de Littis, came and started work in London but did not stay for long. The story of the Flemings was rather different: it appears that in 1511 only two or three answered King Henry’s call and came over to England to work for him. A small workshop was established for them at the royal palace at Greenwich, a workshop that was to grow and prosper for over 100 years. Two Flemings whom we can definitely identify were Peter Fevers and Copyn (Jacob) de Watte: Fevers was employed until his death, which occurred sometime between Christmas 1517 and October the following year but De Watte had a long career in royal service that ended with his death sometime between 1533 and 1540. The third Flemish armourer may possibly have been the John van Founten, mylman, glasier, harnesium regum who died in 1516. In 1515 these original Flemish armourers were joined by more Flemings and Germans, men like Martin van Royne who had worked for the Emperor Maximilian in Flanders. By the end of 1515 King Henry had a workshop at Greenwich staffed by eleven German and Flemish armourers who were collectively known as Almains. The collections of the Royal Armouries contain a breastplate (No. III.71) that has for many years been regarded as of Flemish manufacture. It has pronounced turns to the neck and shoulders, a staple to which to attach the lance rest and three fauld plates with a central ridge. It is very similar indeed to our breastplate and confirms the likelihood that ours, too, although of Italianate form, was made by a Flemish or emigrant Italian craftsman. The Armouries’ breastplate bears a crowned W mark. This mark has not yet been firmly attributed to any maker but a recent suggestion is that it might be the mark of the Copyn de Watte who, as we have seen, worked for King Henry VIII in England for over 20 years. There is, therefore, a strong probability that our breastplate, too, may have been made at Greenwich in those early formative years. Literature:

Blair, C., ‘The Silvered Armour of Henry VIII in the Tower of London’, Archaeologia, XCIX, (London, 1965), pp. 32-33, 36-38, pl. XIV. Boccia, L.G., Le Armature di S. Maria delle Grazie di Curatone di Mantova e l’Armatura Lombarda del ‘400, (Milan, 1982), p. 31, figs. 168-169, 205. Dean, B., The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Catalogue of a Loan Exhibition of Arms and Armour, (New York, 1911), pp. 9-10, pl. VI. Karcheski, W.J., and Richardson, T., The Medieval Armour from Rhodes, (Leeds and Worcester Mass., 2000), p. 65, No. 4.17. Richardson, T., The Armour & Arms of Henry VIII, (Leeds, 2002), pp. 11-16.


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12. A Rare ‘Maximilian’ Shaffron German, probably Nuremberg circa 1520 Formed of two principal plates, each contoured to the horse’s face and embossed with a fanlike arrangement of fluting radiating from the middle and having recessed borders with lining rivets and plain turns at the principal edges; the lower plate drawn up to a central keel and widening over the muzzle; the upper plate fitted with a pair of small hemispherical plates behind the ocular openings and a pair of standing ear defences, being pierced on the brow for a plume-holder. The upper plate has been fitted with a later shield-shaped escutcheon attached by a nut and bolt; the lower plate is pierced with a central hole near its upper edge for the original escutcheon. Height: 23 in Width: 12 in Weight: 2 lb 12 oz The horse has long been an important servant of man, both for war and sport. Horses trained for specialist functions such as charging through clouds of missiles at noisy lines of well-armed men are expensive commodities whose injury or death can be both costly and deadly to their riders. Therefore, men have long sought to protect the horses they use in battle. Horse armour was in use in the Persian Empire from the 5th century BC onwards and was used thereafter in the eastern Mediterranean. The Romans’ first contact with cavalry using armoured horses seems to have been in 190 BC against horses armoured with mail at the battle of Magnesia fought against the Seleucid King of Syria, Antiochus III, who was seeking to expand his empire westward into Greece. It was not until the reign of Emperor Hadrian (reigned 117-138 AD) that armoured horses became part of the Roman military establishment in order to counter the threat of heavy cavalry from the east. However, the use of horse armour in Europe does not seem to have outlived the end of the Roman Empire since there is no evidence for its use there between the 6th and 12th centuries. It then made a rapid return, first in the form of padded cloth, mail and small overlapping plates and, before the end of the 13th century, consisted of larger plates of hardened leather or metal. Plate armour for horses then remained in use, in varying forms of complexity, until the general decline of armour in the late 16th and early 17th centuries when the power of the gun, firing missiles against which no practical protection was proof, dismissed armour from the battlefield. Throughout Europe, a considerable number of parade shaffrons survive from the late Roman period: they are a reminder that, throughout history, armour has been used not only for practical defence but also as a symbol of the power and prestige of the wearer or owner. Parade shaffrons of leather of the 2nd century AD have, for instance, been excavated from the cavalry fort at Newstead on Hadrian’s Wall in the north of England. Following this, there is then a long gap in the physical evidence, at least in British museum collections, until the massive late 14th-century shaffron from Warwick Castle (now in the Royal Armouries Museum, Leeds, No VI.446), traditionally believed to have been used at the battle of Agincourt in 1415. It is only from the last quarter of the 15th century onwards that shaffrons have survived in any number. Our shaffron belongs to a distinctive group from the Radziwill family armoury at Schloss Nieswiez, in present day Belarus. Shaffrons from this group were made in both large and small sizes, of which the present example is one of the smaller types. Other examples from the group are preserved, for example, in the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, (Inv. No. M2711-1931) and in the


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Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (Inv. No. 27.183.42). There is no maker’s or town mark on our shaffron but others from the same source have the Nuremberg mark and so it is likely that ours, too, was made there. It is in the ‘Maximilian’ style that had its origins in the court of the Emperor Maximilian I (reigned 1493-1519) at Innsbruck about 1505 and that manifests considerable Italian influence. Maximilian had inherited the Duchy of Milan among his many territories and it may well be that this connection played some part in the introduction of Milanese features into the armours made in German-speaking lands. This new fashion, which was characterised by repeated fluting on all major elements, was soon adopted by other German armour producing centres, including those of Augsburg, Landshut and Nuremberg: our helmet, from the armoury of Schloss Grafenegg – which follows this entry – is another fine example of this type of decoration. Although the Radziwills were, and still are, a prominent Polish family, their origins lie in the medieval Duchy of Lithuania. There are several branches of the family, one of which is the Radziwills of Nieswiez, now in modern Belarus. They rose to prominence in the 16th century when they became one of the most important noble families of Poland. Barbara Radziwill (1523-51) married Sigismund August who became King Sigismund II of Poland in 1548. Three of the family were thought worthy of having their armours exhibited in the Hall of Heroes set up in Schloss Ambras by the Archduke Ferdinand of the Tyrol later in the 16th century: Duke Nikolaus III, brother of Queen Barbara (a plain Italian half armour of 1545-51 now in the Hofjagd- und Rüstkammer, Vienna, No. A 1038), Duke Nikolaus IV (a decorated half-armour by Kunz Lochner of about 1555, now in the Hofjagd- und Rüstkammer, Vienna, No. A 1412) and Christopher, Duke of Lithuania, (said in the 1596 inventory of Ambras to be a black half-armour). During the First World War, and with the threat of revolution in Eastern Europe, the Radziwill family moved much of their treasures from their estates at Nieswiez to their town house in Warsaw and many items filtered through to the west, culminating in two large sales at Christie’s on 29th June 1926 and 14th June 1927. This has lead to a number of items from the armoury reaching the major public arms and armour collections of the world. These include an Augsburg armour believed to have been made for Nikolaus VI von Radziwill (1515-67) in the Kienbusch collection (No. 11) at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, elements of an Augsburg tilting armour of about 1525 in the Higgins Armory Museum, Worcester, Massachusetts (No. 2527) and a costume armour by Koloman Helmschmied, divided between the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (Nos. 24.179 and 26.188.1 and 2) and the Musée de l’Armée, Paris, (No. G. 145). There are also several pieces in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, the Glasgow City Museum and Art Gallery and the Royal Armouries, Leeds. A number of objects from the collections were seized by the Bolsheviks but were returned to the Polish state in 1924. Firearms and swords from the Radziwill armoury can be found in the collections of Wawel Castle, Poland. Provenance:

The Armoury of the Princes Radziwill, Nieswiez, Poland.

Literature:

Blair, C., European Armour, (London, 1958), pp. 115-116, 184-186. Thomas, B., ‘Die Polonica der Wiener Waffensammlung’, Jahrbuch der Kunsthistorischen Sammlung in Wien, (Vienna, 1971), Vol. LXVII, pp. 49, 64-65, 100-101, 104.


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13. A Fine German ‘Maximilian’ Close-Helmet circa 1520 The skull formed from one piece of bright steel, incorporating a low, roped comb and embellished with dome-headed rivets for attaching the lining; it is pierced at the back with four pairs of holes, also for attaching the lining, equipped with a button-operated spring catch at the lower right side for securing the bevor and fitted with a ‘bellows’ visor attached to the skull by large, dome-headed pivots chiselled with radiating flutes and having, on its right side, a lifting peg with a domed, writhen finial and a hole for a sprung catch for securing to the bevor. The bevor attached to the skull by the same pivots as the visor with, on the upper right side, a button-operated spring catch to attach it to the visor and on the lower right side a hole for the spring catch to attach it to the skull; it has dome-headed lining rivets matching those on the skull and at the bottom is flanged to form the front of the neck-guard; around the opening for the face is a roped turn. The rear neck guard is attached to the back of the skull and is constructed of four articulating plates; there is one pair of holes matching those on the skull for the attachment of a lining. Both front and rear neck guards have roped and lowered borders to the lower edges. The skull and neck guards are decorated with fluting, split into two panels on either side of the medial line by a broader valley between the ridges. Height: 11 in Width: 9 in Weight: 6 lb 2 oz The ‘Maximilian’ fashion in armour had its origins at the court of the Emperor Maximilian I (reigned 1493-1519) in Innsbruck about 1505: it was certainly established by 1508, when a woodcut by Hans Burgkmair showed the Emperor wearing an armour of this type. The style was a considerable change from the slender angularity of the preceding Germanic ‘Gothic’ style and demonstrated considerable Italian influence. Maximilian had inherited the Duchy of Milan among his many territories in 1493 and it may well be that this connection played some part in the introduction of Milanese features into the armours made in the German-speaking lands. This new style, which was characterised by repeated fluting on all major elements, was soon adopted by several Germanic armour-producing centres, including those of Augsburg, Landshut and Nuremberg. Initially, the fluting that characterised this style was arranged in widely spaced groups, in imitation either of the pleating found on contemporary costume or the fluting of Gothic armours but by about 1510 it had developed into a continuous series of ridges and grooves, as on our fine helmet, that were often arranged in groups covering, and thus emphasising the contours of, almost every surface of the armour. Generally, the narrower and more closely packed the fluting, the later the armour was made. The fluting of the surface of the armour also had the very important effect of strengthening it. Although, since the 19th century, this style has been associated with the Emperor Maximilian there is no evidence to suggest that the Emperor himself was in any way responsible for the development of this form of armour, despite his known close interest in the making of armour. It was, however, very popular at his court and there is a distinct possibility that this lovely helmet originated at the court of the Emperor Maximilian I, or at that of his son, Charles V, (reigned 1519-56). Its traditional association with the Imperial Court was first noted when our helmet was sold by auction in 1973: From Schloss Grafenegg and doubtless originating from the Imperial armoury.


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The castle of Grafenegg is situated near Krems-an-der-Donau in lower Austria, some forty miles west of Vienna. There has been a castle on the site since the late 13th century but what remains today is a 17th-century building, largely rebuilt in the neo-Gothic style in the 19th century by August Ferdinand, Count Breuner. The ownership of the castle frequently changed over the centuries. At one time it was in the possession of the Emperor Ferdinand IV, father of Maximilian, and this connection may have given rise to the tradition that the armour came from the Imperial court. It may, though, have been collected in the 19th century by Count Breuner to decorate his elegant new Gothic home. At the time of the sale of the armoury by Galerie Fischer, in Luzern on 2nd September 1933 and in Zurich on 2nd May 1934, Schloss Grafenegg was owned by Viktor, Duke of Ratibor. Our helmet is clearly shown in the photograph of lot 89 in the second part of the sale of the armoury of Schloss Grafenegg in Zurich in 1934: at the time, it formed part of a complete, but composite, Maximilian armour. Provenance:

By tradition: the Austrian Imperial Collection. The Armoury of Schloss Grafenegg. Galerie Fischer, Zurich, 2nd May 1934, Lot 89, as part of a composite armour. Galerie Fischer, Luzern, 4th July 1973, Lot 41. Christie’s, London, 12th December 1997, Lot 296.

Literature:

Blair, C., European Armour, (London, 1958), pp. 115-116. Grancsay, S., ‘Maximilian Armour’, Arms & Armor: Essays by Stephen V Grancsay from the Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 1920-1964, (New York, 1986), pp. 22-24.


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14. An Impressive and Massive Iron Casket for Jewellery or Bullion Nuremburg circa 1550 In the form of a large, rectangular box, with two handles, supported on four ball feet. Composed of six flat iron panels, the largest four forming the top, bottom, front and back and the smaller two the ends. Strengthened all round with iron straps fixed to the edges and surface of the chest with cone-headed iron rivets and, in the centres of the bottom, front and back, with internal iron straps similarly attached. Four iron bun-shaped feet, each reinforced with a belt of half-round section and terminating in a sphere. The lid attached with two iron hinges and containing the complex lock mechanism, accessed with a key, the hole for which is concealed beneath a movable strap running across the centre of the top of the lid. Two hinging, C-shaped, iron carrying handles at either end, each forged with a knop-and-doubleogee in the centre and attached to the casket through iron rings. Decorated over all the outside surfaces with etched panels, two to the top, front and back and one to either end, within foliate borders and enclosing, upon floral grounds, eight depictions of late 16th-century infantry soldiers, comprising two musketeers, two officers – one of pikemen and one of musketeers – with leading staffs, two halberdiers, one soldier with a partisan and one officer armed only with a sword. The complex lock mechanism inside the lid – which throws twelve bolts across at the turn of the key, two at either end and four at the front and back – set upon a partly blued foliate ground and contained beneath two large panels pierced decoratively with two pairs of depictions of grotesque monsters and four scallop-edged plates partly blued with the same foliate ground as beneath the lock mechanism; the springs operating the bolts terminate in flat formalised leaves. Height: 13 in Width: 22 N in Depth: 14 in Weight: 50 lb 4 oz It is some time since we were last able to offer an exceptional South German chest or casket in one of our catalogues, the last being offered in our 1999 catalogue, Item No. 22. Never before, however, have we been able to offer one of such great size of this period: it throws twelve great bolts across to secure the lid. Our casket exhibits many similarities with several other recorded caskets, particularly one, clearly from the same Nuremburg workshop, that is currently on display in the Ironwork Gallery of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London (No. 744-1893): this has very similar etched ornament and figures set within virtually identical scrolling foliage. Other smaller caskets have been ascribed to the Nuremberg workshops of Michael or Conradt Mann. These masters were working in Nuremberg in the early 17th century but all their known boxes, some of which are signed and some dated, are smaller than ours. The panelled decoration on our casket is similar in content to several recorded caskets from the Mann workshops, notably the example that we sold in 1999 and two examples at Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire (Nos. 225 and 226, the latter of which is dated 1613). A principal difference between our casket and the caskets noted above is that the decoration etched upon the surfaces of ours depicts only soldiers: there are no women, no animals and no hunting scenes. This deliberate avoidance of whimsy or of the agreeable aspects of civilian life, together with the chest’s massive size, must imply that our chest was intended to fulfil the function


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of a military pay chest and was probably commissioned for a regimental captain or colonel either to contain the company or regimental funds for which he would have been responsible or to commemorate appropriately his military service. The large size of the chest, as well as its evocative decorative detail, suggests that it was intended to be displayed as well as used: it would probably have taken pride of place on a table in a principal room in the house of the soldier who commissioned it. A curious anomaly in the decoration should be noted: the officer armed only with a sword, depicted in the etched panel on the right side of the back of the chest, appears to be left-handed – that is to say that he is depicted carrying his sword on his right hip. This is not unusual in such depictions: indeed, it was present in one of the figures engraved upon the lid of the casket that we sold in 1999 and can very easily be explained. The depictions of soldiers finely etched into the surfaces of our chest will either have adapted or copied from engravings or woodcuts of the period and these were frequently ‘reversed’ in their manufacturing process; additionally, one should not necessarily expect craftsmen unused to military ways to be at all familiar with how weapons are carried or used. The depictions of the soldiers, typical of illustrations of pikemen and musketeers of their period, are an important record of the appearance of the European infantryman of the late 16th century. It was soldiers such as these who fought the great Continental wars from the late 16th century and for the following hundred years; it was soldiers dressed and armed as these on our chest are who accompanied British, Spanish and French settlers across the Atlantic to found the colonies in the Americas at just the time that our chest was commissioned. Literature:

Blair, C., The James A. de Rothschild collection at Waddesdon Manor; Arms, Armour and Base Metalwork (London, 1974), pp. 483-487. Berger, E., Prunk Kassetten (Graz, 1998), no. 75.


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15. A Very Fine and Rare Scottish ‘Lowland’ Two-Handed Sword circa 1550 The hilt comprising an egg-shaped, octagonal iron pommel and elaborate, arched crossguard roughly circular in section, with incised decoration and sharply down-turned tips terminating in hemispherical knobs, its central section featuring extended langets over both faces of the blade and large, open side-rings of circular section, each incised with three faint parallel lines on their inner faces above the langets; the long, tapering double-edged blade of flattened lozenge section, retaining faint traces of an inscribed ‘running wolf’ type of mark, with an extremely long, slender tang widening gradually towards the blade. Overall length: 55 I in Blade length: 40 B in Crossguard width: 13 I in From its beginnings in the High Middle Ages, the European two-handed sword had reached the zenith of its development by the mid-16th century with the evolution of a number of regional styles. Of these, perhaps the best known is the Beidhänder or Zweihänder of the German-speaking lands, with its elegant side-rings and characteristic blade-lugs known as parierhaken, or ‘parrying hooks’. Contemporary with this, and no less distinctive, are the regional Scottish types: the wellknown highland ‘claymore’ and the rarer ‘lowland’ sword exemplified by this fine piece. While the origins of the highland claymore can be traced back to a local form of hand-and-a-half sword from the previous century, the lowland form of ‘twa handit swerd’ shows much Continental and English influence in its appearance, such as in the developed side-rings of the crossguard. In fact, the only truly ‘Scottish’ elements of these swords are the slender langets that extend over the blade from the hilt: these are present on the majority of surviving examples. The crossguards of these lowland swords are of a fairly uniform style, being long, slender and usually circular in section, as are the side-rings, with the tips being bent sharply downwards and often featuring small hemispherical knobs. Many examples have crossguards that slope gently downwards, as here, although none are as steeply sloping as those seen upon the highland claymores and their predecessors. Pommels are found in a variety of forms, with globular types occurring frequently. The faceted ‘egg-shaped’ pommel of our sword is particularly attractive and this is a style that can be seen on many diverse swords from the medieval period onwards. The gracefully tapering blade of our sword is designed specifically for cleaving lightly armoured foes: it is reasonably flexible and has a flattened oval or lozenge cross-section. Although obscured by wear, the remains of a ‘running wolf’ type of maker’s mark is visible on the blade: this implies that it was probably imported from continental Europe before being fitted with its hilt components in Scotland. In addition, another faint mark of three parallel lines may be seen upon the inside faces of the side-rings; this is similar to an armourer’s batch mark and may well be the mark of the lowland sword cutler who fashioned the hilt. In size, these big ‘lowland’ swords also had more in common with the European types of twohanded sword than with the highland claymores, which were often of smaller proportions. Some ‘lowland’ examples exceed six feet overall, although the dimensions of the present sword are probably more indicative of the group as a whole. In spite of its size, our example is neither clumsy


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nor particularly heavy: some may be surprised to learn that it weights less than five pounds. Its well-made, twohanded grip assisted its handling and meant that it could have been wielded with dexterity by a strong individual: this, combined with its length, meant that the swordsman could easily outreach an opponent armed with a shorter weapon. The Germans and Swiss are known to have used their Beidhänder for guarding their banners on the battlefield: it is possible that these Scottish variants were put to similar important uses, such as in the defence of town and castle walls or gates. In view of lowland Scotland’s links with continental Europe, it was inevitable that European military tactics would eventually influence its armies to some extent. As in England, lowland Scottish armies were reasonably quick to adopt the use of firearms, including their local manufacture as the 16th century progressed. As tactics changed, these large two-handed swords were gradually phased out of use but there was another stage in their development still to come: towards the end of the 16th century a variant form emerged. Generally of smaller proportions by comparison with the earlier types, this variant had two large, solid, clamshell-like guards that curve upwards to protect the hand in place of the earlier ring-guards: these lasted until, perhaps, the end of the reign of James VI & I (1627). Two of these ‘clamshell’ two-handed swords were offered in our 1995 catalogue, Items No. 176 and 177. Many Scottish two-handed swords, because of their impressive appearance, ended their days as ‘bearing’ swords for processional or ceremonial duties. Some have been preserved for centuries in the great houses of Scottish families and the good condition of our fine sword implies that it has been looked after in this way. Literature:

Caldwell, D.H., ‘Claymores – The TwoHanded Swords of the Scottish Highlanders’. Park Lane Arms Fair Catalogue, No. 22 (Spring 2005), pp. 47-53. Willis, T., ‘Scottish “twa handit Swerdis”’, Park Lane Arms Fair Catalogue, No. 13 (1996), pp. 12-25.


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16. A Rare and Unusual German Close Helmet of Burgonet form circa 1550 With a one-piece skull incorporating a very low comb, having residual medial roping and a row of lining rivets running round close to the lower edge; there is a simple gorget plate at the lower rear. Instead of a visor there is a pivoting fall or peak that rests on a peg on the left side just above the brow when lowered: this has a double recessed lined border to the peak itself and a downward cusp in the centre of the upper edge. The bevor with two articulated gorget plates attached to the lower flange having, on either side, rosettes of eight breath holes encircling a central one. The bevor attached to the skull by visor pivots and by sprung pierced pegs operated by a button and hook on the right side and by rivets and key-hole slots on the gorget plates. When free it turns on the visor pivots. With a falling buffe or Hungarian visor (Ungarisches Visier) of two lames, with pronounced medial ridge, attached to the bevor by split pins through a pierced stud on either side, both lames being pierced with rows of diagonally set double key-holes as breaths, the upper one having four long breath slots with rounded ends; either side of the medial ridge the lower edges of both lames are decorated with cusping. Height: 13 in Width: 10 in Weight: 7 lb 8 oz This is a fine example of a small group of close helmets of ‘burgonet’ form that first appeared in about 1520 and continued to be made for just over a century thereafter. This form seems to have been especially popular in the German-speaking lands but was also made occasionally in northwestern Europe. They are often referred to as ‘closed burgonets’ but are probably better characterised as close helmets with a fall or falling buffe instead of a visor and upper bevor. Two examples, of differing dates, can be found in the Wallace Collection, London. The early example (No. A181) was made by Hans Ringler in Nuremberg in about 1535; the later one (No. A184) was made in about 1630 either in France or Flanders. The low comb on our helmet would normally imply that it was made either at the very end of the 16th century or at the very beginning of the 17th century. However, the shape of the comb and skull of our helmet is also remarkably similar to that on the close helmet of burgonet form belonging to the so-called ‘Giant’s’ armour in the Tower of London: this dates from about 1540 (Royal Armouries No. II.22). This helmet is clearly of north German manufacture: for years there has been speculation that it may have been made in Brunswick. In a cartouche in the centre of the backplate are etched the letters AB: these are believed to be the initials of the decorator and it has been suggested that these might belong to Bonaventura Abt, a painter working in Brunswick from 1525 to 1552 who is known to have decorated at least one armour in 1535. If the attribution of the ‘Giant’s’ armour is correct, there is reason to believe that our helmet, which comes from the historic collections of the Dukes of Brunswick, may also have been made in Brunswick in the mid-16th century. However, this is by no means certain since the use of double-ended key-hole breath slots set on the diagonal and the cusping of the lower edges of the buffe lames are both features also found on armours made in the middle of the 16th century in Innsbruck. The double key-hole slots on the diagonal are found, for instance, on the following helmets: on the upper


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bevor of a close helmet made by Jörg Seusenhofer of Innsbruck in the Philadelphia Museum of Art (No. 1977.167.89), on a close helmet attributed by Scalini to Innsbruck and dating from about 1550 in the Wallace Collection, London (No. A.163) and on both the upper bevor and brow of a close helmet for foot combat by Jacob Topf of Innsbruck dated to 1582 in the Bayerisches Nationalmuseum, Munich (No. W.10). Identical cusping to the lower edges of the buffe lames can be seen on the burgonet associated with a three-quarter armour of Innsbruck manufacture belonging to Magnus Wertz and dated to 1553, in the von Enzelberg collection, Tratzberg. It should also be pointed out that the double key-hole slots set on the diagonal are not uniquely an Innsbruck feature. Both Sir James Mann and Vesey Norman believed that the Wallace Collection close helmet mentioned above was made not in Innsbruck but in Nuremberg, Norman believing it to have been made by an armourer influenced by Valentine Siebenbürger. Also in the Wallace Collection is a close helmet for field use, said to be of Augsburg manufacture, that has diagonally set double key-hole slots on its upper bevor (associated with the composite armour A.46). The low skull found on our helmet, and on the ‘Giant’s’ armour mentioned above, can also be found on burgonets belonging to a number of armours that are generally regarded as being of German manufacture between 1540 and 1550. These include two in the Wallace Collection, London (Nos. A.33 and A.40), the latter of which, a black-and-white three-quarter armour, Sir James Mann suggested was made in Nuremberg. While these examples help to confirm that our close burgonet dates from the mid-16th century, all that can be said with certainty of its origin is that it was made somewhere in the German-speaking lands. The helmet is known to have been at Schloss Marienburg where much of the historic collections of the Dukes of Brunswick were brought after 1945, the details of which can be found within ‘A History of the Brunswick Collection’ at the front of this catalogue.


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Provenance:

Historic Collections of the Dukes of Brunswick at Schloss Marienburg.

Literature:

Blair, C., European Armour, (London, 1958), pp 136-138. Dufty, A.R., and Reid, W., European Armour in the Tower of London, (London, 1968), Pl. XXIV. Mann, Sir J., Wallace Collection Catalogues: European Arms and Armour, (London, 1962), Vol. I, pp. 38-39, 47-48, 54-55, 134-135, 145-146. Norman, A.V.B., Wallace Collection Catalogues: European Arms and Armour Supplement, (London, 1986), pp. 60-61, 67-68.


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17. A North German Three-Quarter Field Armour Brunswick circa 1560 The close helmet with a one-piece skull rising to a medial comb, its forward-sloping visor lifted by a cord on the top right side and pierced beneath a stepped and centrally divided vision-slit with twelve diamond-shaped ventilation holes arranged in two rows. The upper bevor is prow-shaped and pierced with six rectangular ventilation holes set diagonally in a single row and secured by a spring catch to the plain bevor; the bevor, upper bevor and visor attached to the skull by common pivots. Attached to the back of the skull and to the bevor are two gorget plates, the lower ones formed to simulate two lames. The collar of four lames front and rear, the lower ones wide and with a roped lower border, one hinged to the left and secured to the right by studs and key-holes. The breastplate having a prominent forward projection over the belly, movable gussets at the arms and a pierced stud for the attachment of a buffe at the centre of the neck opening; it is decorated at the neck with an engraved pendant cord; attached to the waist is a fauld of three lames cut with a shallow arch at the centre of its lower edge. The backplate formed in one piece with a culet of one lame. The pauldrons symmetrical, narrow-fronted and each of six lames, the second from the top having a right-angle turned edge to act as a haute piece. The vambraces tubular, each with a turner and independent one-piece bracelet couter. The long tassets formed of seven lames, each tasset suspended from the fauld by three straps; the lowest lame deep and the tassets separable between the fourth and fifth lames which are attached to each other by two pierced pegs and pivoting hooks. The mitten gauntlets each have a flared and slightly pointed cuff, five metacarpal-plates, an embossed knuckle-plate, five shaped fingerplates and a scaled thumb-defence of four lames. All the main plates are decorated with roped edges and a double recessed line border, in some cases centrally cusped, and all have rivets with the distinctive brass rosette washers that are found on Brunswick armours. Height including plinth: 79 in Weight: 51 lb 8 oz This fine field armour was made to equip a soldier of the army of either Duke Heinrich IV of Brunswick-Wolfenb端ttel (reigned 1514-68) or his son, Julius (reigned 1568-89). It was made by one of the armourers working in Brunswick where the craft had been practised since at least the beginning of the 14th century and where, by the time of Duke Heinrich, Brunswick armourers had achieved an international reputation. In 1554, for example, a Swedish official, Thomas Fastenaw, ordered from the Brunswick armourer Claus Oldenkorn 10 complete armours, 30 light field armours, 30 armours for men and 110 plain saddles. In 1563, Jacob, Archbishop of Reuss, Imperial Legate to Poland, sent a negotiator to Brunswick to attempt to buy armour for service against the Duke of Moscow. However, despite these foreign orders, there can be no doubt that the chief market of the Brunswick armourers must inevitably have been the armouries and arsenals of Lower Saxony and in particular that of Wolfenb端ttel, where the Dukes of Brunswick-Wolfenb端ttel had their court. In 1570 Duke Julius ordered 200 armours from the Brunswick armourer Assmus Leubhard and by


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1571 this order had been increased to 1,000 armours. Leubhard was given two years to fulfil the contract and allowed to sub-contract a portion of the work to Heinrich Amman, Jurgen Kranewitter and Silvester Schmidt. A number of Brunswick field armours of this general type are known from the historic collections of the former Dukes of Brunswick, in related collections such as the Brunswick Landesmuseum and, following some disposals from the historic collections in the second half of the 19th century, in other collections too. They are all chiefly characterised by their high quality and great versatility, as is ours. These well-made armours were not constructed for one specialist purpose only but, instead, were made in such a way that they could be assembled in different styles, using a variety of component parts, for use by different types of soldier. Two of this type, one white and the other black-and-white, were offered by us in our 2003 catalogue, Items No. 20 and 21: these could, with the addition of a burgonet, be made to serve for use not only by heavy, medium and light cavalry but also by infantry. Our fine field armour is intended for more specialised use than the completely versatile armours that were its contemporaries. It has not been equipped to accommodate the lance rest that would have made it suitable for heavy cavalry use but it does have the pierced stud for the attachment of a buffe that, when used with a burgonet, would have fitted it for use by light cavalry; it also has the removable lower tassets that would enable it to be converted for infantry use. The motif of the engraved cord apparently pendant from the neck of the breastplate occurs on at least one other of this group of armours – the very similar harness described by Bohlmann as armour number 12 in his survey of the ducal collections at Schloss Blankenburg in 1915. That harness also has the unusual small haute-pieces on each pauldron that are found on our armour.


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Provenance:

Historic Collections of the Dukes of Brunswick successively at Schloss Blankenburg and Schloss Marienburg.

Literature:

Bohlmann, R., ‘Die Braunschweigischen Waffen aus Schloss Blankenburg am Harz, Zeitschrift für Historische Waffen- und Kostümkunde, Vol. VI, No.10, (1915), p. 351, fig. 36. Exhibition catalogue, Stadt im Wandel: Kunst und Kultur des Bürgertums in Norddeutschland 1150-1650, (Stuttgart, 1985), Vol. II, pp. 1,091-1,092.


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18. An Exceptionally Fine Important and Unusually Large German Three-Quarter Field Armour probably made for Heinrich I Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenb端ttel Brunswick circa 1560 The close helmet comprising a one-piece skull rising to a high, roped medial comb with a plume holder attached at the nape of the neck; the forward-sloping visor pierced on both sides beneath a stepped and centrally divided vision-slit with two rows of addorsed key-hole vision slits; the upper bevor prow-shaped and pierced on both sides with a rosette of key-hole slots, those on the right side double-ended, around a pierced cross; the bevor plain. The visor and bevors attach to the skull by common pivots and are secured on the right side by spring catches; the catch securing the visor to the bevor operated by pulling a leather thong, the catch securing the bevor to the skull has a push-button spring catch; attached to the neck flange of the skull and the bevor are two gorget plates. The associated gorget with medial ridge consisting of a neck plate and two lower lames articulating on leathers and secured by a keyhole and stud on the right shoulder, the bottom lame deep. Each shoulder has a hinged and pivoted sprung stud for the attachment of the spaudlers. The breastplate has a prominent forward projection over the belly, moveable gussets at the arm openings, a pair of holes on the right for the attachment of a lance rest, buckles at the shoulder for the attachment of the backplate and a single fauld plate attached at the waist. A pierced stud on either side allows the attachment of two additional fauld lames by means of a pivoted hook; the lower of these lames takes the leathers that secure the tassets. The back plate formed in one piece with a single culet plate attached to the waist; to it have been added small, plain side plates beneath each shoulder, perhaps to accommodate a growth in size of the original owner. The tassets long, in two pieces and of nine lames separable between the fourth and fifth lames, the top lame of each having three metal buckles for attachment to the fauld; the lames articulate on sliding rivets and leathers and each section ends with a recessed and roped border; they terminate in detachable poleyns consisting of winged knee cops with one pivoting lame beneath and three lames above, articulating on sliding rivets and leathers. Four-lame spaudlers to protect the upper arms, the vambraces with big elbow pieces and lower cannons that hinge on the inside and are secured on the outside by a peg and hole. The mitten gauntlets each consist of a long cuff plate, five articulated lames, a raised and roped knuckle plate, five finger lames and, attached to the last lame above the knuckle plate by a pivoting hinge, a four-lame thumb defence. On the outside of each cuff and on the upper thumb plate is a raised and roped area. The armour is decorated with roped turns and finely etched bands together with recessed borders of foliate and fruit scrolls on a blackened and stippled ground involving individual human, animal and mythical figures, scenes with more than one figure, trophies and hunting scenes. On the helmet appear men hunting rabbits and boar with dogs and spears,


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men and dogs chasing rabbits into nets, naturalistic birds, a central cartouche with three plain shields, a winged orb, a grotesque mask, a winged cherub’s head, a sheep’s head and a cornucopia. On the breastplate appear, in the upper panel with an ogee lower edge, a central rampant lion surrounded by trophies of arms, martial figures dressed as landsknechts, an heraldic horse’s head and a rampant lion; in the central panel, a warrior with a club, probably Hercules, standing on a winged orb; in each of the side panels, a winged and helmeted figure emerging from, or partly formed of, foliage. On the backplate appear, in the upper panel with an ogee lower border, a central double-headed eagle surrounded by martial figures, musical trophies and a trophy of arms; in the central vertical panel a naked male figure fighting a lion, probably representing Hercules fighting and rending the Nemean lion; on each side panel, a triton playing a pipe. On the gauntlets appear winged hearts, foliage and dragons. On the gorget appear hunting dogs, deer, foxes and a lion, satyrs blowing horns, a sphinx, a vase, birds, including a wader; in the centre rear, naked, seated male figures capped with potted foliage, winged cherub’s heads, a winged heart pierced with an arrow and grotesque bearded masks. On the arm defences appear foliate figures including tritons, heads, scrolls with grotesque head finials, fruit and cornucopias. On the opposing tassets appear, right, a small, near-naked male figure in the act of slinging, representing David, and, left, a tall, armoured man with a club, representing Goliath; the tassets are also decorated with winged naked figures with dogs and two dwarves, one armed with a bow and arrow and the other with a sword and spear. On one bottom lame of the right upper tasset appears a skull and bone. In addition, the main borders are highlighted by a recessed band running parallel to the edge a little way back from it. This band is differently decorated on different elements of the armour. On the helmet and pauldrons it is ornamented with repeated pellets, sometimes with a line on one side and sometimes not. On the breastplate, backplate and tassets it is decorated with rope-work: this rope-work also appears on the gorget, but only on the bottom of the front central band. The armour is complemented by a thigh-length European mail shirt of the same period as the armour, made of riveted links, the front being split centrally at the neck and fork. Height including plinth: 83 in Weight: 54 lb 2 oz Our exceptionally fine, beautiful and large armour comes from the historic collections of the Dukes of Brunswick and has been kept successively at Schloss Blankenburg and Schloss Marienburg, as detailed in ‘A History of the Brunswick Collection’ at the front of this catalogue. Its major elements were shown and catalogued as number 17 in the exhibition of items lent by HRH The Duke of Brunswick to the Tower of London at the time of the Festival of Britain and the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1952-53. In that exhibition, it was shown with a different gorget, or almain collar, that was described as being ‘much defaced’ and with a cod-piece, described as having etching of ‘very much higher quality’ than some of the other elements of the armour: this may well be the one offered next in this catalogue. The re-organising, or rationalising, of armours into supposedly ‘complete suits’ has always been very common and has certainly been a feature of the history of the collections of the Dukes of Brunswick: it has been suggested that the various historic armours were already mixed by the time of the first known disposal from the collection in 1868. When Robert Bohlmann catalogued and described the ducal collections at Schloss Blankenburg in 1915, he recognised that the armours, as then mounted,


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were somewhat mixed: at times, he seems to have become confused himself and this has added to subsequent confusion. In the case of our armour, he described it as harness number 5, saying of it that it is a superbly beautiful example of the art of the armourer. The arm defences that were associated with it at that time are different from those now with it and were said by Bohlmann to come from another, smaller, armour. The helmet that now accompanies our armour appears to be that shown with it by Bohlmann in figure 16 of his survey of the contents of the armoury of Schloss Blankenburg but this helmet is also illustrated on its own, as figure 24, where it is captioned as belonging to harness number 7, and it is with this armour that it is described in the text. Figure 18 shows another helmet decorated with narrow bands of strapwork and it is this that is wrongly captioned as belonging to our armour, number 5. In the text, Bohlmann does not describe the helmet of this armour but simply says that it belongs to another armour of the same period. What this may suggest is that our helmet has been associated, however tentatively, with our other major elements for almost a century at least. The arm defences, gauntlets and gorget, all from the ducal collection, have become associated more recently. The catalogue of the Tower exhibition shows conclusively that the present gorget has been associated since 1953; the statement by the cataloguer that the vambraces are not a pair suggests that at least one of the arm defences has also been more recently associated. It is only the Tower exhibition catalogue that mentions an accompanying cod-piece: no cod-piece was associated with the armour when it was photographed for Bohlmann’s 1915 survey of the arms and armour at Schloss Blankenburg. Whatever the history of their association, all the elements that now comprise this armour belong to one period, one workshop and one group of highly distinct armours. It appears most likely that the breast, back and legs form the core of an original armour, with which the helmet, arm defences, gauntlets and gorget have been associated. Armours of this general type were made for a number of the courts of the central and northern German-speaking lands, including Saxony, Schleswig-Holstein and Hesse as well as Brunswick. They are characterised both by their form, especially the pronounced forward projection of the breastplate over the belly, and by their decoration involving grotesque ornament and fine, densely pictorial and figural scenes deriving from The Bible, ancient history and classical mythology, all rendered in the Mannerist style. The majority of the armours were made for the court of the Dukes of Brunswick-Wolfenbßttel, Heinrich I (reigned 1514-68) and his son Julius (reigned 156889) and, although the location of the workshop has not yet been definitely ascertained, it is widely accepted that these armours were made in Brunswick where the craft had been practised since at least the beginning of the 14th century. With its proximity to the iron ores of the Harz Mountains, Brunswick had long been an important centre for iron working. During the reign of Duke Julius the armourers of the city rose to particular prominence. Samuel Kriechel, writing of his visit to Brunswick in 1585, noted that in the city, many arms and armours are made, such as defensive armours and similar things like bits, stirrups and spurs. Some sense of the high standing of the armourers’ craft within the city may be judged from the fact that, in 1566, the Painters and Etchers of Brunswick noted in one of their ordinances that among other things that could be accepted as a masterpiece was a, heavy field armour (Curitz) or light field armour (Drabharnisch) etched. None of this group of armours is signed or marked and the ducal account books prior to 1568 are unfortunately very incomplete, so nothing is known for certain about who made them. Foremost among the Brunswick armourers of the 16th century were members of the


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Gabriel family, among whom Claus Gabriel the Younger (recorded 1551 to 1596 and for a while Mayor of the city) and Wulf Gabriel (who married in 1560, was appointed Ducal Armourer in the arsenal at Wolfenbüttel and died in 1581) could conceivably have been the makers of some or all of these armours. Within this overall group of armours is a sub-group of so-called ‘wedding’ armours that have, until recently, been believed to have been made for the wedding of Duke Julius of BrunswickWolfenbüttel to his niece Hedwig, daughter of Joachim II, Elector of Brandenburg: this event took place in Berlin on 25th February 1560. Of the twenty-two known examples, eight were recorded by Robert Bohlmann among the collection of the Dukes of Brunswick in Schloss Marienburg, Lower Saxony; of the remaining fourteen, two are now in the Philadelphia Museum of Art (Nos. 1977.167.19 & 20) and one is in each of the following collections: the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (No. 14.25.711), the Higgins Armory Museum, Worcester, Massachusetts (No. JWHA 935), the State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg (No. I.78), the State Historical Museum, Moscow (formerly Musée de l’Armée, Paris, No. G.53), the Musée des Arts Decoratifs, Paris, and the collection of HM The Queen at Windsor Castle (No. 111). Another was offered by us in our 2003 catalogue, Item No. 22. The common element in the decoration of these armours is the representation of Daniel in the lion’s den (Daniel 6, 16-24), enclosed within an inscribed circular or quatrefoil border and usually accompanied by a crowned heart flanked by clasped hands and the initials H and I. It was these initials that prompted the long-held belief that these exceptional armours were made for the festivities associated with Duke Julius’s marriage, the initials being interpreted as representing the wedded couple – H for Hedwig and I for Iulius (Julius). A recent reappraisal of the evidence, however, has shown that this cannot be the case since some of the group are dated several years after the wedding. This has led to the suggestion that the initials H and I should be taken to refer to Herzog Iulius (Duke Julius), rather than to Hedwig and Julius, while the devices of the crowned heart and clasped hands should be interpreted as having a spiritual rather than a romantic significance. This interpretation certainly fits well, both with what is known of Julius’s character and with the detail of much of the decorative scheme of these armours, which have, around the border of the representation of Daniel in the lion’s den, various versions of the pious inscription, Oh God, protect no more than my body, soul, property and honour. Julius was the third son of Duke Heinrich I and had been born with a deformity of the feet. Had it not been for the death of his two elder brothers in the battle of Sieverhausen in 1553 he would not have succeeded to the dukedom. Because he was the junior son, and because of his disability, he gravitated towards an academic and religious career – a dangerous choice during the ferment of the Reformation. He studied first in Bourges and then in Löwen before taking up a post in Cologne Cathedral in 1542. Eleven years later, in 1553, the year that was to change his life dramatically, he was appointed as postulate Bishop of Minden. When he eventually succeeded to his father’s title in 1568, he proved himself to be a capable and cultivated ruler. Julius was certainly the sort of man who would have appreciated the religious imagery and inscriptions that appear on these ‘wedding’ armours: the clasped hands, for example, can be seen as representing true friendship, and the crowned heart, faith or heavenly love. Whether or not the devices of the crowned heart and clasped hands represent earthly or religious love they fit with the varied and eclectic decoration of these ‘wedding’ armours in which are mixed religious, biblical, classical, heraldic and sporting subjects. Indeed, all contemporary human life


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seems to be present. This amazing and vital diversity of subject matter seems, also, to be based on the graphic works of a wide range of artists, including Cornelius Bos of Antwerp, Cornelius Floris (1514-72/5) and Virgil Solis the Elder (1514-62). This diversity of subject matter, together with the virtuosity of the craftsmanship, is typical of the larger group of armours to which the ‘wedding’ sub-group belongs, our exceptional armour being one of the larger group. All that the armours in the larger group lack are the initials of the happy couple, or of Julius as Duke, whichever is correct, and the religious inscriptions that are found on the ‘wedding’ armours. The larger group of armours includes at least one dated example, an armour dated 1564 in the Philadelphia Museum of Art (No. 1977.167.22). Because of their constructional form and the quality, style and subject matter of their decoration there can be no doubt that all the armours of this larger group, including our example described here, were made at the same time and the same place as the ‘wedding’ armours. The core of the present armour is the cuirass and legs. If there is a coherence to the decorative scheme that might suggest more about the armour’s origins, it should be found here. Two things are apparent. First, heraldry is given precedence. In the middle of the decorated panel at the top of the breastplate is the rampant lion of Brunswick; in the same position on the backplate is the Imperial eagle. To the left of this panel on the breastplate is a horse’s head and neck emerging from a circular shield: this may represent Hanover. In the same position on the backplate is a pair of vambraces above a circular shield: this is probably an unidentified personal emblem or device. Second, the decoration deals with war, conflict and struggle in which martial and armed figures predominate and religion takes second place to war and combat. Thus, even where biblical figures appear, on the tassets, they are David and Goliath: David with his sling ready to slay the enemy warrior. The tassets also carry the memento mori of the skull and bone – the reminder to martial warriors that death is the only certain end. Finally, unlike on the ‘wedding’ armours, when a man appears with a lion, on the central panel of the backplate, it is not Daniel in the lion’s den, but Hercules fighting the Nemean lion: a symbol of heroic and successful struggle against the odds. The pose found on this armour, where a man fights a lion that is standing on its back legs with its front legs around the man, seems to be restricted to portrayals of Hercules and the Nemean lion. While the source of the illustration of this decoration on our armour has not yet been identified, two bronzes are recorded that capture this exact pose: they were sculpted in the workshop of Giambologna (1529-1608), one being cast by Antonio Susini (1572-1624), who collaborated with Giambologna and cast many of his sculptures in his family foundry. The armoured figure wielding a club in the central panel of the breastplate also represents Hercules. There are lion’s heads on his poleyns and, almost certainly a lion’s head mask on his helmet, allusions to his feat of slaying a lion. Hercules is frequently shown with a club killing a lion in Renaissance sculpture. He appears with a club, for instance: on a bas-relief by Riccio in the Kaiser-Freidrich Museum, Berlin; on a woodcut in Christine de Pisan, Les Cents Histoires des Troyes – L’ Epistre d’Othea Decesse de Prudence (Paris circa 1499/1500); on an early 16th-century Touraine tapestry in the Musée des Arts Decoratifs, Paris and in a late 15th-century Italian drawing in the Bodleian Library, Oxford (Can Misc 46 f 107).


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'Wild Boar Hunt'. Engraved by Virgil Solis the Elder, c. 1550. British Museum, London (1837,0616.58.) Reproduced by kind permission of the Trustees of the British Museum

The helmet of our armour, which has different decoration to that on the recessed band that runs parallel to the main edges of the cuirass and legs, is almost certainly not the helmet originally supplied with most of the rest of the armour. Its decoration is dominated by scenes of hunting boar and either hare or rabbit that are clearly drawn from the engravings of Virgil Solis the Elder, who was active until his death in 1562 and who inspired a considerable amount of sporting decoration on arms and armour. This scheme of decoration is by no means unique to our helmet: very similar decoration appears on the skull of the burgonet of a Brunswick black and white halfarmour in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (No. 14.25.711) and on another of the helmets from the collection of the Dukes of Brunswick at Schloss Blankenburg that was illustrated and described by Robert Bohlmann in 1915 as belonging to what he numbered as armour 9 (Fig. 31 in his survey). There is one element of the decoration of the burgonet in the Metropolitan Museum that has been lifted directly from an engraving by the Nuremburg artist Virgil Solis the Elder. This, illustrated above, shows a hunter with a spear, facing to the left, with a tree to his immediate right; aided by one hound at his side and two from the far side of his prey, he is attacking a boar that has fallen onto its back. On the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s helmet, this scene is very carefully copied from Solis’s engraving. On our helmet the scene appears again on the band on the left of the skull but here is more freely copied: the hunter, the tree, the boar on its back and the three dogs are all still there but are somewhat more adapted. Two other features are of interest on the helmet. Firstly, on the prow of the upper bevor is a large cartouche bearing three small, plain shields. The same Arms appear on the comb of a decorated Brunswick morion in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (No. 1999.62) and have been identified as the Arms of the Guild of St Luke, which was the painters’ guild and the trade association to which many Brunswick etchers belonged. This has given rise to the suggestion that that morion may have been a ‘masterpiece’ submitted by an etcher to gain acceptance as a master of his craft. It will be remembered, from the historical contextual analysis above, that the Painters and Etchers of Brunswick made it clear in 1566 that, among other things that could be accepted as a ‘masterpiece’, was an etched heavy field armour or light field armour. It is very possible, therefore, that our superbly decorated helmet may belong to one of these ‘masterpiece’ armours. Secondly, while the presence on the front of the lower gorget plate of a sheep’s head may have religious significance, it may also link the helmet to our cod-piece, the following item, which is decorated with a ram’s head. Finally, of the other elements of our armour only one bears a clue as to its origin. The winged heart pierced with an arrow that appears on the small, associated gorget, may suggest that it originally formed part of one of the ‘wedding’ armours.


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In conclusion, therefore, our armour, although not entirely homogenous, is of outstanding importance and very great quality indeed. At its core is an armour for a large man, a man for whom the breastplate was given side extensions as he put on weight. The fact that it takes for the subjects of its decorative scheme not religious or human love, like the related ‘wedding’ armours, but martial combat, conflict and struggle set in the context of Brunswick and the Holy Roman Empire strongly implies that it was made for Duke Heinrich I who ruled Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel from 1514 to 1568, who by the time of his death, was seventy-nine years old. It was, after all, Heinrich who had to struggle with the difficult, dangerous and ultimately unstoppable Reformation that changed Brunswick from a Catholic to a Protestant duchy. It was Heinrich who, in 1538, together with the rulers of Bohemia, Bavaria and Saxony, the Archbishop of Mainz and the Bishop of Salzburg, formed the Catholic-Imperial League to counter the spread of the Reformation. It was Heinrich who, in 1542, was driven from his lands for five years as a result of his resistance to the spread of Protestantism. The decorative scheme of this armour that links Brunswick with the Holy Roman Empire and shows scenes of conflict and struggle seems particularly appropriate for Duke Heinrich. Provenance:

Historic Collections of the Dukes of Brunswick successively at Schloss Blankenburg and Schloss Marienburg.

Exhibited:

Tower of London, Exhibition of Arms, Armour and Militaria lent by the Duke of Brunswick, 1952-53, No. 17.

Literature:

Bohlmann, R., ‘Braunschweigische Hochzeitsharnische und Hochzeitskette von 1560’, Der Deutsche Herold, Vol. XLIV (1913), pp. 145-147. Bohlmann, R., ‘Die Zeichen oder Monogramm des Herzogs Julius von Braunschweig’, Festschrift Paul Zimmermann, (Brunswick, 1914), pp. 255-62. Bohlmann, R., ‘Die Braunschweigischen Waffen aus Schloss Blankenburg am Harz’, Zeitschrift für Historische Waffen- und Kostümkunde, Vol. VI, No.10, (1915), pp. 342-358. Nickel, H., Pyhrrr, S.W., Tarassuk, L., The Art of Chivalry, (New York, 1982), pp. 52-54. Franke, I. O’D., Kupferstiche und Radierungen aus der Werkstatt des Virgil Solis, (Wiesbaden, 1977), Tafel 73, g14. Pyhrr, S.W., LaRocca, D.J., Ogawa, M., Arms and Armor: Notable Acquisitions 1991-2002, Metropolitan Museum of Art, (New York, 2002), pp. 14-15. Pyhrr, S.W. & Richardson, T., ‘The “Master of the Snails and Dragonflies” Identified’, The Journal of the Arms and Armour Society, (London, 1994), Vol. XIV, No. 6, pp. 355, 358-359. von Rohr, A., ‘Die Braunschweigischen Prunkharnische des Herzog Julius’, Zeitschrift für Historische Waffen- und Kostümkunde, Vol. XXX (1988), pp. 103-28.


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19. A Magnificent and Very Impressive German Cod-Piece Brunswick circa 1560 Raised from one piece in the form of a very broad, erect phallus, the underside having a medial ridge both for form and strength. A wide flat flange, shaped to the groin, allows the cod-piece to sit comfortably on the wearer. At the top centre is a hole for attachment to the lower edge of the fauld; at the back of the extension, under the groin, are securing holes. A broad band of etched decoration runs centrally up and down the codpiece: this consists of naturalistic foliage within lined borders on a blackened and dotted ground. This band broadens around the tip in the form of lateral foliate scrolls surrounding a representation of a ram’s head beneath a pair of spreading wings. Bordering the flange is a narrow panel etched with repeated circles within lined borders. Length: 10 in Weight: 12 oz The armoured cod-piece, often known as a ‘brayette’, appeared in the second decade of the 16th century in response to the developing civilian fashion for large padded fabric cod-pieces. These remained in use, especially in the German-speaking lands, until the end of the third quarter of the century. Our example would have belonged to a highly decorated half- or three-quarter armour similar to the preceding item in this catalogue. Such armoured cod-pieces were heavily padded internally for comfort and attached to the centre of the lower edge of the fauld by means of a pin. There is little doubt that these cod-pieces were intended to emphasise the virility and fertility of the wearer. The use of arms and armour to accentuate the virility of its wearer was nothing new by the time that our cod-piece was made. In Europe, from the last quarter of the 14th century for at least the whole of the next hundred years, ‘ballock’ daggers, with grips and guards carved in the form of an erect penis and pendant testicles, were worn from belts and deliberately positioned centrally above the groin as advertisements and reminders of the potential beneath: see our 2001 catalogue Item No.19. This is confirmed by illustrations such as the illumination of Charles V’s banquet in the Grandes Chroniques de France dating from the late 1370s (Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, No. 2831 f.473v) and the engraving, dating from about 1460 by the German Master ES, of the Emperor Augustus and the Tiburtine Sibyl, an apocryphal story from the popular Golden Legend (Philadelphia Museum of Art, Inv. No. 71-29-1). What makes this cod-piece especially interesting is the presence on its tip of a ram’s head. In ancient astrology the ram was traditionally associated with virility and violence. In Roman mythology it was often closely associated with the God of War, Mars. In the Middle Ages, its aggressiveness was frequently demonstrated in illustrations in the moralising books on the animal world known as bestiaries and also in psalters, in which two butting rams are depicted clashing head-to-head. In Le Morte D’Arthur, written about 1469, Sir Thomas Malory employed this as a metaphor when, in describing Pellinore’s and Arthur’s combat as an example of courage and chivalry, he says that they ‘hurtled together like two rams’. The ram came to represent power and authority and brutal, but potent and fertile, sexual congress. More than an echo of this can still


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be found in William Shakespeare’s tragedy Othello, written in about 1604. In the first act Iago speaks to Desdemona’s father of her coupling with Othello in the following terms: Your heart is burst, you have lost half your soul; Even now, now, very now, an old black ram Is tupping your white ewe. The symbolic meaning of the ram’s head and its curling horns on the tip of this cod-piece could not have been lost on any of those who saw it worn. It would have spoken eloquently of the power and potency of its wearer.

Ram’s horns also occur on other important pieces of arms and armour, notably on the ‘Ram’shorn helmet’ belonging to the armour made by Konrad Seusenhofer between 1511 and 1514 and given as a present by the Emperor Maximilian I to King Henry VIII of England (Royal Armouries, IV.22). Ram’s horns also form an important part of the decoration on three Italian parade burgonets of the first half of the 16th century, two in The State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg (Nos. J 296 and 3.O.6159) and one in the Armeria Reale, Turin (No. E50). By far the most important of these is the embossed helmet in St Petersburg made in the early 1530s by Filippo Negroli of Milan for Guidobaldo II della Rovere-Montefeltro, Duke of Urbino. Finally, ram’s horns appear in the decoration on five horse armours of the first half of the 16th century. Three of these are in the Real Armería, Madrid (No. 37, a tournament armour for man and horse made for the Emperor Charles V by Koloman Helmschmied, and Nos. A 231 and A232). The other two, both by Kunz Lochner and made for Sigismund August of Poland, are in the collections of the Livrustkammaren, Stockholm and in the Armoury of the Moscow Kremlin. Our cod-piece comes from the historic collections of the Dukes of Brunswick that were housed at Schloss Blakenburg and then Schloss Marienburg, the details of which can be found within ‘A History of the Brunswick Collection’ at the front of this catalogue. Its decoration links it with the group of highly decorated field armours known to have been produced for the Brunswick court


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in the 1560s. It is almost certainly the cod-piece that was associated with the armour that was shown as number 17 in the exhibition of items from Brunswick held in the Tower of London in 1952-53 and offered in this catalogue as the preceding item. The repeated pellet borders of this cod-piece match the recessed bands that run parallel to the borders of the helmet and spaudlers of our armour but not the similar bands on other elements: these have a roped pattern. The decoration of our cod-piece seems closest to that of our helmet: perhaps significantly, the lower front gorget plate of our helmet is etched in the centre with a sheep’s head. It is thus likely that they originally formed part of the same armour. Provenance:

Historic Collections of the Dukes of Brunswick successively at Schloss Blankenburg and Schloss Marienburg.

Literature:

Blair, C., ‘Comments on Dr Borg’s “Horned Helmet”’, Journal of the Arms and Armour Society, Vol. VIII, no. 2, (1974), pp. 138-85. Borg, A., ‘The Ram’s Horn Helmet’, Journal of the Arms and Armour Society, Vol. VIII, no 2, (1974), pp. 127-137. Pyhrr, S.W. and Godoy, J-A., Heroic Armor of the Italian Renaissance: Filippo Negroli and his contemporaries, (New York, 1998), pp 136-46.


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20. A Magnificent and Rare Two-Handed Bearing Sword of the City of Brunswick circa 1570 The hilt now fitted with a long wooden grip of three sections, turned in the centre with a central knop flanked by a double-ogee design bordered by raised bands, the upper and lower sections spirally wound with twisted wire and the whole covered with leather. The iron pommel crutch-shaped, with hooked ends and a central hole, richly etched overall with foliate decoration upon a blackened ground, each face bearing three eight-petalled flowers within circular borders. The quillons of ribbon section with recurved tips engraved to resemble fish tails; six notched volutes issuing from the upper and lower edges of the quillons and etched with a decorative line of pellets; the quillons etched with foliage overall incorporating equestrian figures, sea monsters, a trophy of arms, a lion’s mask, a lion upon a plinth, musical instruments, flowers and birds. Substantial ring-guards of flat section on either side of the quillons widening to decorative discs at their outer faces; both ring-guards enclose brass plates, each embossed in high relief with the figures of a lion rampant and griffon rampant, all within a border of small harness bells; the brass plates backed by similarly sized plates of thin steel, attached with small rivets; the outer faces of both ring-guards bear floral decoration incorporating cherubs, flowers, birds and trophy heads, one guard having a griffon passant guardant on either side of the central disc and the other guard having two lions passant guardant bearing upon their respective breasts the devices of a wheel and anchor. The central discs of both ring-guards depict a lion rampant against a granulated, gilded background. The double-edged blade of flattened hexagonal section along its whole length, widening towards a broad tip, and with a long ricasso diverging into two large lugs curling slightly back towards the hilt; on each face, at the junction of the ricasso and blade, are struck two tiny marks in the form of five-pointed stars and further marks, now greatly worn, are struck upon the edges of the ricasso near the lugs; the ricasso, lugs and several inches of the blade are etched on both faces with similar decoration to the hilt, incorporating foliate strapwork, an eagle with wings displayed, a lion rampant and a cherub’s face. Overall length: 74 K in Blade length: 49 D in Crossguard width: 27 I in By the second half of the 16th century the use of the two-handed sword as a weapon was very much in decline, yet it remained in widespread use as a ceremonial sword, or ‘bearing sword’, for many centuries. Some of the most magnificent bearing swords ever made originate from the Duchy of Brunswick in Lower Saxony and a large number of these were borne during processions and state occasions by the bodyguard of the Dukes of Brunswick as a visible symbol of the dukes’ great power and authority. We offered two of these, of differing styles and dated 1573 and 1574, in our 2003 catalogue, Items No. 25 and 26. This group of Brunswick bearing swords, all of which are of great size, can be divided into several distinct subgroups depending upon the design of their pommels, quillons or blades, with each example showing minor variations in detail. Perhaps the most well known of these swords are the types that bear the cyphers of Julius, Duke of BrunswickWolfenbüttel, who ruled from 1568 to 1589. Unlike his father, Duke Heinrich IV (reigned 151468), the cultured Julius did much to convert the old medieval duchy into a more modern state by


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helping to introduce the Lutheran Reformation. He also founded a university and public library and, most significantly, was an enthusiastic patron of the manufacture of arms and armour. Brunswick and the surrounding area had long been an important iron-working centre because of its proximity to the Harz Mountains and their valuable ores but it was in the reign of Julius that the local armourers and associated craftsmen achieved their greatest works. Our splendid sword, offered here, clearly originated in the same workshops of the duchy but actually belongs to a rare subgroup of Brunswick bearing swords that was used in civic ceremonies and processions by the authorities of the city of Brunswick. This is confirmed by the opulent, richly etched decoration that completely covers the pommel, quillons, ring-guards and two-fifths of the blade and which incorporates iconography relating uniquely to the city of Brunswick. The lion rampant – the symbol of the city since the time of Henry the Lion (reigned 1139-95) – takes pride of place upon the outer discs of the large ring-guards and achieves further prominence by being etched against a gilded background. It is thought that some of the other figures represent the five original districts, known as Weichbilde, of the medieval city. Of particular interest are the two equestrian figures in the costume of the period: this includes a particular style of highcrowned hat that became a popular item of male clothing from about 1565 and this, along with the style of the etching, contributes to the dating of our sword. Numerous birds are featured within the etched foliage: these include an owl and this may be a reference to the story of Till Eulenspiegel (literally ‘owl’s mirror’), a legendary prankster of Brunswick who reputedly lived in the 14th century and whose name was immortalised in a book of folk tales in the early 16th century. Next to this, there is no doubt that the figure of the lion standing upon a plinth or tower represents the city’s most famous statue, the Burglöwe, the ‘lion of the castle’, erected by Henry the Lion in Castle Square and the first free-standing bronze monument north of the Alps to be constructed since Roman times. All of this decoration, including the large, embossed brass plates that fill the ring- guards, can only be observed properly when the sword is borne in the correct manner: with its blade uppermost. In view of its size and great weight, at ten-and-a half pounds – perhaps nearly twice the weight of the average military Beidhänder, the bearer of this sword would have needed to have been a very strong, and probably equally large, man. The flamboyance of the sword’s design, with its curled volutes and lugs and the richness of the etching, is in visible contrast to the slightly more conservative appearance of the ducal swords mentioned earlier. However, certain elements, such as the quillon tips, here formed in the likeness of great fishes’ tails, and the shape of the heavy pommel, with its hooked ends and central hole, continue the ‘family resemblance’ of the Brunswick style as a whole. By the end of the 16th century certain bearing swords from other German regions began to include various elements of the ‘Brunswick hilt’ into their designs, indicating that they may have been exported, or at least copied. The city of Brunswick had been granted its charter as a free city, with its own tax and government, in the 13th century but from the onset of the Reformation some of the dukes had sought, often by force, to have this revoked in order to be able to benefit from the city’s wealth and resources. In the early 17th century the city had endured two attempts to take it by siege but had withstood them with the help of the Hanseatic League, an association of north German free cities of which it had been a member since the 1350s. By the middle of the 17th century, however, the political and economic power of the League was in sharp decline. In 1671 Duke Rudolf August of


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Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, acting in alliance with his relations, the Dukes of Brunswick-Lüneburg and Calenberg and a reputed 20,000 men, closed in upon the city. Unable to defend itself against such odds, Brunswick capitulated and lost its free status. Thereafter, under the absolutist rule of the duke, all civic insignia were confiscated and the city swords were incorporated into the extensive armoury of nearby Schloss Wolfenbüttel, where the duke had his seat. Presumably, our sword continued to be used on state occasions but was borne by a member of the ducal bodyguard rather than by a servant of the town. As detailed in ‘A History of the Brunswick Collection’ at the front of this catalogue, some of the contents of this armoury were transferred to another of the family residences, the castle of Blankenburg in the Harz Mountains where the pieces were to remain until relatively modern times. After 1866, when the duchy was incorporated into the North German Confederation, some of the items from the ducal armoury entered the Vaterländischen Museum, now the Brunswick Landesmuseum, and many other pieces were sold to other museums and private collectors. Those items that remained at Blankenburg were in various states of repair and underwent restoration by Robert Bohlmann just before the First World War. It is to this restoration that we owe the distinctive wooden grips of these swords, all of which are of a similar style with a decorative central section; the belief that this, restored, style probably resembles the original grips before restoration is upheld by the restored grips’ resemblance to devices engraved upon some of the swords from the time of Duke Julius. The threaded ends of the tangs, to which the pommels are attached, can also be attributed to Bohlmann’s restoration. Our sword was among the items from Schloss Marienburg exhibited at the Tower of London in 1952-53. It was described in the exhibition catalogue (No. 88) by Sir James Mann who at that time dated it ‘about 1610’. It was exhibited alongside several of the other Brunswick swords including two others from the same subgroup. In contrast to the swords made for the state guard of the dukes, which exist in some quantity, only a very small number of these ‘city swords’ are known today. Provenance:

The Brunswick City Arsenal Historic Collections of the Dukes of Brunswick successively at Schloss Wolfenbüttel, Schloss Blankenburg and Schloss Marienburg.

Exhibited:

Tower of London, Exhibition of Arms, Armour and Militaria lent by the Duke of Brunswick, 1952-53, Item No. 88.

Literature:

Bohlmann, R., ‘Braunschweigischen Waffen auf Schloss Blankenburg am Harz’, Zeitschrift für Historische Waffen- und Kostümkunde, Vol. VI (1915), p.355 & figs. 40 & 41. Bohlmann, R., ‘Braunschweig, die Waffenschmiede von Nordddeutschland’,Zeitschrift für Historische Waffen- und Kostümkunde, Vol. VIII (1944), pp.14-15. Mann, Sir J., Exhibition of Arms, Armour and Militaria lent by HRH the Duke of Brunswick and Lüneburg at the Armouries of the Tower of London, (London, 1952).


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21. A Magnificent State Parade Halberd of the Personal Bodyguard of Elector August of Saxony circa 1580 The elements of the head comprising: a long, two-edged, strongly ridged spike with a cusped neck; a blade with a deeply concave edge, having minor flukes and cusps on the upper and lower edges; a down-pointed fluke with a reinforced point and with ancillary flukes springing from its neck, the lower one a double fluke; a square-section socket, pierced for attachment to the haft with decorated mouldings at its base from which spring four haft langets secured by dome headed steel rivets. With a blackened haft. The head etched overall with polished foliate strapwork on a blackened stippled ground and, in the centre of the blade on either side, with gilt cartouches comprising borders of scrolls and fleurs-de-lys enclosing ovals charged with the following Arms: on one side, the Arms of the Arch-Marshal of the Holy Roman Empire (per fess sable and argent, two swords in saltire or); on the other side the arms of Saxony (barry of ten sable and or, a crown of rue in bend vert). The haft langets are etched within borders with a repeating pattern of guilloche. Overall length: 98 I in

Width of head: 14 in

The halberd seems to have developed in Switzerland in the 13th century as some kind of longhandled axe. This axe had developed by the end of the 14th century into what we now recognise as a halberd, or ‘vouge’, the blade being attached to the haft by rings. The final form of the halberd, with a one-piece head consisting of blade, spike and fluke had developed by the end of the following century. Our halberd is the type with which the Trabantenleibgarde of Elector August of Saxony (1526-86) was armed. Of the various surviving types of halberd carried by successive Saxonian electoral bodyguards from the mid-16th to the mid-17th century, ours is among the rarest: another example is in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, (Kretzschmar von Kienbush collection No. 568), two others are illustrated in Haenel and in Müller and Kölling’s works as being, respectively, in museum collections in Dresden and Berlin and a fourth is in the Odescalchi collection in Venice (No. 1665). The Saxonian Trabantenleibgarde was one of a large number of guard units raised by the rulers of Saxony and was composed of armoured gentlemen-at-arms whose duty it was to accompany and protect the person of the Elector on his public appearances. It acquired its name – one applied to the majority of personal bodyguards throughout the German-speaking lands – because the gentlemen of the Electoral bodyguard acted as satellites in their relation to the Elector, Trabant in German meaning ‘satellite’ and Leibgarde meaning ‘Lifeguard’. The guard was equivalent to the French gardes de la manche – ‘guards of the sleeve’, who were so-named for exactly the same reason, and would now be equivalent to the British Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-atArms, a guard of retired officers that still attends the British sovereign on state occasions and that traces its origin back to a royal palace guard instituted by King Henry VIII in 1509. August, Elector of Saxony, was born in 1526 and succeeded his elder brother Moritz (1521-53) as elector in 1553, at a time when religious discord was dividing families and states in Europe. Saxony


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was one of the territories of the Holy Roman Empire and its ruler was one of seven similar heads of German states whose positions entitled them to elect the emperor. In addition to this position, the elector of Saxony, along with that of the Palatinate, was charged with the sovereignty of the Empire between the death of one emperor and the election of the next; he was also the Imperial Grand Marshal, or ArchMarshal, which is why successive electors of Saxony bore the Arms of the Arch-Marshal upon all their appointments, including our magnificent halberd. The stability of the Empire was threatened by the Protestant Reformation early in the 16th century and by Catholic reaction to it in the form of the Counter-Reformation. Those were turbulent times and heads of state needed bodyguards not only to protect them from assassination but also to bolster their power and prestige by the magnificence of their arms and accoutrements. Elector August was widely respected within the Empire and outside it for his commitment to peaceful compromise and for his pragmatic attitude to government and religious freedoms. Under his rule, Saxony became known for financial stability, reforms of its judiciary and bureaucracy and support for science and technology, especially in the realm of mining. Although not known for his financial profligacy, it is clear that Elector August of Saxony wished to maintain the tradition of an impressively equipped bodyguard and our magnificent parade halberd is evidence of this. Literature:

Blair, C., European and American Arms, (London, 1962), pp. 25-26. Di Carpegna, N., Le Armi Odescalchi, (Rome, 1976), p.67, item and plate 403. Haenel, E., Kostbare Waffen aus der Dresdener Rüstkammer, (Leipzig, 1923), pl. 69c. Müller, H., and Kölling, H., Europäische Hieb- und Stichwaffen, (Berlin, 1981), pp.255, 393, item 253. Nickel, H., ‘Unter den Gekreuzten Schwerten: Bemerkungen zu den Blankwaffen der Kursächsischen Schweizergarde zu Dresden, 1656-1874’ in K Stüber, H Wetter (eds), Blankwaffen, (Zurich 1982), pp. 169-190. Syndram, D. and Scherner, A. (eds.), Princely Splendor: the Dresden Court 1580-1620, (Dresden, 2004), pp. 22-28, 100-101.


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22. A Splendid and Flamboyant State Parade Halberd from the Bodyguard of Elector Christian I of Saxony circa 1587 The elements of the head comprising: a long, two-edged, strongly ridged spike; a blade with a recurved edge; a down-curving fluke with a reinforced point and with ancillary flukes springing from its neck to shape the whole as a fleur-de-lys; a round-section socket with mouldings at either end, from the lower of which spring four haft-langets, secured to the haft by dome-headed rivets; the haft-langets etched with panels of foliate decoration. The head etched overall with polished foliate strapwork on a blackened stippled ground and, in the centre of the blade on either side, with gilt cartouches comprising borders of scrolls and fleursde-lys enclosing ovals charged with the following Arms: on one side, the Arms of the ArchMarshal of the Holy Roman Empire (per fess sable and argent, two swords in saltire or); on the other side the arms of Saxony (barry of ten sable and or, a crown of rue in bend vert). Overall length: 94 G in Width of head: 12 in Our fine halberd, with its flamboyant blade, is the type with which the Trabantenleibgarde of Elector Christian I of Saxony (1560-91) was armed and succeeded the previous item in this catalogue as the pattern of halberd carried by the electoral bodyguard. Several other examples of this type of halberd, although with minor variations in their form and decoration, survive in the great public arms and armour collections of the world. There are twelve in the Wallace Collection, London, (Nos. A954-965); a number in the Royal Armouries, Leeds; further examples are in the Historisches Museum, Dresden, including one dated 1588 (No. S.14), at the Veste Coburg (No. III B 52) and in the Odescalchi collection, Venice (Nos. 404 and 405); examples in American public collections include one in the Cleveland Museum of Art (No. 1916.1819 [115]), one in the Philadelphia Museum of Art (Kretzschmar von Kienbusch collection No. 570) and one in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, (No. 04.3.80). The number of this type of halberds surviving is indicative of two things: one, that the Trabantenleibgarde was of considerable size and clearly completely re-equipped with halberds upon the accession of the Elector Christian I in 1586 and, two, that the halberds’ splendour and magnificence, not to mention their intrinsically high quality, ensured their care and respect long after they had ceased to have a function as the principal weapon and mark of status of the elector’s personal bodyguard. Despite the fact that many halberds of this type of survive worldwide in public collections, it is rare to find one offered for sale. Christian I of Saxony was the only one of Elector August’s nine sons to survive their father but he had been prepared for government since 1580 and so was well versed in statecraft by the time of his accession in 1586. Christian maintained his father’s policy of pragmatism in politics and religion, supporting and allying with both Protestant and Catholic states and thus bolstering the autonomy of Saxony within the Empire. While curbing the power of the Saxon aristocracy, he also sought to diminish that of the orthodox Lutherans and opened Saxony to Calvinism – a policy that did not survive his early death in 1591. It is clear, from the survival of the halberds of which ours is a fine example, that Christian was – if anything – even more aware than his father had been of the need to maintain the appearance and prestige of a ruler through the magnificence of his bodyguard: he appears to have lavished money on the equipment of his Trabantenleibgarde. In the


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Dresden Rüstkammer are children’s armours, three of them with their attendant but small-size halberds, made in the late 1580s or early 1590s for the three sons of Christian I: the halberds are of the same type as ours, one being dated 1592 (No. S 60), so it appears that Christian recruited his sons to his personal bodyguard and equipped them accordingly. By the time of the short electoral reign of Christian I, the halberd had ceased to be a common battlefield weapon, although it was to survive until the late 18th century as the weapon and mark of rank of a sergeant in the infantry regiments of most European nations. Sergeants used their halberds on both parade ground and battlefield as long rulers held along the backs of musketeers in order to straighten their ranks and thus ensure the effective delivery of the rolling volleys of musketry that were such a hallmark of the 18th century battlefield. The sergeants’ halberds would also be used to great effect in unhorsing cavalrymen and in dissuading desertion from the ranks: with its long reach and potent edges, it remained a fearsome weapon in the hands of an experienced soldier. Such military halberds maintained the tradition of using the halberds’ blades as canvasses for the display of the heraldry or monograms of their nations’ rulers and were thus following in a tradition amply demonstrated on our halberd, decorated as it is with the Arms of the electorate of Saxony and those of the Arch-Marshal of the Holy Roman Empire, an office traditionally held by the elector of Saxony. Literature:

Di Carpegna, N., Le Armi Odescalchi, (Rome, 1976), pp. 67-68, items and plates 404-405. Mann, Sir J., Wallace Collection Catalogues: European Arms and Armour, (London, 1962), Vol. II, pp 452-453. Nickel, H., ‘Unter den Gekreuzten Schwerten: Bemerkungen zu den Blankwaffen der Kursächsischen Schweizergarde zu Dresden, 1656-1874’ in Stüber, K. and Wetter, H. (eds), Blankwaffen, (Zurich, 1982), pp. 169-190. Norman, A.V.B., Wallace Collection Catalogues: European Arms and Armour Supplement, (London, 1986), p. 193. Syndram, D. and Scherner, A. (eds.), Princely Splendor: the Dresden Court 1580-1620, (Dresden, 2004), pp. 28-29, 102-103, 129.


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23. An Exceptionally Fine French Inlaid Cabinet made by a Gunstockmaker circa 1580 In the form of a rectangular fruit-wood box with beaded edges, having two handles of gilded iron and supported on four gilt-brass ball feet. The top and sides are inlaid with silver and brass wire with designs of strapwork, scrolls, formalised flowers and interlace; within the designs are minute brass and silver studs simulating flower petals and leaves. On the four panels forming the sides of the box the wire inlay is ingeniously employed to form the heads of monsters and human heads shown in semi-profile. The base is also inlaid with strapwork and scrolls in staghorn. Set at intervals around the scrollwork are small panels of engraved staghorn consisting of Classical urns, vases of flowers and plain roundels. The ornament on the lid consists of a large, oval, central panel of engraved mother-of-pearl showing a warrior in Classical armour in a triumphal chariot surrounded by military trophies and drawn by horses in a landscape. At each side of this panel are two profile masks of engraved mother-of-pearl. Arranged at intervals around the central design are mythical and allegorical figures, all in finely engraved mother-of-pearl. These include figures representing Abundance, Hercules, Samson, sphinxes, winged cherubs, unicorns, birds, snails and squirrels. In the centre of each border is an oval plaque engraved with military trophies and musical instruments. Also incorporated into the designs are urns issuing flame and Classical vases. The mother-of-pearl panels are exceptionally finely engraved, the designs being heightened with coloured lines. The sides of the box are inlaid with oval panels of mother-of-pearl representing the Four Parts of the World personified as female figures. At the front, the left panel shows a figure with a bow and an exotic beast, representing America; the right panel represents Europe, the horse symbolising supremacy in war. The panels at the back show Africa, depicted with an elephant, and Asia, with a camel. These four allegorical panels are surrounded with plaques showing figures of snails, sphinxes, birds, bees, rabbits and hunting dogs. Similar figures appear at the two ends of the box, where they are arranged around a panel consisting of a vase of flowers. The box is fitted with a very fine lock-plate of gilt-brass pierced and engraved with strapwork and scrolls flanked by winged dragons. Height: 7 N in Width: 19 in Depth: 12 G in The ornament on our box can be closely compared with that on French gunstocks of the late 16th century. The use of brass and silver wire for inlaid scrollwork is absolutely characteristic of stockmakers’ work. Similar work appears on a late 16th-century French petronel in the collection of the Royal Armouries (XII.1548), on a French wheellock pistol from the collection of Louis XIII in the Victoria & Albert Museum and on a wheellock holster pistol formerly in the R. T. Gwynn Collection. The use of engraved mother-of-pearl plaques of oval form, together with small birds and animals, is characteristic of French gunstockmakers’ work of the late 16th century. It is also noteworthy that the rather startling placing of the inlaid plaques within the oval design indicates


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that the craftsman who made this box was not used to producing inlaid work for a large rectangular space, stockmakers being used to working on long narrow gunstocks. The source of the ornament can be traced to the engraved work of Étienne Delaune (1519-83) as well as to that of Georg Hoefnagel (1542-1601) and of Jacob Hoefnagel (1575-circa 1670). The lock-plate, with its winged monster motifs, is very close to Delaune’s engraved work, which was extremely influential in French decorative art in the latter part of the 16th century. As the interior fittings of the box have been removed, possibly at the time when the early 19thcentury English lock was inserted, it is not possible to be certain what the box originally contained. In size and quality, it can be compared with the boxes and cabinets made for princely Kunstkammer such as survive from the Grünes Gewolbe in Dresden. Interestingly, the work on the engraved lockplate can be compared with the brass overlaid work on some of the arms from the Armoury of the Saxon Electors at Dresden. It is also interesting to speculate for whom this box was made. The allegorical figures have obviously been carefully selected, probably for a soldier and diplomat. Pasted to the base is the remains of a 19th-century inventory label almost certainly for ROSEBERY. Mentmore, the residence of the Earls of Rosebery in the 19th and early 20th centuries was celebrated for its works of art and Continental furniture. Literature:

Blackmore, H.L., Guns and Rifles of the World, (London, 1965), pl. 61. Hayward, J.F., The Art of the Gunmaker, (London, 1965), Vol. I, pl. 25A.


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24. A Very Rare Italian Cabasset adapted for Japanese use Namban Kabuto circa 1580-1600 Of russet iron, the heavy one-piece cabasset having an almond-shaped crown rising to a short stalk at its apex and with an integral brim and decorated with four medallions depicting a mythological scene, each containing a figure wielding a sickle and riding a stag, under the hooves of which lies a trampled figure, the scene probably representing the legend of Diana and Actaeon. The panels etched and separated by vertical bands containing etched decoration of stylised fish, human heads and helmets. The crest-holder secured by gilded rivets, further examples of which decorate the rim of the helmet: these rivets are Japanese, as are the decorative star-shaped fixings which replace the original lining rivets at the base of the helmet bowl, this shape of star being a Japanese interpretation of the European form. The cabasset adapted for Japanese use by the traditional reversal of the helmet for wear and with the addition of extra details normally found on the traditional Japanese helmet (kabuto): two fixings have been added for side-crests (wakidate); there is an added iron rim to which the neck-guard (shikoro) would have been fixed and an additional brown lacquered iron under-visor (uchi-mabisashi) on which stylised eyebrows (uchimayu) have been embossed; the under-visor secured to the rim for the neck guard with gilded rivets similarly finished to those on the upper surface of the helmet, thus confirming that all the rivets are Japanese; the underside of the rim and the two wakidate have been lacquered red. Although the shikoro is missing, an early, perhaps original, indigo-dyed liner and leather band remain. What has now become the back of the helmet has been pierced with the heart shape known in Japanese as inome (boar’s eye), the edges of this piercing decorated with an elegant gilt rim. At the back of the helmet, just above the rim, is an unusual but elegant stud with a chrysanthemum washer. Height: 11 in Width: 9 in Weight: 4 lb 6 oz From the earliest encounters between the West and Japan, arms and armour as diplomatic gifts played an important part in maintaining good relations. The Portuguese traders and missionaries used western armour as gifts to high-ranking samurai, especially those such as Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi and later Tokugawa Ieyasu who was to become supreme military dictator (sh¯ogun) and was the man responsible for the final unification and pacification of Japan following the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600. At this battle he allegedly wore the solid plate western armour, adapted of course to Japanese style, that is held by Nikk¯o T¯osh¯og¯u, the shrine to Ieyasu to the north of Tokyo. Another such diplomatic gift is the famous western armour held by another Tokugawa shrine, Wakayama T¯osh¯og¯u to the south of Osaka. This armour, a modified European armour with proofmarks to the cuirass, is now designated as an ‘Important Cultural Property’. It is said to have been given by the Portuguese to Tokugawa Ieyasu, who then gave it to Yorinobu, his tenth son (160271), who ruled the Kishu region from Wakayama Castle and dedicated this armour to Wakayama


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T¯osh¯og¯u. The decoration and shape of the helmet of that armour, which also has four medallions depicting scenes from mythology, exhibit many similarities to ours and has been tentatively, but probably wrongly, identified as Florentine work: it is far more likely that it was made further north, in one of the great Lombardic armour workshops of Milan or Pisa. The complete armour has been published many times and there is a similar armour in the Capodimonte Museum, Naples. The tradition of adding eyebrows to an adapted western or purely Japanese namban kabuto, as well as to the slightly later Japanese momonari kabuto, a ‘peach-shaped’ helmet whose shape was inspired by western helmets, seems to have begun with the introduction to Japan of helmets such as the cabasset and morion. This addition to the helmet had some practical benefits but the decoration was perhaps a comment on the, to Japanese eyes, exotic, hairier, appearance of the Southern Barbarians. The term namban kabuto applies equally to western helmets converted to Japanese use as to those purely Japanese interpretations of western forms that can be appreciated in the next two items in this catalogue. Although rear crests (ushirodate) are not uncommon on Japanese helmets, the fore-crest (maedate) was more popular. With the helmet reversed, as was common Japanese practice with European helmets, the original plume holder could perhaps have been used to support a family device or crest (kamon). The traditional Japanese helmet would have had a hole in the top (tehen no ana): this device provided some ventilation when the helmet was worn during the oppressive heat of a Japanese summer. Therefore, the small decorative alteration in the form of a rimmed inome on the cabasset would have provided a similar function. Literature:

Takashi, M. (ed.), Sengoku Kawari Kabuto, (Tokyo, 1984), entry 119 for a detailed image of the helmet in the Wakayama T¯osh¯og¯u shrine. Nikk¯o T¯osh¯og¯u no H¯omotsu (Treasures of Nikk¯o T¯osh¯og¯u), (Nikko, 1965).


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25. An Extremely Rare Japanese Helmet Namban Kabuto in the form of a ‘Portuguese Hat’ circa 1580-1620 The six plates of the russet iron helmet (kabuto) each overlaid by another, of pierced latticeform, having a raised and lightly hammered edge, raised rivets and inlaid silver decoration of karakusa (Chinese grass). A broader, lower section is present on these applied plates, the division between it and the latticework inlaid with a band of silver ‘Greek key’ motifs, similar to the Japanese sayagata pattern; this lower section of the applied plate with damascened (nunomez¯ogan) silver and gold decoration of stylised Buddhist swords (ken) and storage jars (possibly for sake), above each of which is a family crest (kamon) of intersected diamond-shapes. These larger areas of decoration are applied in silver and gold leaf, the ‘exotic’ nature of both the shape and decoration of the helmet enhanced by the possibly mainland Asian style of decoration. The gently curving rim of the helmet with an applied edge (fukurin) and, on the upper surfaces, a decoration of four applied and riveted, thin, cut iron plates with an outline similar to that of a fleur-de-lys, the heads of the rivets flush with the surface of the plates. The underside of the rim lacquered red, with a metal band for the fittings of the neck-protector (shikoro) traditionally found on Japanese helmets, the metal band having remains of black lacquer on the inner surface. Height: 7 I in Width: 12 in Weight: 4 lb 2 oz In 1543, two Portuguese arrived by chance on the island of Tanegashima, just off the coast of the larger island of Kyushu in south west Japan. They brought with them guns, in the form of arquebuses, and after a demonstration of this new weapon the young regional lord (daimy¯o), Tanegashima Tokitaka, realised that this was the weapon he needed to re-conquer some neighbouring islands. Legend has it that he gave a huge sum of money for one, some say two, of these new weapons and he was trained in their use. Before this time, guns and gunpowder may well have been known to some Japanese through the activities of the Japanese pirates (wak¯o) who had plagued the seas between Japan and mainland Asia. However, within a very short time after 1543 the manufacture and use of the gun had spread throughout Japan and it became an integral, some argue the most decisive, element of all the weaponry used in the warfare that had been fought continuously throughout Japan for over a century. The period 1467-1568 is known as the Sengoku, or Warring States, period and during it Japan was far from united: the control of the country rested in the hands of regional warlords, not all of them of daimy¯o status but all struggling for supremacy and creating, and changing, alliances whenever they could. Chief among these was Oda Nobunaga (1534-82), the son of a deputy military governor who, following his father’s death in 1551, consolidated his position as the lord of Nagoya Castle and then began his campaign of military expansion from this base. Nobunaga is known as one of the three great unifiers of Japan and created a unified centralised Japan under his rule. He was not only a ruthless warrior but also a great patron of the arts. He was the most prominent among the samurai who realised the potential for the gun and, by 1575 at the battle of Nagashino, he had some 10,000 arquebusiers in an army of over 30,000 men.


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Closely following the arrival of the Portuguese in 1543, an extensive two-way trade began and in addition to the Portuguese, merchants and Catholic missionaries from Spain arrived – to be followed later by the Dutch and English. These men, curious and strange creatures at least to Japanese eyes, not only traded and proselytised but also influenced fashion through their outlandish clothes and, no doubt, their manners. The visitors were referred to as namban – ‘Southern Barbarians’ – indicating the direction from which they arrived in Japan: the term became applied to those types of export and domestic goods produced by the Japanese that were influenced stylistically by the demands of their visitors. Things namban became fashionable amongst the Japanese and some Japanese adopted westernstyle dress, manners and, occasionally, Christianity. The introduction of the gun had, however, created other needs and the Japanese adopted aspects of western armour for both practical reasons and as a fashion statement. Traditional Japanese armour was designed as a defence against the sword, spear and arrow and was generally ineffective against the gun. Those European armours that had been given as diplomatic and trade gifts to high-ranking samurai were often adapted to Japanese taste and practicalities. Western forms of armour were copied by the Japanese, who produced some interesting hybrid, but practical, armours. The form of armour that was developing at this time became known as tosei gusoku – ‘equipment of the times’. Our helmet represents a true fusion of both the practical and artistic aesthetics of the period in which it was manufactured, one of its principal motifs, the Greek key, having been introduced into Japan in around 1573, when Chinese fabrics bearing the pattern were first imported in considerable numbers. It should be noted that few true namban kabuto retain their additional shikoro, as the flexible cotton or silk textile braids used to link the plates to the body of the helmet were extremely prone to decay.


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The period from 1568 to around circa 1600 – there is some academic debate as to the precise end of this period – is known in Japan as the Azuchi-Momoyama period. This era saw an almost unprecedented rise in the decorative arts and a cosmopolitan culture with flamboyant expressions of personal taste developed. What better way, therefore, for a high-ranking samurai to convey his personal taste than to wear a practical, heavy plate helmet in the style of a Portuguese hat? These hats were worn by the Portuguese and were depicted on the painted Japanese screens (by¯obu) of the period that show the Portuguese engaged in trade from their so-called ‘Black Ships’. The screens, known as namban by¯obu and of which some seventy or so survive, additionally often depicted somewhat sinister-looking, tall Jesuit missionaries dressed all in black. For whatever reason, politically or otherwise, these screens do not seem to show any westerners wearing western armour when in Japan, although many do carry swords, and they are accompanied by samurai, not western guards. Provenance:

J. Supporta collection. With R. Burawoy, Paris, 1977.

Literature:

Charbonnier, J.C., Casques, Masques et Armures des Seigneurs de l’Ancienne Japon (Paris, 2003), pp.56-57. Galerie Robert Burawoy, Paris, Armes Japonaises dans les collections privées françaises (Paris, 1977), p. 25.


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26. An Extremely Rare Japanese Helmet Namban Kabuto in the form of a ‘Portuguese Hat’ circa 1590-1640 Formed of two hammered plates of russet iron, the helmet bears embossed decoration on each side in the form of a winged dragon among clouds, the eyes and tongues of the dragons gilded, the bodies silvered and many fine details of the dragons’ scales and the clouds further finished with external hammering and chasing. The two main plates forming the helmet joined and covered by central decorative plates of abstract geometric form, the rivets securing the plates being left exposed and enhanced by decorative chrysanthemum-shaped washers; two layers of cable-like, lightly hammered wires run from front to back, supported at various points by plain iron arches, the ends and middle having solid supporting forms with typical Momoyama-period silver inlaid scrolling karakusa (Chinese grass) floral motifs. The jauntily curved rim of the helmet with an applied edge (fukurin) fixed to the main body of the helmet by rivets with large, decorative chrysanthemum-shaped washers, the underside of the rim retaining a little of the original lacquering, which is of an unusual green hue. With the pierced metal fittings for the neck-protector (shikoro) traditionally found on Japanese helmets. Height: 8 I in Width: 11 I in Weight: 4 lb 4 oz Japanese metalworkers – particularly those of the My¯ochin school of armour makers, who also produced decorative objects, okimono, from hammered iron – have long been extremely successful in the art of hammering from sheet iron. Many fantastically shaped helmets were produced, particularly during the Momoyama period, from 1568 to circa 1600, often from single pieces of iron, and there was already by that time an established tradition of producing many forms of elegant, and often ferociously countenanced, hammered and lacquered iron face masks to be worn with helmets. The Japanese armourer who created the skull of our helmet from two pieces of iron and embossed each of them with a dragon, a popular creature in Japanese mythology and one with many attributes, was therefore well practised and extremely skilful. The fashion for things Western produced, in the field of armour, many fabulous and extraordinarily shaped helmets that became known as kawari kabuto – ‘extraordinary’, or ‘different’ helmets – all of which drew attention to the wearer and some of which would have been very impractical on the battlefield. What is especially interesting about our helmet is that the Japanese armourer has simply taken the form of the ‘Portuguese hat’ and freely adapted it to produce a helmet in purely Japanese taste. Another interesting feature of our helmet is the very curious central ridge: this seems to have no antecedent in either European or Japanese helmets. As with the preceding helmet, it has already been noted that few true namban kabuto retain their additional shikoro. The dragon in East Asian mythology is a creature associated with water, rather than the firebreathing creature known in the West, and it is therefore often associated with the sea and with


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clouds, as can be seen on our helmet. The particular dragon portrayed here represents the Yamata no Orochi, an eight-headed, eight-tailed serpent that was slain by Susano-¯o no Mikoto, the brother of the Sun Goddess, Amaterasu Omikami. When he had killed the beast, he found in its tail the sword, later named Kusanagi no Tsurugi, that became part of the Imperial regalia: the sword is today enshrined at the Shint¯o shrine of Atsuta Jingu, in Nagoya. The decoration of a dragon, together with a reference to the Imperial sword, on a helmet inspired by the headgear of the ‘Southern Barbarians’, who had introduced such powerful new weapons in the form of guns, makes a persuasive visual political statement – as well as one showing personal cosmopolitan taste. The production of namban-influenced armour continued after 1639 when the Iberian traders, and more importantly their missionaries, were banned from Japan. There was a brief vogue for Dutch-influenced armour but the traditional morions and cabassets were to influence the style of purely Japanese helmets known momonari kabuto. It is particularly apt that this splendid namban kabuto also bears the remains of a label indicating that, during the Keich¯o era (1596-1615), it was taken to Korea in the second of the ambitious military campaigns of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, whose intention was no less than the overall conquest of China. The first campaign took place during 1592-93, under the leadership of Konishi Yukinaga and Kato Kiyomasa and achieved only a very limited success that resulted in protracted peace negotiations. In frustration, Hideyoshi broke off the talks and began what became known as the


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Keich¯o campaign, under the same leadership. This campaign was fought during 1597-98, ending with the death of Hideyoshi in September 1598. The label is not contemporary with the helmet and was written at an unspecified later date by a member of the Ota family in Tokyo. Edo, the former capital of the Tokugawa sh¯ogunate was renamed Tokyo in 1868, following the restoration to full authority of the Emperor Meiji, so we can assume that this helmet was an heirloom of the Ota family during the Edo period (1603-1868). Literature:

Exhibition catalogue, Spectacular Helmets of Japan, 16th-19th Century, Japan House Gallery, Japan Society, (New York, 1985). Exhibition Catalogue, Art Namban: les Portugais au Japon, Musées Royaux d’Art et Histoire, (Brussels, 1989). Exhibition Catalogue, Japan und Europa 1543-1929, Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin, Berliner Festspiele, (Berlin, 1993). Okamoto, Y., The Namban Art of Japan,(New York/Tokyo, 1972).


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27. A Fine and Very Rare Italian Morion adapted for Japanese use Namban Kabuto circa 1580-1600 Of russet iron, the heavy one-piece morion with an almond-shaped crown rising to a short stalk at its apex and with an integral brim turned down at each side and rising to a prominent point at the front and rear; decorated with etched strapwork, together with stylised floral and geometric motifs, fleurs-de-lys and musical instruments. There are two areas of repair that have been redecorated, one consisting of a medallion clearly depicting an orb surmounted by a cross and the other containing a helmeted head. The helmet adapted for Japanese use by the traditional method of reversing it for wear, applying additional metal fittings for a neck-guard (shikoro) and fitting a crest holder at what has now become the front of the helmet to accommodate a Japanese fore-crest (meaidate). This gilt-bronze forecrest is secured with the use of gilded rivets that, as with the other adapted western helmet in this catalogue, item number 24, are also evident in a decorative context around the rim of the helmet: these rivets are of Japanese origin, as are the decorative star-shaped devices which replace the original lining rivets at the base of the helmet bowl. The underside of the helmet’s rim, which has its original rolled edge, lacquered red. There is no extant shikoro, or lining for this helmet but the interior and underside of the plate for attaching the shikoro have all been lacquered, or painted, in gold; lacquer-impregnated textile seems to have been used in this area, perhaps to help secure the plate since the rivets do not carry out this function. Height: 11N in Width: 9 N in Weight: 4 lb 6 oz It is interesting to note that both this helmet and item number 24 in this catalogue have the same red lacquer applied under their rims, of the type and colour that is often found on the inside of the face masks worn with traditional Japanese helmets. The idea behind the use of this colour was to create a more frightening appearance for the wearer and thereby terrify his enemies. Our helmet bears clear evidence of use. There are two patched repairs diagonally opposite each other low on its skull: these were clearly carried out during its working life. Because these patches have been relatively poorly decorated by comparison with the remainder of the helmet’s decoration, which is typical of the craftsmanship of a northern Italian armourer, the conclusion can be drawn that the repairs may well have been undertaken in Japan after the helmet’s transition from European to Japanese ownership. The repairs raise two important questions: how was the damage caused and why was one of the patches of repair decorated with a Christian symbol, the orb and cross that represents Christ’s presence on earth? It is possible that a bullet passed through the helmet and that a senior samurai with Christian connections used this opportunity to express his faith. Such a display, however subtle, on an obviously exotic, and thus noticeable, helmet would have been a very risky venture with possible fatal consequences for its owner since although Christianity – in the form of Roman Catholicism – had been tolerated for the sake of profitable trade with the Portuguese, Christians were increasingly persecuted. By 1639 Christianity had been prohibited and the Portuguese and their proselytising Catholic missionaries


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had been expelled from Japan, being barred from returning on pain of death. Trade with Japan was continued thereafter by Protestant Dutch merchants. However, in the late 16th century there had been several successful Japanese missions to Europe under the jurisdiction of the Jesuits, notably that of 1582 under Father Alessandro Valignano. This mission included four young Japanese converts to Christianity who were of noble birth; they eventually met Pope Gregory XIII in March 1585 and, following their audience, were showered with gifts. According to the missionary Luis Frois, who at the instigation of Valignano wrote an extensive History of Japan, the mission was presented with two Milanese helmets: there is conjecture that the armour at Wakayama T¯osh¯og¯u came from the same source. The question must therefore be asked about both converted Italian helmets offered in this catalogue: if trade was through the Portuguese then how did these Italian helmets arrive in Japan? It is known several of the kings of Portugal had Milanese armour, the earliest attributable example being that of the young King Sebastian (reigned 1557-78): details of a decorative pattern of one of his armours bear a strong similarity to the decoration on the helmet illustrated here. Were such examples of fine Italian armour deemed important enough to be given as diplomatic presents to the Japanese, thereby winning favour with the military rulers of Japan, or were they, as with our two converted namban kabuto, originally included as part of the gifts to Valignano and his young converts? Another, perhaps remote, possibility is that Tokugawa Yorinobu, despite his direct family links to the sh¯ogunate, might secretly have been a Christian. This last possibility, together with the connections to the similar armour at Wakayama T¯osh¯og¯u raises questions that could, after intensive research, be answered in time. Literature:

Anderson, L.J., Japanese Armour (London, 1968), pp. 68-69. Bottomley, I., & Hopson, A.P., Arms and Armour of the Samurai (New York, 1988), pp. 140-143. Daehnardt, R., ‘The Armour attributable to King Sebastian’ Boletim da Sociedade Portuguesa de Armas Antigas, Vol. II, No. 1, (Maio, 2001), pp. 3-12.


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28. An Exceptionally Rare and Important German Gilt Metal Plate commemorating the Turkish Siege of Vienna of 1529 circa 1580-1600 Circular, formed of gilded copper alloy with a dished centre, the border of the front finely engraved with foliate strapwork and the centre occupied by an engraved depiction of the Emperor Charles V and the Archduke Ferdinand as mounted armoured knights, riding over fallen, turbaned Turks in front of an encampment of three tents. The reverse engraved overall with foliate strap-work, fruit and early Baroque iconography enclosing a square plaque engraved with the inscription: V VIENNA AUSTRIAE obsessa et liberata a Turcis Pannonia Turc¯a, Caesar, crudele furentem Profligat, Solvens dura obsidione Vien¯a Wien in Osterreich vom Turcken belagert und Erlediget Als der Turck lag mit grosser macht Vor Wien doch dessen ungeacht Kaiser Karl sein Leib thet wagn Samptlich hat in die flucht geschla gn 1529 Diameter: 8 D in Our fine and remarkable plate commemorates the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V (1500-58) and was probably made in southern Germany shortly after his death. The scene decorating the front of the plate is partly derived from the fifth in a series of twelve engravings executed by Dirck Volkhertsz Coornhert (1522-90) after designs by Maerten van Heemskerck, (1498-1574). The armoured knights, the Emperor Charles and his brother Archduke Ferdinand, to the left are closely based on the print, as are the defeated Turks in the foreground and right, but the remainder of the design, the tented encampment to the right, is wholly different and does not appear in any other print in the series. The set of engravings, called ‘The Victories of Charles V’, was produced in 1555-56 and first published by Hieronymous Cock in Antwerp in 1556, running into editions until the 1640s. Coornhert’s series of engravings is not known in a German edition, their captions only appearing in Latin, Spanish and French: this may reflect the linguistic priorities of the emperor, who was said to speak Spanish to God, Italian to women, French to men and German to his horse. Most of the Latin text engraved on the rear of our plate appears beneath Coornhert’s fifth engraving, representing the Liberation of Vienna from the Turkish siege of 1529, the whole Latin inscription, which is in hexameter verse, may be translated: Vienna in Austria besieged by the Turks and liberated; in Pannonia [a Roman province in eastern Europe] the Emperor


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destroyed the Turk cruelly raging, relieving Vienna from her harsh siege. The engraver has employed a conventional contemporary truncation in his text, using a¯ , rather than am to terminate two of the words. The Roman numeral V at the top of the panel indicates that our plate, like Coornhert’s engraving, was the fifth of its series. The other, rhyming, inscription engraved on our plate is less formal and, in Old German, may be freely translated: Vienna in Austria, besieged and cut-off by the Turks who surrounded it in great strength, was relieved by the Emperor Charles who risked life and limb to put them to flight. The rhyming nature of the German text on our plate is consistent in its style with the French and Spanish rhyming texts that appear in the captions to the engravings. Born in 1500, Charles was the grandson of the Emperor Maximilian and ruled the Hapsburg possessions in the Netherlands from 1515, becoming King of Spain in 1516 and Holy Roman Emperor in 1519. His domains included Spain and large parts of modern Germany, Austria, Hungary, Italy and the Balkans as well as Belgium and the Netherlands. The Hapsburg domination of mainland Europe faced three principal threats: French territorial ambition, the growth of Protestantism and the encroachment of the Ottoman empire. Charles managed to contain the first threat, was unable to do more than discourage the second but succeeded on several occasions in limiting the third. Hapsburg propaganda represented Charles as a contemporary Charlemagne in his defence of the Church against Protestant heresy and the infidel Turk and in his imperial rule. By the end of his reign, from which he abdicated – exhausted – in 1556, his achievements were due for celebration. During 1548-49 Charles and his son and heir, the future King Philip II of Spain, had travelled in state through the Hapsburg lands so that the Emperor could present his son to his future subjects. The celebrations in the cities that lay upon the route of the Imperial progress employed all the decorative skills available from local craftsmen in the creation of triumphal arches, tableaux vivants, processions and platforms for speechmaking: Maerten van Heemskerck was involved in the decorations for the Imperial entry to Lille in 1549. By the end of his reign, Charles’s greatest achievement was recognised, and celebrated, as his limiting of the extent of Turkish power in Europe and at least three of Heemskerck’s woodcuts reflect this. Under Sultan Suleiman ‘the Magnificent’ (ruled 1520-66), a large Turkish army had besieged Vienna in 1529. For reasons unconnected with Charles V, the Turks lifted the siege after a short time but returned three years later, when Charles V and his armies confronted and defeated them. Nearly thirty years later, when Charles’s achievement in limiting Turkish expansion not only at Vienna but also along the Mediterranean coast was being celebrated, it is not surprising that it was the date of the first siege of Vienna, 1529, and not that of the second, 1532, that appeared in Heemskerck’s woodcut – thus implying that Charles had been active against the Turks for longer than was the case. Literature:

Rosier, B., ‘The Victories of Charles V: A series of prints by Maarten van Heemskerck, 1555-56’, Simiolus, Vol. XX, No. 1, (1990-91), pp. 24-38. Veldman, I.J., The New Hollstein: Dutch and Flemish Etchings, Engravings and Woodcuts 1450-1700 (Rosendaal, 1994), 2 vols., catalogue no. 528 (from series 524-535).


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29. A Very Rare and Unusual Shot-Proof Close Helmet German circa 1620-30 The two-piece skull having a low, file-roped comb, an integral deep neck lame and a gilt plume holder fixed centrally at the base of the comb. The visor with a lateral vision slit with a medial bar and a gilt lifting peg on the right side. The upper bevor has a slightly concave profile and, on either side, eight breath holes around a central one, being attached to the bevor by a peg and hook on the right side. The bevor is secured to the skull by a leather neckstrap and has a wide, integral neck plate matching that on the skull. The visor and both bevors all pivot together on rosette-headed rivets. The main edges of the visor, upper bevor and neck plates are decorated with very fine filed roping to match the comb; they also have recessed borders. A row of rivets just behind the edge of the neck plates secures the lower edge of a surviving lining made of canvas covered with red velvet and stuffed with horsehair. Height: 14 in Width: 11 in Weight: 11 lb 4 oz The art of the armourer had always been best expressed in the provision of a defence that allowed its wearer to move freely and also prevented injury. There are records of armourers, from the last quarter of the 14th century, ‘proving’ their products by shooting crossbow bolts at them. The text of Der Weisskunig, begun about 1516, says that Konrad Seusenhofer, court armourer to Emperor Maximilian I, knew how to harden steel so that it could not be pierced by a crossbow bolt. Another contemporary commentator, writing in 1509, said that the best iron and steel for armour came from Innsbruck, where they tested their armours by shooting crossbow bolts at them and where they were considering making breastplates resistant to shot from arquebuses. It was the development of reliable and effective firearms and their increasing use on the battlefield that was to pose armourers with their supreme challenge. Perhaps the most common solutions were to add thickness or additional layers to the armour but these generally made the armour heavy and less useable. Armourers, therefore, expended much effort trying to find the right sort of iron or steel to resist the round lead balls shot by hand guns. Here they came upon an almost insuperable problem for guns were not the only threat. To resist and deflect sharp blades the metal needed to be hard, but to absorb the impact of bullets it needed to be soft and pliable. It could not be both at the same time. In recent years, the Medici archives have yielded six recipes dating between 1560 and 1604 specifically intended to address this problem. They detail various heat treatments for ferrous metal that involve hardening the outer surface by rapid cooling while allowing the inner surface to cool slowly, and thus remain soft and pliant, by covering it with an insulating layer. Another approach, favoured in England and Holland in the early 17th century, was to make armour of two or three thinner layers, thus not increasing its weight. While in theory this could allow for the use of differently tempered metals, recent testing of a number of these suggests that this was not done and, rather, that the armourers relied upon the inherent greater strength implicit in layering which necessitated the bullet defeating successive skins of metal. There seems little doubt,


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however, that despite all this technical ingenuity, many armourers found that the most acceptable solution to defeat the bullet, or at least to persuade a prospective purchaser of the efficacy of the defence, was to make the armour thicker and heavier. That is what the maker of our close helmet has done. In the early and mid-16th century most close helmets for field use seem to have weighed between 5 and 8 pounds and, as the century wore on, some became even heavier. Our helmet weighs about 11 pounds, about twice the mean weight of a mid-16th-century close helmet and as heavy as many helmets described as being for siege use. It would certainly not have been comfortable to wear for long periods and it reminds us of Sir Edmund Verney’s response to King Charles I when the king summoned him to service against the Scots in 1639 and instructed him to come equipped with a full cuirassier’s armour. Verney obeyed his king’s call for help but remarked that it will kill a man to serve in a whole cuirass and made it clear that if he had a light pot helmet he would use it but that my whole hellmett will bee of noe use to mee at all. The unfortunate


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results of the additional weight was indeed an increasing tendency not to wear so much armour or for so long: this practice can be traced back to the second half of the 16th century and often had painful or deadly consequences. Famously, Sir Richard Hawkins (?1562-1622) complained that, during his 1593 voyage of exploration to the Pacific Ocean, although he had taken plenty of armours with him yet not a man would use them, but esteemed a pott of Wine a better defence than an armour of proofe : to him, this was great madnesse and a lamentable fault. Our helmet is known to have been among the large collection of arms and armour belonging to the Dukes of Brunswick that was preserved until 1945 at the Schloss Blankenburg in the Harz Mountains; thereafter it was kept at Schloss Marienburg, the details of which can be found within ‘A History of the Brunswick Collection’ at the front of this catalogue. It was also included among the items shown in an exhibition at the Tower of London in 1952-53, in which it was Item Number 48. In the catalogue, it was said to be German: while the Brunswick provenance makes this likely, the form of our helmet could also suggest that it was made in Holland. It was also described as having a modern lining. However, recent examination has shown that the lining of our helmet is made in the correct way and using the correct materials: it is therefore very probable that it is the well-preserved original. Provenance:

Historic Collections of the Dukes of Brunswick successively at Schloss Blankenburg and Schloss Marienburg.

Exhibited:

Tower of London, Exhibition of Arms, Armour and Militaria lent by the Duke of Brunswick, 1952-53, No. 48.

Literature:

Grancsay, S. V., ‘Maximilian Armour’, Arms & Armor: Essays by Stephen V. Grancsay from the Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 1920-1964, (New York, 1986), pp. 22-24. Hawkins, Sir R., The Observations of Sir Richard Hawkins Knight in His Voyage into the South Sea A.D. 1593, (London, 1622), p. 150. de Reuck, A., Starley, D., Richardson, T. and Edge, D., ‘Duplex armour: an unrecognized mode of construction’, Arms & Armour, Vol. II No. 1, (Leeds, 2005), pp. 5-26.


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30. A Fine and Rare English Breech-Loading Magazine-Primed Flintlock Fowling Piece by Robert Rowland dated 1718 Formed of a polished three-stage barrel, with swamped muzzle and steel foresight, the tapering twelve-sided breech engraved with leaf sprays and strawberry foliage, struck with the London Gunmakers’ Company proof marks and the mark of Robert Rowland, R beneath a crown, and signed on the top flat R ROWLAND LONDINI; the bevelled back-action lock, engraved with stylised foliage and signed R. ROWLAND, with stepped and dished extended tail, swan-necked cock with engraved and faceted top-jaw and steel, tubular priming powder magazine incorporated under the pan and fitted with a hinged cover chiselled in the form of a demon mask; the figured walnut butt, decorated with carved leaves, inlaid with silver wire scrolls around the breech tang and furnished with steel mounts; the mounts comprise a long sideplate, pierced and chiselled with a scrolling serpent at the rear, extended at the front with a solid plate to provide support for the barrel pivot and finely engraved with foliage and a monster, and a trigger guard that can be drawn backwards to release the catch securing the barrel against the breech face, engraved on the bow MR JOHN TOURNAY NEAR LONDON BRIDGE OR NEAR KINGSTON IN SURREY 1718, and an elaborate butt plate that incorporates a swivelling cover behind which a trap has been cut in the wood of the butt for ball, the plate being engraved with a hare amid trees on the trap cover, five dogs running around the rim of the trap recess, a sportsman, with his dog, shooting at birds in a tree and, on the long chiselled tang, exotic birds attacking a monster. The Tournay Arms and Crest are engraved on a cast and chased, silver, demonmask escutcheon. The gun is complete with one of its original reloadable steel cartridges. Overall length: 54 in Barrel length: 37 D in Robert Rowland was first recorded in 1704 when a number of barrels, including a bullet-gun barrel, were impounded by the Gunmakers’ Company. He was next recorded, as a gunmaker working in the Parish of St James’s, Westminster, when an apprentice, Simon Holmes, was indentured to him in 1712. He obtained his Freedom by Redemption in April 1715 and was subsequently appointed a Steward in August 1718. He probably set up in business on his own account in 1717, having served two years as a journeyman. He died in 1721 and his will was proved the following year. Although he is perhaps best known as the maker of the surviving group of ‘Tournay guns’, other examples of his work have survived. These include both muzzle-loading and breech-loading holster pistols, the latter having a loading plug screwed into the top of the barrel, in which a deep slot has been cut across the top to serve as a backsight. Two other guns, similar in style and construction to our one but with shorter barrels, are also recorded as having been at one time in the Clay Bedford Collection and the W. Keith Neal Collection. No inventory of the collection of guns belonging to John Tournay is known and therefore its extent is determined by the surviving examples. In addition to our gun there is a very similar one, but with a rifled barrel, in the Royal Collection at Windsor Castle: this gun is dated 1719. The other examples are a pair of brass-mounted blunderbusses dated 1718, a single steel-mounted blunderbuss dated 1719 and another steel-mounted blunderbuss that, although typical of the work of Robert Rowland, is actually signed, on the lock and barrel, J. TOURNAY.


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Loading a gun from the muzzle was to be by far the most common construction for both military and sporting guns until it was replaced by the introduction of cartridge-based, gas-tight, breechloading guns in the middle of the 19th century. However, gunmakers introduced a variety of breech-loading systems throughout the evolution of the hand-held gun. The turn-off system, allowing the barrel to be unscrewed for loading, was certainly widely used on pistols and indeed guns, albeit with relatively short barrels, from the middle of the 17th century. Our rare gun is evidence of Robert Rowland’s inventiveness: the barrel is made to pivot, and hence open at the breech, allowing a loaded cartridge to be inserted into the exposed breech. An alignment lug on the cartridge ensures the correct registration of its vent with the hole in the side of the barrel leading from the flash-pan. The lug also provides the means of extracting the used cartridge from the gun. While certainly effective, the system used on our gun had two disadvantages. Firstly, the loaded cartridges were both heavy and cumbersome to carry over any distance and, secondly, the breech could not be made gas-tight. Gases produced on ignition, while propelling the charge down the barrel, also escaped backwards through the inevitable gap between the cartridge and the inside of the barrel. Consequently, at this stage of its development, it did not replace the alternative systems available at the time.


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While something is known about Robert Rowland, the maker of our gun, little is known about John Tournay, the owner of the gun. It appears that his branch of the greater Tournay family had its origins in the Lincolnshire village of Caenby, which lies about eight miles due west of Market Rosen. John Tournay’s grandfather, described as ‘John Tournay of Clifford’s Inn’, appears to have been born in Caenby but in due course he moved to London. His eldest son, our John Tournay’s father, was called Anthony. He was a member of both the Ironmongers’ Company and the Skinners’ Company, and although his three sons, John, Thomas and Edward, were apprenticed to him through the Skinners’ Company, his business was that of ‘Iron Merchant’. This is confirmed by the inscription on a gravestone in the floor of the church of St Magnus the Martyr, London Bridge, detailing members of the family of a Mr Joseph Dash. Anthony Tournay, in addition to his business interests, was also involved in his community. In 1702 he was elected a Common Councillor of Dowgate Ward in the City of London, which comprises the Parishes of All Hallows the Great and All Hallows the Less, and was a Deputy from 1703 until his death in 1726. He was also an active member of his church – St Mary Abchurch – and was one of two Churchwardens between 1703 and 1705. John Tournay’s role in his father’s business is confirmed in Anthony Tournay’s will, dated 13th February 1722: To dutiful son John Tournay for his extraordinary care in keeping testator’s books and otherwise managing his affairs for many years past £2000 above what he has had ..... also to said son my chariot and machine also the harness and horses and other furniture belonging to the said chariot and machine together with the silver tea kettle and lamp with the frame and plate thereto belonging. Also the large pair of monument silver candlesticks with the snuffers and stand belonging to them and six gilt silver spoons and the large gilt silver spoon used as a ladle… The will also confirms that, ‘he has already advanced all his children according to his own desire’. In view of the praise and bequests to John Tournay, it would appear that his purchase of guns from Robert Rowland in no way diminished his father’s endearment of him. John Tournay married Elizabeth Green at All Hallows, London Wall, on 18th March 1706. Sadly, they had no children and she died in July 1733 aged 63. John Tournay died on 9th February 1736 aged 53. The absence of any male successor was of great concern to John Tournay, so much so that, even before Elizabeth had died, he set out his solution in his will of 27th December 1732. He left his estate to his collateral relations on


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condition that they should all reside in Sandown House in Esher and christen their respective eldest sons ‘John Tournay’ in order to preserve his name: this did not take place. For as long as the Tournay guns have been known, the inclusion in the engraving on each gun of the addresses to which it should be returned in the event of it being lost or stolen has intrigued collectors: this is found on the outside of the trigger guard bow. On our gun and the one in Windsor Castle the direction is: MR JOHN TOURNAY NEAR LONDON BRIDGE OR NEAR KINGSTON IN SURREY 1718. On the 1719 single blunderbuss previously mentioned the Surrey address includes the additional words ATT SANDY CHAPPELL. However, on each of the pair of the brass-barrelled blunderbusses, the address is even more helpful, stating: MR JOHN TOURNAY AT SANDY CHAPPELL NEAR KINGSTON IN SURREY OR ATT YE OLD SWAN STARES NEAR LONDON BRIDGE 1719. The differences are most helpful, becoming more specific but not perhaps suggesting any change of address. The London address is relatively straightforward to confirm. The Tournay family associated with John Tournay are buried in the vaults of St Mary Abchurch, which is in the parish of St Laurence Poultney. A short length of the north bank of the River Thames is included in the Parish. Old Swan Stairs were to be found to the west of London Bridge and Fishmongers’ Hall, at the southern end of Ebbgate Lane and immediately to the east of Old Swan Lane. An 1805 map confirms that Ebbgate Lane had become either ‘Ebbgate’ or just ‘Swan Lane’ and, in addition, it notes that at low tide the depth of water off Old Swan Stairs was 12 I feet. The Surrey address is however more problematic. When John Tournay wrote his will at the end of 1732 the first line read ‘John Tournay of the parish of Esher in the County of Surrey’. However, in 1719 the blunderbuss address is ‘Sandy Chappell near Kingston’. The History and Antiquities of the County of Surrey by the Reverend Owen Manning and William Bray, published in 1809, confirms that ‘Esher, a village sixteen miles from Westminster Bridge, is on the road through Kingston to Portsmouth’. Perhaps, on this basis, Esher could be ‘Near Kingston’. It is also known that, some time after May 1715, John Tournay agreed to purchase ‘The Manor of Sandon alias Sandon Chaple alias Burwood’ for £3,600 from George, Earl of Halifax. However, because of an apparently defective title, the sale was not completed prior to John Tournay’s death in 1736. Manning and Bray also note that, at the time of the agreement to purchase, ‘John Tournay Esq. resided at Esher in the large house late Mr Barwell Smith’s on the left of the London road before coming to the church’. This was St George’s, which was replaced by Christ Church on the opposite side of the road in 1854. Writing in 1948 Ian Anderson in his History of Esher tells us that John Tournay’s house was called Sandown House, describing it as ‘the manor-house situated on the Portsmouth Road just above the present council offices and demolished about 1930 to make way for shops’. The council offices were originally built in the early years of the 19th century as a large


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residence called ‘The Clock House’. Unfortunately, for reasons that are unclear, it was renamed ‘Sandown House’ and, as a consequence, subsequent historians have become confused, asserting that John Tournay once lived in the council offices. The link therefore between John Tournay and the Manor of Sandon is clearly established; what is less clear concerns his name for his house. Maybe he was in error or ‘Sandy Chappell’ was the common name for the ‘Manor of Sandon’ but which, perhaps understandably, has not been recorded. In his will John Tournay also instructed Barwell Smith, his executor and brother-in-law, the very next day after I am buried employ a proper person to insert my wife’s and my own name in the marble monument which I have erected and affixed in the wall of the Church of St Mary Abchurch in order to perpetuate our names as I have done those of my late dear father and brother. However, although this monument survived into the early 20th century with his instructions implemented, it remains today on the church wall but the inscription is illegible. In spite of his best intentions, John Tournay is only remembered today through the wonderful and unique guns he commissioned from Robert Rowland nearly 300 years ago. In 1977, our gun was purchased at auction in London for £5,940 by the British Rail Pension Fund, as part of its portfolio of antiques and works of art, and placed on loan to the Royal Armouries. Between October 1978 and March 1996 it was exhibited at The Royal Armouries, H.M. Tower of London, being removed from loan and sold at auction in 1996 when it realised over £36,000. Exhibited:

The Royal Armouries, H.M. Tower of London 1978-1996.

Literature:

Blackmore, H.L., A Dictionary of London Gunmakers 1350-1850 (Oxford, 1986), p. 171. Neal, W.K. and Back, D.H.L., Great British Gunmakers 1540-1740 (London, 1984), pp. 399-404.


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31. An Exceptional Austrian Tinder Lighter with Imperial associations by Felix Meier Vienna circa 1730 In the form of a flintlock pistol, the flat damascus steel lockplate with faceted edges decorated in gold false damascening with a scene of a stag hunt involving dogs and a hunter with a gun; swan-necked steel cock, with damascus steel top-jaw, inlaid in gold with scrollwork; faceted damascus pan and steel also inlaid in gold with strapwork; beneath the pan in gold the name of the maker, FELIX MEIER, and, to the rear of the cock, IN WIEN. Figured walnut stock carved in low relief with scrolls and strapwork, the back of the grip stamped with an inventory number 127. Ormolu mounts chased and engraved with symmetrical Cscrolls and strapwork; the butt cap having pierced tangs on either side of the grip, below which is a male head on one side and a female head on the other; in the centre of the butt cap, a lion’s mask forming the sprung cover of the butt trap. The side-plate pierced with strapwork and C-scrolls, involving two hounds chasing a rabbit. The cover to the barrel tang incorporating a grotesque mask within scrolls and strapwork. Set into the top of the wrist is a cast and chased gold escutcheon in the form of conjoined oval Shields of Arms surmounted by the coronet of a German or Austrian prince or grand-duke, the dexter shield, which is encircled by the Collar of the Imperial Order of the Golden Fleece, with faint traces of heraldry and the sinister shield engraved with a representation of the Austrian Bindenschild in petra sancta (gules, a fess argent). Between the trigger guard’s front tang and the ramrod pipes a pivoting two-legged stand is set into the underside of the stock: this automatically opens when the trigger is pulled. The ‘barrel’ consists of a steel upper gutter, hinging to the left and opening automatically when the trigger is pulled, and a lower fixed gutter and muzzle-ring of ormolu containing the ormolu candle-holder synchronised to be elevated by the action of the spring that lowers the legs when the trigger is pulled. The upper ‘barrel’ is of damascus steel with an etched ground to emphasise the patterning of the metal: this inlaid and chased with gold ornament in the form of scroll and strap-work incorporating a boar’s head, hounds and a standing female allegorical figure with long spear and sitting dog, representing the goddess Diana. Overall length: 10 D in Barrel length: 5 in Before the invention of the friction phosphorus match by the English chemist John Walker in about 1826, tinder lighters were very important everyday tools. They were the only ready-for-use portable source of ignition and were important in creating the heat and light essential for normal living. The name ‘tinder’ comes from the highly combustible and partly scorched linen that was used as the fuel for the sparks created by striking a piece of steel with a piece of flint. The tinder ignited easily and, after blowing the smouldering tinder into flames, it was an easy task to light a candle or a length of match. Flint and steel were used in this way in the Middle Ages and special tinder boxes were in use in Europe by the early 16th century at the latest, remaining a feature of ordinary life for some 300 years. Soon the humble, everyday tinder box came to be made not only in its simple form but also in a number of decorative and ingenious mechanical forms, the


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equivalent of modern ‘executive toys’. There were inkstand lighters and candlestick lighters: there was even an alarm clock lighter supposedly invented in the mid-17th century by one Caravagio of Siena. We were able to offer a fine alarm clock lighter by Johann Maurer of Berlin, circa 1730, in our 1999 catalogue, Item No. 34. By an ironic twist, given that many scholars believe that the flintlock mechanism on guns derived from the tinder lighter, one of the most enduring of these types was that of a flintlock pistol. These came in a wide variety of forms but most had a deep pan to hold the tinder, while some had adjacent candleholders and some had legs too. The most developed, sophisticated and technically complex form is represented by our very fine example of the genre. It was made to look, at first sight, just like a real pistol but, when the mechanism is cocked and the trigger pulled, not only does the flint strike the frizzen and create sparks but also the barrel cover opens, exposing the tinder, and the legs and candle holder spring into place, thus performing the whole lighting function automatically. Laid on a desk or library table this practical but decorative lighter would look exactly like a functioning pistol: perhaps this was part of the intention. Felix Meier, the maker of our tinder lighter, worked as a gunmaker to the Hapsburg court in Vienna. He was born in Wangen in the Allgäu about 1672. He came to Vienna 1699 and was received as a master in city’s gunmakers’ guild in 1702. In that same year he married Anna Barbara, a daughter of the gunmaker Georg Keiser, with whom he co-operated at least once. He died at Freysingerhof in 1739. He was one of the first Austrian gunsmiths to make guns with damascus-twist barrels and these became something of a speciality of his: one even appears on our lighter where the overall effect is to maximise the quality of the piece. Like other of his contemporaries working for the Hapsburg Court, Meier made both wheellock and flintlock guns, the former still being in demand for target shooting and deer hunting. His work was of the highest quality and examples of it can be seen in the collections of the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, the Musée de l’Armée, Paris, Il Armeria Reale, Turin, the Livrustkammaren, Stockholm, and the Bayerisches Nationalmuseum, Munich. As well as making a wide variety of firearms, Meier also seems to have specialised in making this type of automatic tinder lighter. A small number of examples are known, all, like ours, lavishly decorated. A very similar lighter by Meier is in the


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Wallace Collection, London (No. A.1206). The notable difference between the two is that within the barrel of the Wallace Collection example is not a candle holder but a corkscrew-like holder for a sulphur spill. Another similar lighter by Meier was exhibited at the Barking Museum, Eastbury Manor, in 1938. The subject matter of much of the beautiful decoration that embellishes our fine tinder lighter is hunting. From the fact that on the sides of the butt are depicted the contemporary heads of a man and a woman, it is reasonable to surmise that both the original owner and his wife were devotees of the chase. Traditionally, our tinder lighter is supposed to have belonged to Karl Albrecht, Elector of Bavaria. Born in the Netherlands in 1697, he inherited the electorate of Bavaria from his father, Maximilian Emmanuel in 1726, having been created a Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece in 1715. He was elected Holy Roman Emperor in 1742, taking the title Charles VII. He died in January 1745. In 1722 he had married the archduchess Maria Amalia or Amelia, one of only two surviving children of the Hapsburg Emperor Joseph I: she was a remarkable woman with a passion for shooting and hunting. In September 1716 Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1689-1762) was travelling through Vienna: she wrote to her sister that she had spent some time at court and seen how the court ladies passed their time in a diversion wholly new to me. She described how a garden alley was turned into a miniature shooting range, with painted targets, and how the ladies of honour, headed by the two arch-duchesses armed with fine light guns vied with each other for rewards of jewels, lacquer, fans and such valuable trinkets. Lady Mary noted that the Archduchess Amelia carried off the first prize. After Amalia and Karl Albrecht were married in 1722, they were able to indulge in their joint love of hunting. The most tangible souvenir of the pair’s passion for the hunt is the exquisite Amalienburg in the grounds of the Nymphenburg palace, their summer residence in Munich. This enchanting hunting lodge was built by Karl Albrecht for his wife, whose name it bears, and is decorated throughout with rococo hunting trophies and with portraits of the elector and his wife in hunting dress. The Marstallmuseum at the Nymphenburg also has the Electress’s hunting sleigh, a tour-de-force of carving that uses the motifs of the goddess Diana, the huntress, in honour of Amalia’s passion. There is no doubt that Karl Albrecht and Amalia would have appreciated the decoration on this beautiful tinder lighter and so must be worthy contenders to have their portraits depicted on


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an item so lovingly dedicated to the sport of hunting. The armorials set in gold into the wrist of our tinder lighter strongly imply a marriage between a German prince and an Austrian archduchess and may well confirm that it was indeed manufactured for them. Provenance:

A German princely family.

Literature:

Blair, C., (ed.), Pollard’s History of Firearms, (Feltham, 1983), p. 42. Exhibition catalogue, Early Firearms of Great Britain and Ireland, (New York, 1971), No. 194, p. 173. Hayward, J.F., The Art of the Gunmaker, (London, 1963), Vol. II (1660-1830), pl. 42b. Mann, Sir J., Wallace Collection Catalogues: European Arms and Armour, (London, 1962), Vol. II, pp. 573-574. Montagu, Lady Mary Wortley, Letters from Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, (London, 1906). Norman, A.V.B., Wallace Collection Catalogues: European Arms and Armour Supplement, (London, 1986), p. 246.


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32. A Fine and Important German Sporting Crossbow Saxon by Johann Gottfried Haenisch circa 1740 The steel bow, with chamfered edges and the stamped mark of a crossbow bolt on the right belly, bound with cord at either end, a braided cord running the length of the back and attached to the tiller by original cord bridles; the bow and bridles decorated with ten green pom-poms and retaining the original string. The wooden tiller expands around the lock area and then tapers to the butt, being reinforced by a brass band around the sides and bottom of the tiller, the band engraved with symmetrical scrollwork and, at its widest point, a grotesque face; forward of the band, on the underside, a hole angled up through the tiller, into which a pin or pricker can be inserted to set the sear. With the exception of the cheek-piece, the sides and bottom of the tiller are covered with strips of natural staghorn. The cheek-piece covered with finely engraved bone bearing a landscape scene of a wolf carrying a lamb in its mouth while being pursued by two hounds and with panels of rococo shell scrollwork above and below. The top of the tiller also covered with bone and engraved with both symmetric and asymmetric rococo scrolls, a garland and a foliate mask topped with fruit, the open mouth of the foliate mask surrounding the hole in the top of the stock through which a setting pin or pricker could be inserted to set the rear intermediary lever. Behind this is another hole through which a pricker could be inserted to set the trigger mechanism. The release nut set into the top of the tiller is made of bone; to the rear of the release nut, a horn bolt-spring is attached to the top of the tiller; behind this is a round rear sight with a vertically adjustable sighting aperture hinging forward over the spring. To the rear of the lock an iron lug passes through the tiller to engage the cranequin spanning device. The lock has a complex set trigger mechanism set within the tiller: externally, there is a lever trigger bound with cord and retaining two green pom-poms but this has been disabled and converted into a trigger guard; in front of this lever trigger guard is a thumb safety catch that works on the end of the internal pressure bar and, beneath this, is a metal plate drilled with a hole for the cord that sets the trigger and, in front of this, a hole for the thin hair trigger itself. Length: 29 in Width: 23 I in It would appear that our fine sporting crossbow was either made or refurbished by Johann Gottfried Haenisch (1696-1778), a crossbow maker to the Saxon court in Dresden. For a time he was assisted by a son of the same name (1728-57). A considerable number of crossbows similar to ours have been attributed to the elder Haenisch and the initials I.G.H. appear on several of them. These include a very similar crossbow to ours, dated 1742 and also with natural staghorn veneer, that was sold by us in 1985 to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (Acc. No. 1985.248). In the Historisches Museum, Dresden, is another bow of this same type, also dated 1742 and bearing the initials I.G.H.: it seems highly likely that they once formed a pair, pairs of crossbows being not unknown, although very rare. Other bows of this type by Haenisch in the collections of the Historisches Museum, Dresden, include the following examples: a very similar bow, dated 1737 and with natural staghorn veneer (No. U.263) that forms part of a hunting garniture including


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two boar spears, two pistols, and a wheellock gun – all made by different makers – and that was exhibited in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s exhibition The Splendor of Dresden in 1978; another, dated 1740 and with natural staghorn veneer (No 363); a similar bow, dated 1718 but with smooth bone veneer all over (No U.67). Others were recorded in the de Cosson Dictionary in the Royal Armouries Library as being in the Dresden Gewehrgalerie (No. 749-84, dated 1719, and Nos. 967996): it may be presumed that they also survive in the Historisches Museum, Dresden. Johann Gottfried Haenisch the elder also made crossbows of more conventional modern, 17thand 18th-century style. These have cheek butts and claw releases and were spanned by pusher bending levers; they also generally have wooden tillers inlaid with horn or bone engraved with decoration in the form of foliate scrolls and involving such ornamental motifs as trophies, classical figures, masks, hunting scenes and the Arms of the owners. There is one in the Glasgow City Museum and Art Gallery dated 1741 (Acc. No. E.1939.65.ti) and three others have been sold at auction: one by Rudolph Lepke in Berlin on 8th October 1919 (lot 720, dated 1733) and two by Christie’s, London, one dated 1738 and bearing the initials I.G.H. (15th June 1977, Lot 151) and the other bearing the initials I.G.H. and Arms of Brühl, Prussia and Saxony, and Oppell, Saxony (20th July 1983, Lot 213). A similar, but superior, bow is in the Historisches Museum, Dresden, dated 1719 (No. U.252), has similar decoration inlaid in tortoiseshell and silver and is complete with a spanner (No. U.221) and a bolt box inlaid to match (No. U.253). The two Johann Gottfried Haenisches, father and son, worked for the court of Frederick Augustus II, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland (reigned 1733-63): the elder Haenisch had also worked for Frederick Augustus I, Elector of Saxony from 1694 and King of Poland from 1697. However, the association of the Haenisch family with the Saxon court was much longer than the period of their two working lives: members of the family had been employed as crossbow makers by the Saxon court since 1554. There is also evidence that a member of the family was working in Dresden during the period 1857-66. The Saxon court employed a crossbow ‘spanner’ until 1918 to repair and keep in order the court crossbows: the last of these was also a member of the Haenisch family. It is therefore possible that successive generations of Haenisches were employed by the Saxon court for over 300 years. The other crossbows similar to ours that either bear the initials of, or have been attributed to, Johann Gottfried Haenisch the elder have a number of distinct characteristics. Most have natural


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staghorn veneer on the sides and underside of the tillers. All have smooth bone veneer to the top of the tillers and some of them have it on the sides too: this bone veneer is engraved with both symmetrical and asymmetrical rococo scrollwork and sometimes also with scenes based on 17thcentury themes and designs – the bear hunt on the crossbow in the Metropolitan Museum (Acc. No. 1985.248) being an example of this. Finally, most have a metal reinforce around the tiller beneath the release nut. There has long been debate about whether these ‘old-fashioned’ cranequin crossbows were actually made by Haenisch or whether they were old crossbows from the Saxon court armoury that he refurbished. Either option remains a possibility and, indeed, it may be that he refurbished some and made others from scratch. However, the weight of evidence would appear to lie on the side of refurbishment, many different scholars feeling this to be the case, including the great Swedish expert on crossbows, Josef Alm. When Bashford Dean was cataloguing a cranequin-spanned crossbow in the Stuyvesant collection (No. 146) which he attributed, from the engraved decoration on the top of the tiller, to a member of the Haenisch family, he was forced to conclude that it had been made in the 16th century and he felt certain it was one of a series made for the Dresden crossbow guild. Of course, both Alm and Dean could have been wrong or, in the case of the Stuyvesant bow, it might be argued – although probably wrongly – that it was made by an earlier member of the family. However, there are other reasons for believing that most of this type of bow were not made by Haenisch but were refurbished by him. Those that survive do not seem to have cranequins made for them, which one might expect for an entirely new product, but, instead, are associated with older cranequins. For example, the crossbow dated 1737 in the Historisches Museum Dresden (No. U.263) and forming part of a hunting garniture is associated with a cranequin dated 1624. Even firmer evidence is provided by the crossbow dated 1718 in the Historisches Museum, Dresden (No. U.67). It has a steel bow painted with Renaissance grotesque and strapwork ornament that clearly dates from the 16th century and the sides of the tiller are covered with smooth horn or bone engraved with formal Mannerist ornament: it would appear that this is a bow that Haenisch only refurbished. Finally, there is the form of the lock. During the 16th century, the form of lock mechanism used in cranequin crossbows changed at least three times. The dates of the changes are not known for certain but the progression is clear. The traditional form of lock had the long external trigger lever operating against the action of a spring directly on the release nut. Some time towards the beginning of the 16th century, this mechanism was improved by inserting a sear lever between the trigger and the nut. Some time later, the lock was made considerably more complex. The old trigger lever was disused and became the guard to a smaller trigger that was separated from the release sear by two intermediary levers. To set the mechanism a pin or pricker first had to be inserted from the underside of the tiller to engage the sear with the nut and then had to be inserted into a hole on the top of the tiller to engage the rear intermediary lever with the trigger. This may seem a very complicated and time-consuming way of cocking the crossbow lock but it had the major advantage of providing a very light trigger pull which was a great aid to accurate shooting. Examination in 2002 by X-Radiography of an apparently late 16th-century cranequin crossbow in the Royal Armouries (XI.85) has shown that this bow has, in fact, been modified to take account of all these changes: from simple lever trigger to complex set-trigger mechanism. It is hard to believe that, more than a century later, Johann Gottfried Haenisch would still be going to all the additional trouble of making the most complicated form of lock imaginable when simpler solutions were ready to hand. Certainly, our crossbow appears from an external examination to have this most complex form of lock but until


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further examination of all those attributed to Haenisch has been undertaken we cannot be absolutely certain that this is typical. Our fine crossbow is an exceptionally elegant example of its type and although it does not bear the initials of Johann Gottfried Haenisch it may be confidently ascribed to him, whether as maker or refurbisher, because of the natural staghorn veneer, the metal reinforcing band and the form and quality of the engraved decoration. The use of rococo shell scrolls suggests that it dates from the 1740s, when the rococo style was fully adopted in the German-speaking lands. However, one element of the decoration shows French influence from a considerably earlier period. The engraved foliate mask on the top of the tiller is clearly inspired by the patterns used on French guns in the second half of the 17th century. Specifically, it seems to have drawn inspiration from the fruit-topped grotesque foliate masks such as those that appear among the designs published by C. Jacquinet in about 1660 and which he took from the work of the King’s gunmakers Thuraine and le Hollandois.

Literature:

Alm, J., European Crossbows: A Survey, transl. Bartlett Wells, H. and ed.Wilson, G.M.,(Leeds, 1994), pp. 55-61. Dean, B., The Collection of Arms and Armor of Rutherfurd Stuyvesant, (published privately, 1914), p. 114, pl. XL. MS De Cosson Dictionary, (Royal Armouries, Leeds). Exhibition Catalogue The Splendor of Dresden: Five Centuries of Art Collecting, (New York, 1978), pp.128-129. Exhibition Catalogue, Barock in Dresden 1694-1763 (Leipzig, 1986), p. 276. Grancsay, S.V., Master French Gunsmiths’ Designs of the XVII –XIX Centuries, (New York, 1970), pp.10-11, pl. 31. Heer, E., Der Neue Støckel, (Schwäbisch Hall, 1978), Vol. I, p. 484. Schöbel, J., Princely Arms and Armour: Treasures in the Dresden Collection, (London, 1975), p. 208, fig. 160.


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33. A Fine Cased Pair of English Flintlock Holster Pistols by T. Richards Birmingham 1749 Formed of slightly belled, round barrels stamped with the maker’s mark TR, with rear sighting flats engraved with strap-work and foliage and with silver fore-sights and engraved grooved tangs; rounded locks with swan-necked cocks and signed T. RICHARDS; figured walnut full-stocks carved with asymmetrical foliage in relief behind the barrel tangs; large swelling butts finely inlaid with silver wire scrolls and dots, with cast and chased silver mounts comprising trigger guards with foliate finials struck with the London hallmarks for 1748-49 and the maker’s mark of Jeremiah Ashley, side-plates formed as trophies for arms, escutcheons each supported by a trophy of arms, surmounted by a helmet and engraved N.P. Wathen Esqr, and large butt-caps decorated with strap-work and a grotesque mask in relief and engraved William Palling Esqr, Browns Hill * 1749 and silver ramrod pipes retaining their silver tipped wooden rods, one with ‘pig-tail’ worm, the other plain; in their later mahogany case with green baize lining and with John Richards’s trade label for ‘No. 54 Strand London’ in the lid. Overall length: 18 N in

Barrel length: 12 in

In 1743 William Palling, who never married, wrote his will, in which he left his entire estate to his younger brother and executor Edward Palling. Subsequently, on 24th June 1753 – some four years after he purchased our pistols – he wrote a codicil to his will in which he asked Edward to take care of his collection of guns, to keep them clean and ensure that they remained in the family. He added that, all his life – although he was still to live another sixteen years until his death in 1769 – he did always take a great delight in them. He also recorded that his collection of guns amounted to no less than 80 pieces, comprising 10 blunderbusses, 26 pistols and 44 guns. About a quarter of the collection was made up of English 17th-century sporting guns and blunderbusses that formed the original family armoury. Perhaps these had sparked an interest in guns, as the young William Palling grew up, because the remainder of the collection had been made for him by contemporary gunmakers, principally by a Birmingham gunmaker, T. Richards – probably Thomas Richards, between 1747 and 1753. During the 17th and 18th centuries the Palling family were clothiers from the small town of Painswick in Gloucestershire. William Palling, who ordered our pistols, as well as his father and his uncle all describe themselves as ‘a clothier’ in their wills: a clothier can be defined as someone who makes cloth. There has been some confusion as to exactly what constituted ‘Browns Hill’ – the name that is to be found on many of William Palling’s guns: it was, in fact, the name of William Palling’s estate, which included both land and buildings. The present Brownshill Court, situated high above the Painswick valley with the most glorious views over the surrounding countryside to the west, is on or very close to the site of the house – variously described as ‘The Guidehouse’ and ‘The Goodhouse’ – in which William Palling was born. He continued to live there after the death of his father, William, in 1732 and that of his mother, Sarah, in 1737. However, in 1757 his uncle,


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who was also called William Palling and who lived at Wick Street, left his estate to him. It is probable that this bequest enabled William Palling to demolish his existing house and build a superior house on its site, commemorating his achievement with the installation, in one of its principal rooms, of an impressive chimneypiece bearing the inscription William Palling Brownshill MDCCLX (1760). William Palling left the estate to his younger brother, Thomas, who in turn left it to his nephew William Caruthers in 1782. The present Brownshill Court is the result of the major rebuilding and enlargement of William Palling’s house during the remainder of the 18th century. In spite of William Palling’s instructions in his will, his collection of guns was eventually dispersed. In 1987, 36 guns were donated to Stroud Museum, Gloucestershire. Although many of them are housed in the Museum’s reserve collection, a number are on display in the new Museum In The Park that opened in 2001 in Stratford Park on the northern outskirts of Stroud. These include three enormous duck guns, which are between 7ft 6in and 9ft 3in long, and which, while not punt guns, would need to be used with a rest or other support, together with a fine under-and-over sporting gun with fixed locks: all four guns were made by T. Richards. A further group of guns from the Palling collection were in the collection of W. Keith Neal, the famous connoisseur and collector. These included two pairs of massive brass-barrelled blunderbusses, both by T. Richards dated 1747 and 1753 respectively, a light duck gun with a 48 inch barrel by I. Bulles dated 1749, five pairs of holster pistols, all by T. Richards variously dated between 1749 and 1750, one pair of pistols and a single pistol with turn-off barrels, all by T. Richards dated 1750 and a silver-mounted single sporting gun with left-hand lock, again by T. Richards, circa 1750. The W. Keith Neal group also included a fine pair of silver-mounted holster pistols by T. Richards, dated 1749, with later, replacement, locks by William Smart of Gloucester. These are discussed and illustrated in Great British Gunmakers 1740–1790 by W. Keith Neal and D.H.L. Back and are described as being the most outstanding pistols surviving from the Palling collection. These pistols are virtually identical to our pair of silver-mounted pistols by T. Richards discussed here. They are indeed of outstanding quality and provide incontrovertible evidence of the standard of workmanship which, at least in the upper echelons, the Birmingham gunmakers in the mid-18th century were quite capable of achieving.


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It appears that in 1748 or 1749 William Palling ordered two pairs of virtually identical silvermounted holster pistols from T. Richards. At that time there was no Assay Office in Birmingham and so Richards turned to London and Jeremiah, or perhaps Jeconiah, Ashley for the necessary silver mounts. It can be no accident that he chose the capital’s leading maker of silver mounts: examples of Ashley’s work are to be found on guns produced by the leading London gunmakers throughout the middle years of the 18th century. The two pairs of pistols were originally almost, but not quite, identical. They differ in three respects: the silver wire inlay around the escutcheon, the relief carved foliage behind the barrel tang and the form of the trigger. At the time of their manufacture, the pistols would not have been cased, although they might have been supplied in woollen bags, and it would have been very easy to mix them up. When two of the pistols, our two offered here, were cased by John Richards in London for presentation to N.P. Wathen, long after William Palling’s death, one pistol from each pair was chosen: why, we will never know. However, the two pistols not presented to Wathen, and which eventually entered the W. Keith Neal collection as referred to above, subsequently had new locks fitted, probably to bring them ‘up to date’. Our unaltered pistols preserve the very minor differences that would occur in pistols made by even the best gunmakers, if no specific instructions were given to the stocker or the silver wire inlayer. The name on the escutcheons of our pistols is N.P. Wathen Esqr.. Nathaniel Peach Wathen was the second son of Sir Samuel Wathen of Stratford House, Stroud, who was created a baronet on 16th March 1803. The Wathen family’s link with the Palling family is interesting. William Palling, who ordered our pistols, had two older sisters, Sarah and Mary, and three younger brothers, Edward, Thomas and John. However, although some of them married, none, apart from Mary, had any children. She married William Caruthers and had two sons. The elder son was also christened


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William: he inherited the Brownshill Estate from William Palling’s younger brother and executor Thomas Palling, following the death of his wife in 1782. William Caruthers, the younger, married Grace White of Stonehouse Court and they had nine children: seven girls and two boys. Their first child was called Mary and she married Nathaniel Wathen on 19th April 1791. There must be a strong possibility that our pistols were given to Wathen in celebration of his marriage and new association with the Palling family. The casing of the pistols by John Richards, who is believed to have originated from Birmingham, includes his delightful trade card for No. 54 The Strand, London: he was at this address between 1786 and 1808. A subsequent member of the family – E. Caruthers Little – writing at the beginning of the 1890s, recalled visiting the house as a boy during the mid to late 1830s, The billiard room on the first floor used to be hung with a number of duck and other guns or fowling pieces some of which were of great length. I well remember as a boy taking down some of the flint guns from the hooks and racks which still remain on the sides of the walls and pretending to let them off, though some of them were almost too heavy to lift without resting on the billiard table. Several of these guns or fowling pieces, of which some are very curious, with barrels one above the other, are still in the possession of the owner of the Browns Hill estate, one of them having the inscription ‘William Palling, Browns Hill, 1740’ engraved on the stock of it. The old gamekeeper, John Cripps, was at the time of my boyhood visits in Mr Caruthers’ service, and his shewing off the various guns to us boys made a lasting impression on me. Our exceptional pair of elegant, flintlock holster pistols, with their spectacular, over sized, remarkable, silver-mask butt-caps, their great length and particularly fascinating double family provenance provide a wonderful link with those clothiers of the Painswick valley, the Palling family, and especially William Palling who created his extraordinary collection in less than ten years with the help of one of the finest gunmakers of his day. Literature:

Caruthers Little, E., Our Family History, (Gloucester, 1882). Neal, W.K. and Back, D.H.L., Great British Gunmakers, 1740-1790 (London, 1975), pp. 118-120, pls. 455-474.


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34. A British Officer’s Rare and Important Embroidered Mitre Cap Grenadier Company 65th Regiment of Foot 1758-68 Formed principally of four panels of silk velvet, the largest of which comprises the stiffened mitre-shaped front and the three remaining panels the back. The velvet of the front white, with the upturned false peak and ground for the Royal cypher faded scarlet; the rear panels faded scarlet; the rear flap white. The front panel applied with embroidery in silver wire satin stitch comprising the Royal cypher GR encircled by a wreath of laurel, the subsidiary stems of which are of green silk with the main stems and berries formed of gold wire and small sequins; the laurel wreath flanked by descending sprays of acanthus leaves in silver wire satin stitch, gold wire and spangled sequins; the laurel wreath surmounted by a monarchial crown in proper colours in gold wire satin stitch, silver sequins and red and green silk. The upturned false peak edged by latticed couched silver wire embroidered with the motto NEC ASPERA TERRENT [‘Difficulties be Damned’] in black silk and enclosing a horse courant in latticed couched silver wire upon a ground of gold satin stitch and green silk. The front and false peak edged with silver lace. Each of the three back panels bears applied embroidery in the form of descending acanthus sprays in silver wire satin stitch with green silk stems and small gold sequins, a train of silver wire and small sequins separating the sprays; dividing the panels are two bands of convex silver lace. The flap bears applied embroidery consisting of a flaming grenade in latticed couched gold wire with flames of scarlet and black silk and gold and silver wire, the grenade flanked by the numerals 6 and 5 in silver wire satin stitch; the grenade and numerals flanked by the device of a sword entwined with a laurel spray, all in gold and silver wire satin stitch with green silk stems; the flap edged with a band of silver lace. The interior of four panels of sewn white flannel. Height: 12 in Width: 9 in Caps such as our exquisite and important example were worn by the officers of British infantry regiments’ grenadier companies from the latter years of the 17th century until 1768, at which date embroidered caps for grenadiers were replaced by tall caps of bearskin with metal front-plates. The form of our fine cap is typical of the last thirty years during which embroidered grenadier caps were worn, circa 1738-68, by which time their height, the magnificent quality of their construction and the lavish detail bestowed upon their decoration had all reached their zenith. It is estimated that fewer than thirty such caps now exist, from all the regiments of the regular British army as well as from the Militia and several short-lived regiments of the 1740s: these are now dispersed about the world in public and private collections. Our cap is, therefore, an exceptionally rare survival of an item of military headdress of the period of the Seven Years’ War, 1756-63, or French and Indian War 1754-63, as that conflict is known in North America, where it began two years earlier than in Europe. As well as being exceptionally rare, it is in extraordinarily good condition, with virtually no moth damage; the fading of its silk velvet surface is not surprising, considering its age and the fact that the cloth would have been dyed with fugitive natural dyes.


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The style and type of its splendid embroidery, the form of its lace and the types of sequins used in its decoration are all typical of the better quality extant examples of such caps and all are found on at least one much earlier cap (National War Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh Castle; an officer’s mitre cap of a Scottish regiment dating from the 1690s, No. M1985.128). The 65th Regiment of Foot owed its existence to the outbreak of war between Britain and France in Europe in 1756. The necessity of fighting a land war in Europe as well as reinforcing the garrisons in North America and capturing French possessions in the Caribbean required an enlargement of the army: existing infantry regiments were rapidly augmented by a battalion in 1756 to become two-battalion regiments. By two years into the war, in 1758, it was decided that the second battalions functioned better as separate regiments and so the 2nd battalion of the 12th Regiment of Foot became the 65th Regiment of Foot on 21st April 1758: its uniform coats had white lapels and its officers’ coats were decorated with silver lace. In line with the practice at the time, the right-flank company of the 65th Foot would have been designated the grenadier company and would have been filled by soldiers selected for their height and strength. The grenadiers’ role in battle was to act as storm troops: they supplemented their muskets, bayonets and hangers with grenades that they would throw into the fortified positions of their enemies. To be a grenadier was to be a member of an élite unit and the embroidered caps worn by grenadiers marked them out by accentuating their height. To be an officer of grenadiers was a very grand thing indeed and, appropriately, the officers’ caps were also very grand, their individual grandeur reflecting the length of the individual officer’s purse and the skill of his hatter. The grenadiers’ caps conformed to the regulations of the time, in that their fronts and back flaps were the same colour as their regimental coats’ facing colours and they were decorated with the same colour of lace as worn on the coats: thus, white fronts and silver lace in the case of the 65th. In a unique occurrence for a regular regiment of the British Army, another mitre cap of the 65th Regiment of Foot is known to exist. This other example is part of the collections of the National Army Museum in London ( No. 1989-09-103), having been transferred from the Victoria & Albert Museum, which acquired it in 1864. Although conforming to regulations in terms of its facing and lace colours, its body is of woollen cloth, rather than silk velvet, and the embroidery of its back panels simpler than in our example: clearly, the museum’s cap once belonged either to an officer less able to afford headdress as magnificent as our example or to a senior noncommissioned officer of the grenadier company. The 65th Regiment of Foot was ordered on active service in 1758 as part of an operation to capture French islands in the Caribbean. Following his inspection of the regiment prior to its embarkation, Lord Ligonier – the commander-in-chief – wrote to William Pitt – the Prime Minister – that the 65th’s soldiers were really fine, soldier like, cheerful and healthy, soldiers of one of the best young [recently formed] regiments. The 65th embarked from Gosport, Hampshire, in midOctober 1758 and arrived, via Barbados, off Martinique four months later. Attempts to capture Martinique proving abortive, the force sailed on to Guadeloupe, the capital of which, Basseterre, was bombarded, stormed and captured late in January 1759. The 65th remained in garrison on Guadeloupe for the next three years, providing a company for the eventual capture of Martinique in February 1762 and for that of Cuba in August of the same year. The 65th came home, via Antigua, late in 1763 and was quartered in Ireland until September 1768, when it went to Boston, Massachusetts, arriving in that city in April 1769.


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Although we can never be sure which of the officers of the grenadier company of the 65th Regiment of Foot owned and wore our superb cap, its very survival, as well as its intrinsic splendour, remains a testament to its high quality and to the care lavished upon British officers’ uniforms in the high days of Britain’s first emergence as a world power. Literature:

Lawson, C.C.P., A History of the Uniforms of the British Army, (London, 1941, repr. 1963), Vol. II, pp. 30-32 (illustrating the V&AM/NAM example). Sumner, The Rev. P., ‘An Officer’s Grenadier Cap, 65th Foot, c.1760’, Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research, Vol. XX (1941), p.105 and facing plate (illustrating the V&AM/NAM example). Wylly, Col. H.C., The York and Lancaster Regiment (London, 1930), pp.1-15.


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Courtesy of The Old Print Shop, New York


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35. The Important and Historic Silver Box presented by the Trinity House of Kingston-upon-Hull to Captain Sir Richard Pearson, Royal Navy for the Protection of the Baltic Fleet in an action with John Paul Jones in Bonhomme Richard 1779 The rectangular box having concave sides engraved with urns, swags, festoons and ovals enclosing six-petalled motifs, the hinged lid embossed with the Arms of the Trinity House of Kingston-upon-Hull superimposed upon a trophy of arms and with a fluted and ribbed lip, the flat base all engraved, with corner florets flanking an oval laurel wreath containing the inscription, The Corporation of the TRINITY HOUSE of HULL to Sir Richard Pearson CAPTAIN of his Majesty’s Frigate the SERAPIS for having judiciously protected the whole of the Baltic Fleet and gallantly engaging a Superior Force Commanded by PAUL JONES 23 d.. Septr.. 1779. The interior gilded and the lid struck inside with the London hallmarks for the assaying year of 1783-84, the standard mark and the makers’ mark of Thomas Phipps and Edward Robinson. Together with the detached wax seal of the Trinity House contained in a circular two-part silver box, both parts being struck with the standard mark and the makers’ mark of Thomas Phipps and Edward Robinson and a vellum document admitting Captain Sir Richard Pearson, Royal Navy, to the Guild or Brotherhood of Masters, pilots [and] Seamen of the Trinity House of Kingston-upon-Hull signed by the Warden, John Huntingdon, and dated 29th May 1783. Height 1 N in Width 4 N in Depth 3 B in Our exquisite box commemorates one of the most significant episodes in the early history of the Navy of the United States of America: the battle off Flamborough Head, on the east coast of England, in the evening of 23rd September 1779. It is one of several items of plate presented to Pearson who, although losing his ship to John Paul Jones and becoming a prisoner, managed to prevent a joint French and American privateer force from attacking a convoy of supply ships approaching England from the Baltic Sea, thus saving the convoy together with the valuable supplies that it carried.


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Just as the War for American Independence divided opinion in both Britain and the fledgling United States of America, so contemporary views of John Paul Jones varied widely. For many in Britain, he was – simply – a pirate and renegade who, had he ever been captured, would have been hanged with minimal legal process and ceremony; in the United States he was a Patriot, pure and simple; in France – allied to the USA on the basis that ‘my enemy’s enemy is my friend’ – Jones was a privateer, a type of licensed pirate that the French had employed effectively against British merchant shipping in previous wars. Now, Jones is widely regarded in the United States as the ‘Father of the US Navy’ and celebrated in his native Scotland, a country that he once had in uproar as his ship cruised its coasts preying on ports and shipping. His story is the stuff of legend and, like all legends, has undoubtedly been magnified and embellished in the telling; that notwithstanding however, there is no doubt that the famous battle off Flamborough Head in September 1779 justly deserves to be remembered as his ‘finest hour’. But if Jones won that battle, why did the captain whom he defeated, and whose ship he captured, receive numerous gifts – such as this silver box – from British institutions as well as a knighthood from his king? Richard Pearson’s story is, if less brilliant than Jones’s, equally of interest in the context of its time. He first went to sea at the age of about 14, in 1745, transferring in 1750, during peacetime, to the service of the East India Company’s mercantile marine before being commissioned lieutenant in the Royal Navy at the end of 1755, when renewed war with France was imminent. Although he persistently distinguished himself in a variety of ships, actions and theatres of war, being twice promised promotion to master and commander, it was not until 1770 that he was thus promoted and so took command of his own ship. Three years later he was promoted post-captain. One of his first duties once war with the American colonies had broken out in 1776 was to escort a convoy


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Captain Sir Richard Pearson, Royal Navy, 1731-1806. Charles Grignion, 1780. © National Maritime Museum, London, (BHC 2942).

across the Atlantic to Quebec, on which station he remained until 1778. He returned to Britain to be given command of the heavy frigate HMS Serapis in March 1778 and took her to the Baltic Sea, from which he was returning, together with the armed merchantman Countess of Scarborough (Captain Thomas Piercey) and a large convoy of merchant vessels, when they made contact with John Paul Jones’s cruising squadron off Flamborough Head in the evening of 23rd September 1779. Accounts differ, in almost every detail, of the battle that followed but contemporary chroniclers and later historians agree that it was one of the bloodiest ship-to-ship actions fought during the American War for Independence. By the time that Jones sighted the Baltic convoy his original squadron – never the most disciplined of such formations – had been reduced to four ships: his own, Bonhomme Richard, an old French East Indiaman mounting 42 guns, the frigates Pallas and Alliance, of 32 and 40 guns respectively and the corvette Vengeance, mounting 14 guns. Against this amount and weight of armament, Pearson’s two ships mounted 64 guns: 44 in HMS Serapis and 20 in Countess of Scarborough. News of the depredations of Jones’s squadron had reached Pearson and so he was suspicious of these four ships as they hove into view from the south. Ordering the convoy to ‘crowd-on sail’ and make for Scarborough, Pearson set off to intercept the strange ships, thus placing his ships between them and the convoy, which escaped unharmed. A three-hour running battle then developed, between Bonhomme Richard and Serapis on one hand and Pallas and Countess of Scarborough on the other, Vengeance staying out of range and Alliance behaving erratically throughout the action. Whereas Serapis had the advantage of weight of ordnance over Bonhomme Richard, an advantage strengthened by the bursting of several of Jones’s heavier guns in the early stages of the exchange


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of broadsides, Jones countered this advantage by closing with Pearson’s ship so that his sailors could use small-arms and grenades against the Royal Naval crew. Both ships had fought each other to a standstill, and Bonhomme Richard was clearly sinking, by the time that Pearson sought Jones’s surrender. It was at this point that Jones is said to have replied,

Surrender? I have not yet begun to fight! Although the exact words ascribed to Jones are probably apocryphal, this defiance was entirely in character and the story is helped by the fact that it was at this stage in the battle that the conflict finally turned Jones’s way. A grenade dropped from one of Bonhomme Richard’s yards exploded a quantity of loose powder charges aboard Serapis and, finally, Alliance contributed to the action by rounding the sterns of both ships and pouring a raking broadside into both. While Alliance’s poor gunnery simply wrote off Bonhomme Richard, it finished Serapis’s ability to continue the action and so, with the convoy out of harm’s way, Pearson struck Serapis’s flag. In engaging Jones’s superior force as he did, Pearson saved the Baltic convoy and its valuable contents as well as terminating Jones’s marauding career off the British coast. Bonhomme Richard


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'Memorable Engagement of Captain Pearson of the Serapis with Paul Jones of the Bon Homme Richard...Sep 23 1779'. Engraved by Daniel Lerpinière and James Fittler after the painting by Richard Paton. Published 1781 by John Boydell. © National Maritime Museum, London, (PAH 7777).

sank some hours after the end of the action and Jones transferred his crew to Serapis, taking her into Franco-American service and her crew into captivity. Pearson’s captivity was short-lived however. He had returned to Britain by the spring of 1780, when he was knighted by King George III after successfully defending his actions at a court of enquiry into the loss of HMS Serapis. Nor was a knighthood Pearson’s only reward. The Royal Exchange Assurance Company, which insured the Baltic convoy, presented him with a large silver cup (now in the Royal Naval Museum, Portsmouth) and he received more items of silver from his home town, Appleby in Westmoreland, as well as from the east coast ports of Hull and Scarborough, from the Russia Company and from the towns of Dover and Lancaster. Our fine box was presented to Pearson, along with another to Captain Piercey of the Countess of Scarborough, in the late spring of 1783, the archives of the Trinity House of Hull recording, in its Order Book for that year: 29 May 1783 That Sir Richard Pearson late commander of H.M Frigate the Serapis and Thomas Piercey late commander of H.M Armed Ship the Countess of Scarborough who are coming to this Town be presented with the Brotherhood of this House and invited to take Breakfast here on Saturday next and that their Branches be inclosed in Silver Boxes as a mark of this House’s regard to them for having preserved a very numerous and valuable Fleet of Ships from the Baltic when attacked by a much superior force of American and French Ships of War under the command of Paul Jones Our box is one of two given to Pearson by the City of Kingston-upon-Hull, the other being presented by the Corporation of the City together with the freedom of the borough: it was, no


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doubt, to receive this municipal honour that Pearson travelled to Hull late in May 1783. Pearson continued to serve actively in the Royal Navy until 1790, when he retired to the Royal Naval Hospital, Greenwich, being appointed Lieutenant-Governor of the Hospital in 1800 and dying there in 1806. Hull’s Trinity House was one of several such bodies in Britain in 1783, Trinity Houses having been established from the medieval period onwards in several ports. Their function was originally to act as religious guilds to care for the welfare of their members but they rapidly became craft guilds aimed at the protection of their members’ livelihoods as well as to care for impoverished seamen. These functions gradually grew until the Trinity Houses had jurisdiction over sections of coastline and responsibility for the maintenance of buoys and lights as well as the power to adjudicate in disputes between ship owners and ship masters. Although the level of coastal jurisdiction gradually diminished from the mid-19th century, the Hull Trinity House still exists today as a charitable organisation in Kingston-upon-Hull, maintaining almshouses and a school that was established two years after the presentation of our silver box to the heroic Captain Sir Richard Pearson, Royal Navy. Provenance:

Collection of N. M. Flayderman.

Literature:

Clowes, W.L., The Royal Navy, a history from the earliest times to the present. (London, 1899), vol. IV, pp. 35-39. The Naval Chronicle for 1810, vol. XXIV (July-December), pp. 353-361.


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36. A Very Fine and Rare Japanese Sawasa Small-Sword made for the European market circa 1780 The hilt of cast, chased and engraved sawasa alloy: the pommel, knucklebow, quillon block and quillon all with black lacquered floral and flowering-branch decoration in relief upon a gilt granulated ground contained in lobed cartouches of various shapes, the base of the pommel incorporating a trefoil; the grip diagonally wrapped in a continuous band with black lacquered floral decoration in relief upon a gilt granulated ground; the twin oval shells with black lacquered decoration in relief upon a gilt granulated ground, the borders of the shells incorporating a trefoil within gilt panels in their outer black-lacquered edges on both sides and the centres of the shells decorated with trees, flowers, birds, figures and buildings. The double-edged blade of flattened elliptical section engraved, blued and gilded in a panel, the engraving including the number 1414 on a scroll, a depiction of a running fox or wolf, a trophy of arms and a winged cherub’s head. Overall length: 38 N in Blade length: 31 N in Sawasa-hilted swords of the fine quality of ours are rare, as witnessed by the fact that we have offered only one in our catalogues since 1995: our 2001 catalogue, Item No. 45. Our exquisite small-sword dates from about the last quarter of the 18th century, its finely cast, chased and engraved hilt being mounted upon a European, probably German, blade. The form of our sword’s hilt is entirely typical of European small-sword hilts of the period, although the diagonally wrapped style of its grip would not be out of place, though differently decorated, on a French small-sword of circa 1730-40, an example of which we offered in our 1997 catalogue, Item No. 42. The alloy now known to collectors and curators as sawasa, rather than shakudo, is composed principally of copper with small quantities of silver, gold and arsenic: it lent itself easily not only to the casting of small objects such as sword hilts but also to their fine decoration through chiselling and chasing. An additional essential quality for sawasa is the application of surface decoration through the use of black lacquer and fire gilding, the Dutch/Japanese term sawasa deriving from the Japanese verb sawasu, meaning ‘applying a thin coat of black lacquer in order to prevent the surface from becoming shiny’.


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We have seen earlier in this catalogue – items 24 to 27 – how the arrival in Japan of foreign merchants and soldiers from the 16th century onwards influenced Japanese arms and armour: in the field of the decorative arts this was, of course, a two-way traffic that grew gradually as the Japanese talent for decoration through the use of lacquer became known in the West. We have also seen how the proselytising of Roman Catholic missionaries led eventually to Portuguese merchants being banned from Japan and how this left the field of trading open to the more religiously pragmatic Dutch; thus it was that the majority of sawasa wares found their way, through both trade and individual commissions, to the United Provinces of the Netherlands. Sawasa wares were first obtained by Dutch merchants from their trading base at Deshima, an island in the harbour of Nagasaki, during the last quarter of the 17th century and are thought to have been produced in workshops in the Nagasaki area. During the 18th century, the areas of production grew as the Dutch empire spread though the Far East and by the end of the century sawasa was being produced in Tonkin (present-day Vietnam), Batavia (present-day Jakarta on the Indonesian island of Java) and Canton in China as well as in Japan itself. The earliest sword hilts produced in sawasa were made for hangers that, in their form, were typically northern European: most surviving recorded examples are fitted with northern European blades. It is clear that sawasahilted swords were greatly prized, not only by their owners who had commissioned them but also by their original owners’ descendants. An example of a sawasa-hilted hanger presented to Johann van Leenen (1643-1721) in 1700 by the Dutch East India Company remained preserved in his family down the generations and is now in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, (No. NG-1978-99). The ownership of a sawasa-hilted sword also indicated wealth since, although the swords themselves were expensive, the ability to own one implied a strong – and thus lucrative – connection with the Far Eastern trade through the immensely rich and influential Dutch East


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India Company. It is, therefore, no surprise to see a sawasa-hilted sword being worn in a portrait, such as that of Mattheus van den Broucke (1620-85) by Samuel van Hoogstraten of Dordrecht circa 1672 (Rijksmuseum No. SK-A-158) in which van den Broucke displays, among other symbols of his success, wealth and influence, a sawasa-hilted smallsword. Gentlemen’s fashion in the 18th century seems to have dictated, especially during the midcentury, that a gentleman’s ‘fashion accessories’ should be en suite : his sword hilt should match the case of his watch, his snuffbox and the top of his cane; it might even match the buckles on his shoes and at the knees of his breeches. Thus, sawasa ware was used to manufacture all these types of object as well, unsurprisingly – given the well-known Dutch fondness for tobacco as well as its production in the East Indies, as boxes for tobacco and pipes. The fine complexity of the smallsword hilt allowed the sawasa craftsman wide and free range in the use of iconography: our exquisitely decorated sword would have been worn with great pride and display by its original owner, who would certainly have been rich and very probably a merchant or administrator involved with the Dutch East India Company and its activities in the Far East. Literature:

Exhibition catalogue, Sawasa: Japanese export art in black and gold 1650-1800, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, 1998-99 (Amsterdam 1998). Stevens, H., Dutch enterprise and the VOC 1602-1799, (Amsterdam, 1998). Zandvliet, K. (ed.), The Dutch encounter with Asia 1600-1950, (Zwolle, 2002), pp. 47-49, 186-188, 222-223.


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37. An Exceptional Pair of Highly Important, English Cased, Flintlock Pistols with Royal Associations by John Knubley London 1786-87 Having flat locks with swan-necked cocks and rollers to the steels; with gold-lined pans, the locks blued and enriched with inlaid gold engraved decoration incorporating borders of formal leaf-work and trophies of arms, flags and martial musical instruments on all parts, the trophies in front of the cocks including cannons, from the carriages of which spring engraved ribbons. The walnut full stocks inlaid with engraved silver plaques consisting of foliate scrolls, flowers and, on either side ahead of the locks, trophies of arms. Around the breeches, cast silver plaques feature flowers, foliage and fruit with, to the left of the breeches, trophies of martial musical instruments. In the centres of the pistol grips, cast silver plaques comprise oval escutcheons surmounted by helms and surrounded by trophies of arms. The principal mounts cast in silver: the butt caps featuring multiple trophies; the trigger guards having martial figures on their bows, with formal leaf work engraved on the front and rear and trophies with classical busts as the front finials, the rear tangs struck with London hallmarks for the assaying year of 1786-87 and the partly defaced maker’s mark WK. Two ramrod pipes, the ramrod heads and fore-end caps engraved with opposed, repeated, serpentine blades and the rear pipe finials cast with trophies. Side plates cast and pierced with martial trophies within foliate borders. Smoothbore, blued, octagonal barrels with inlaid gold engraved decoration on all visible faces consisting of formal leaf-work, foliate scrolls and trophies, the top flat with a ribbon engraved KNUBLEY GUN MAKER & SWORD CUTLER. CHARING CROSS. LONDON. The later oak case, with brass fittings and a green baize lining, containing a selection of tools and accessories including: patches, tow, cleaning rod, jag head, bullet mould, powder ladle, powder measure, screwdriver, flint bag, bullet bag, pricker and an exceptional silver-mounted powder flask, green shagreen-covered, the silver mounts struck with the London hallmark and the maker’s mark of Michael Barnett. The inside of the case lid bearing a maker’s paper label. Above the label is a bone plaque engraved A GIFT OF ARTHUR DUKE OF WELLINGTON TO THE PRINCE REGENT BRIDGE SALE 1911. Overall length: 16 D in Barrel length: 11 I in These fine pistols, dating from 1786-87, are especially interesting as they are very early examples of the fashion for things decorated in the Eastern manner or ‘Turkish taste’ that swept over Europe at the same time as the French ‘Empire’ style was developing. While some objects decorated in this opulent and lavish style were undoubtedly intended for Eastern Europe, Turkey, North Africa and the Middle East, many others seem to have been made to satisfy the fashion for oriental artefacts that developed in Western Europe. In London the fashion was advertised at the time as ‘Turkish ornaments in the newest taste’: our pistols are a very early example of this style.


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A particular feature of them is the steeply curved angle of the butt. This may derive from duelling pistols that had developed more steeply curving butts in the 1770s and was a style that, by the 1790s, was increasingly used for holster pistols too. It can be found on some near-contemporary pistols, mostly made for duelling, by the very best makers, such as Henry Nock, Robert Wogdon, John Manton and H.W. Mortimer. It is also present in the butts of some English pocket pistols with beaked or bird’s head pommels, including a four-barrelled pistol by Knubley in the Royal Armouries (XII.1720). This general form of butt also appears on some Turkish, North African and Caucasian pistols of the period: it might, therefore, have been considered at the time to be in the Eastern fashion or ‘Turkish taste’. Despite the abundance of inlaid silver that may, at first sight, appear alien to the traditions of English gunmaking and which gives these pistols their very distinct flavour, this decoration does not attempt to copy oriental styles. Rather, it uses traditional motifs – trophies of arms, running foliate scrolls, flowers, martial figures – in an opulent and massive style more reminiscent of the Eastern European taste, found – for instance – on Bohemian guns. The decoration of the barrels is pure Western European neo-Classical in form and shows no sign of any Eastern influence. The decoration of these pistols is thus a development of the continuing interest in oriental decorative arts that, in earlier 18th-century English gunmaking, had shown itself both in a fashion for ‘chinoiserie’ decoration and, occasionally, in the mounting of oriental barrels, both Turkish and Indonesian, in fine sporting guns. John Knubley, the maker of our magnificent pistols, was one of relatively few provincial English gunmakers who, towards the end of his career, moved to London and prospered. He was born in Otley, near Leeds, in the West Riding of Yorkshire in 1750; his father, also called John, was a master gunsmith in the town. John junior is first recorded as working in Otley in 1771, although the existence of a silver-mounted pistol signed by him and bearing hallmarks for 1766-67 shows that he was in business earlier. He married in Otley in October 1785 and also that year succeeded Thomas Gill in his business at 11 Charing Cross, London, where he worked as both a gunmaker and a sword cutler. By 1790 he was trading under the title of Gunmaker to the Prince of Wales (later the Prince Regent), the Duke of Clarence and Prince Edward. The existence of a bill for a sword, dating from 1790 and in the British Royal Archives at Windsor Castle, shows that he was also working as a Royal sword cutler. During this period he was also a contractor to the Board of Ordnance, supplying trade muskets, cannon locks, pistols and broadswords. He owned additional property in the Charing Cross area and in 1792 moved his shop to 7 Charing Cross, the address on the label in this case. Knubley obviously developed a highly successful business in London very quickly but did not long enjoy his prosperity since he died in February 1795. The printed paper label, which may have been put into the case between 1792 and 1795, when the pistols were returned for repair, bears the motto Nec Temere Nec Timide (Neither Rashly Nor Diffidently): this is one used by a large number of British families and may have been employed here to reflect Knubley’s attitude to gunmaking. His widow, Sarah, continued the business, in partnership with Samuel Brunn, until 1797. When Brunn left Knubley’s the business was taken over by John Mallett who continued to trade at 7 Charing Cross, using Knubley’s name and reputation, until 1803. Despite their London success, Knubley’s family did not lose touch with its Yorkshire roots. Sarah Knubley was bequeathed a business and an estate in Otley and a Benjamin Knubley, perhaps her son, is recorded working as a gunmaker at various addresses in Leeds from 1810 to 1842.


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The London silversmith who cast and chased the intricate and exquisite principal mounts for these pistols was the smallworker William Key who first registered his mark in December 1783 and who is recorded working at 64 Barbican from 1790 to 1793. The inlaid silver decoration on the stocks of these pistols is very similar to that found on a pair of flintlock pocket pistols with turnoff barrels, formerly in the collection of A.R. Dufty. These were sold between 1795 and 1797 by Samuel Brunn, when trading as Knubley, Brunn & Co., Charing Cross, London: they bear the silversmith’s mark long attributed to Moses Brent but which is now believed to be that of Michael Barnett who was active in Cock Lane, Smithfield, London from 1781 to 1822-23. They were exhibited at Willmer House Museum, Farnham, in 1962 and at the exhibition The Art of the Armourer at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, in 1963: they were sold at Christie’s, London, as Lot 236 on 26th October 1994. More formal and symmetrical anthemion scrollwork is also found in the silver inlaid decoration on another pair of pocket pistols with turn-off barrels by Brunn: these were formerly in the Clay Bedford collection. The decoration of our exquisite pistols may also be compared to another highly decorated pair of pistols dating from 1800-01. These were made by Knubley’s successor, Samuel Brunn, and embellished with silver decoration by Michael Barnett: we sold them in 1992 to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (Nos. 1992.330.1 & 2). They had previously been in the collections of Clarence Mackay and W. Keith Neal and had been sold twice by Christie’s, London, (27th July 1939, Lot 7; and 14th December 1976, Lot 5). Like our Knubley pistols, the pair by Brunn is said by tradition to have been made for HRH the Prince Regent. According to the museum’s report on recent notable acquisitions published in 2002 these pistols rank among the most lavishly embellished Neoclassical English firearms known, yet neither their barrels nor their stocks are as lavishly embellished as our earlier pair by Knubley. The trophies of arms on the stocks are almost identical on both pairs: they are formal and nearly symmetrical, with a central, vertical, cannon and surrounding flags and arms emerging from behind a double volute scroll in the form of a krater, a type of two-handled Greek vase, that acts as the washer for the barrel pin. Both pairs of pistols also exhibit the combination of engraved sheet inlay and opulent cast and chased mounts.


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However, our pair by Knubley also has some elements of the inlay cast and chased, a feature missing from the Brunn pair. Both pairs have trophies of arms on the locks, gold star decoration on lock screws and rollers on the steels. The same report of the Metropolitan Museum of Art notes that the mounts on the Brunn pistols, appear to be unique to British firearms, [and] were inspired by contemporary French Empire firearms. We have seen that these mounts are not unique but that they appear to belong to a small group of guns made by Knubley and his successor. If Brunn was inspired by anyone it would seem likely that he was inspired by the work of John Knubley. There are certainly marked similarities between our Knubley pistols of 1786 and the group made by Brunn between 11 and 16 years later and analysed above. The style became more formal as the taste for the neo-Classical took hold but the similarities are far more striking than the differences. However, the French connection should not be dismissed. Howard Blackmore suggested that Samuel Brunn may have been related to a Parisian arms maker and fourbisseur named Brun who is recorded as working in Paris 1812-18. In making this suggestion he was probably following John Hayward who stated, without giving any evidence, that Samuel Brunn was an immigrant to Britain. Hayward also detected foreign influence in Brunn’s work: this seems to lend weight to the suggestion that he was inspired by contemporary French Empire firearms. If Blackmore was right, perhaps Brunn was, indeed, a conduit between England and France. Of course a conduit gives access in both directions and so there is evidence of ideas and styles passing back and forth. It is certainly widely accepted that the great Nicholas-Noël Boutet, who ran the Versailles arms factory from 1792 to 1818, was heavily influenced by the British gun industry and adopted a number of styles and technical improvements that had been pioneered by British gunmakers. According to the plaque in the lid of the case, these pistols were presented by Field Marshal Sir Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, to the HRH the Prince George, the Prince Regent. Although no record of the ‘Bridge sale’ mentioned on the plaque has yet been found, this


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probably refers to the sale of the collections of the Bridge family whose ancestor, John Bridge (1755-1834), co-founded the firm of goldsmiths and jewellers that became Rundell, Bridge and Rundell, Goldsmiths and Jewellers in Ordinary successively to King George III, King George IV and King William IV. It is believed that John Bridge bought swords and other items from the Royal Collections at Windsor on the death of King George IV in 1830. There is no conclusive evidence, however, that these pistols were so acquired by Bridge. There is, however, no doubting the Prince Regent’s passion for guns, both old and new. George III’s eldest son, George, Prince of Wales, became Prince Regent in 1812, following his father’s final lapse into madness; he succeeded his father in 1820 as King George IV. An almost lifelong collector of firearms, the Prince of Wales was given a set of military arms when he was 11 in 1773 and continued to collect guns until his death in 1830, by which time he owned over 3,000. Literature:

Bailey, D.W. and Nie, D.A., English Gunmakers, (London, 1978). p. 48. Blackmore, H.L., Royal Sporting Guns at Windsor, (London, 1968), pp. 4, 12, 18. Blackmore, H.L., A Dictionary of London Gunmakers 1350-1850, (Oxford, 1986), p.128. Blackmore, H.L., Gunmakers of London Supplement 1350-1850, (Bloomfield, Ontario, 1999), pp. 52, 81. Dickens, B., ‘M.B.’ – The Gunmaker’s Silversmith, (privately published by the author, 1998). Grimwade, A.G., London Goldsmiths 1697-1837: Their Marks and Lives, (London, 1976), pp. 226-228, 570. Gusler, W.B. and Lavin, J.D., Decorated Firearms 1540 –1870 from the Collection of Clay P. Bedford, (Williamsburg, 1977), pp. 104-106. Hayward, J.F., The Art of The Gunmaker, (London, 1963), Vol. II (1660-1830), p. 226, pl. 68. Hayward, J.F., Early Firearms of Great Britain and Ireland, Exhibition Catalogue, (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1971), No. 66, pp. 71, 73l; No. 202, p.179. Pyhrr, S.W., LaRocca, D.J. and Ogawa, M., Arms and Armor: Notable Acquisitions 1991-2002, (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2002), pp. 28-29. Southwick, L., London Silver-Hilted Swords: Their Makers, Suppliers and Allied Traders with directory, (Leeds, 2001), pp. 161, 212-213.


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38. The Unique and Highly Important British Presentation Small-Sword mounted in gold and enamels by James Morisset of London and presented by a Committee of London Merchants to Captain The Hon. Alexander Forrester Inglis Cochrane Royal Navy 1795 The hilt of cast and chased 22-carat gold, struck on the knucklebow with the London hallmarks for the assaying year of 1796-97 and the maker’s mark of James Morisset, and decorated overall with neo-Classical ornament. The grip struck with the date letter for 179697 and the Standard mark and inset on both sides with oval translucent enamel plaques within cased and chased wreaths of laurel; the plaque outside the hand bearing the shield of Arms of the recipient, argent, a chevron gules between three boars’ heads couped azure and langued gules, set upon a green laurel wreath and above a white scroll bearing the recipient’s motto VIRTUTE ET LABORE, all upon a dark blue background; the plaque inside the hand bearing the crest of the recipient, a horse passant argent, above the recipient’s initials AFC, all upon a dark blue background. The spherical pommel inset with a continuous band of translucent enamel depicting the signs of the Zodiac with cast and chased swags above and acanthus leaves below, the domed pommel button cast and chased with acanthus leaves. The knucklebow inset centrally on both sides with oval translucent enamel plaques between cast and chased lines of descending florets, the plaques decorated with trophies of arms and flags; the quillons terminating with acanthus flowers cast and chased in the round. Twin oval shells inset, on the hand side, with oval translucent enamel plaques within cast and chased borders enclosing oak wreaths, the plaque inside the hand depicting a naval engagement between a Royal Navy frigate, flying the ensign of the Red Squadron, and four French vessels, the plaque outside the hand containing a depiction of a trophy of arms, cannon and flags; the shells on the blade side bearing, on a polished ground and within cast and chased borders containing tied continuous wreaths of laurel, the following engraved inscription: Presented by the Committee for encouraging the Capture of French Privateers, Armed Vessells &c.. To the Honble. Captn. Cochrane of his Majesty’s Ship Thetis in Testimony of the high sense this Committee entertain of his meritorious conduct in the Gallant Action on the 17th May 1795 off the Coast of America


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when assisted by Captain Beresford of his Majesty’s Ship Hussar, He engaged five French Ships of War three of which struck their Colours, and two of them were taken possession of and carried into Hallifax, London July 16th 1795. The shells also struck with the maker’s mark of James Morisset and the Standard mark. The triangular section, hollow-ground and polished blade decorated with engraving. The wooden scabbard covered in polished black shagreen and bearing three gold mounts, the upper mount bearing traces of chased-over hallmarks and engraved with the retailer’s name Gray & Constable, Sackville Street London; two loose rings on the upper and middle mounts. Overall length: 40 I in Blade length: 33 I in For the first time in one of our catalogues, we are offering two swords presented to the same individual: the magnificent, early and important example described here and presented about 1796 and item number 43, presented in 1806 by the City of London. Both swords are fresh to the market and have unbroken provenances stretching back to their recipient; both are swords of the very highest quality and commemorate significant naval actions during the two decades of war against France at the turn of the 18th century. Like that of many of his peers, long-served sailors in the Royal Navy at a time of global wars, Cochrane’s active naval career was briefly interrupted by the short-term Peace of Amiens in 1802. Since our two swords were presented to him for distinguished service in actions that flanked that brief truce, our treatment here of his life and service will be divided into two parts, one prior to 1802 – dealt with here – and the other after the resumption of the war with France in 1803 – which will accompany item number 43. The first of Admiral Cochrane’s two presentation swords, although commissioned in 1795, as its inscription attests, was made and mounted in the assaying year of 1796-97, as its hallmarks attest. It was the first of only seven swords known to have been awarded by the Committee, about which little is recorded, although an earlier gold and enamel-hilted small-sword (National Maritime Museum, London, No. ZBA 1773), presented to Rear Admiral John MacBride in about 1793, may have been a gift from the same source. Of the seven ‘Committee’ swords, five were mounted in silver-gilt and awarded to officers concerned in the suppression of the Mutiny at the Nore in 1797. Our sword is thus one of


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only two recorded gold-mounted small-swords presented by the Committee to naval commanders for actions against the French; the other, awarded to Vice-Admiral Robert Kingsmill in 1796, was sold at Phillips, London, on 28th May 1992, lot 121. The form of our sword’s hilt is rare among presentation small-swords of this era, in that it lacks the arms of the hilt and has a pair of oval shells and two quillons. James Morisset (1738-1815), whose workshop made the hilt and mounts for our sword, has been the subject of scholarly research since 1972, the gold and enamelled products of his workshop frequently appearing in our catalogues as well as being present in major collections throughout the world. He was by descent a Huguenot: his ancestors had been among those Protestant refugees who were forced through religious intolerance to flee their homes on the continent of Europe, principally from France after 1685, and to seek lands that would tolerate their religion and welcome their skills. Many Huguenots made their homes in Britain and their names in the world of the decorative arts throughout the 18th century and although perhaps the most famous of these craftsmen was the silversmith Paul de Lamerie – the great genius of the English Rococo style – many others became important as makers of fine-quality sporting guns. Apprenticed to his brother-in-law, the jeweller, goldsmith and enameller Louis Toussaint, from the age of fourteen, Morisset registered his first mark at Goldsmith’s Hall in 1770. His earliest recorded sword hilt, exquisitely set with translucent enamels in a way that became his trademark, was mounted on a sword presented in 1782 and is now in the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, (No. M.39-1960), although an earlier sword once attributed to him – but on which attribution doubt has subsequently been cast – is in the collections of the Museum of London (No. A27278). Morisset worked for a number of retailing jewellers and goldsmiths, Gray and Constable of 41-42 Sackville Street, just off London’s Piccadilly, working in partnership from about 1794 until 1799: it is worthy of note that this firm also supplied Admiral Kingsmill’s sword referred to above. Several of the presentation swords with mounts made by James Morisset in the 1790s incorporate translucent enamels portraying sea battles. Our sword is no exception to this, one of its hilt


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enamels showing the action for which Cochrane was awarded the sword and being remarkable in its detail: as can be seen in the illustration above, even the rents in the ships’ sails are carefully depicted. The source for this depiction is not known but it is similar to a watercolour executed by Lieutenant George Tobin, later Rear Admiral George Tobin CB (1768-1838), during his time aboard HMS Thetis: we are able to use this watercolour as an illustration here. Tobin, a prolific amateur artist who was also a career sailor, contributed his watercolours for publication, as engravings, in the Naval Chronicle, published regularly between 1799 and 1818. In 1795 he was second lieutenant of HMS Thetis, commanded by Cochrane, and is known to have produced several watercolours of events in the ship’s life during his service in her, four of which are in the collections of the National Maritime Museum, London, (Nos. PAG 9750-9753). In view of the period between the commissioning of our sword – sometime soon after the Committee decided to present it on 16th July 1795 – and its manufacture and mounting – during the assaying year 29th May 1796-28th May 1797 – there would certainly have been time for Tobin to submit a selection of his watercolours either for Cochrane’s approval or direct to the Committee for their approval and subsequent incorporation into the sword’s hilt. The recipient of our sword, Alexander Cochrane – known to friends and family as ‘Sandy’ – was born on 22nd April 1758. He was the ninth son of the 8th Earl of Dundonald (1691-1778) and joined the Royal Navy at the age of fifteen in 1773, serving in the Far East until 1775 when he was posted to American waters at the outbreak of the War for American Independence. During the American War, Cochrane was actively engaged in coastal operations, both at sea and as part of naval-military combined operations ashore. He served around Rhode Island and Long Island in the period 1775-78, as well as in the Delaware River in 1777 and was commissioned lieutenant on 19th May 1778, having by that time served in about six different ships. From 1779 until the end of the war he served under Admiral Lord Rodney, initially in the 3rd rate 74-gun HMS Montagu. He saw action against both the Spanish and French fleets while under Rodney’s command, being severely wounded as the admiral’s signals officer in an engagement off Martinique on 17th April 1780. On 6th December 1780 he was promoted master and commander and given his first


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command, that of a small sloop, HMS Lucia, from which he was soon promoted to the 14-gun sloop, HMS Pacahunta. Cochrane was promoted post-captain on 17th December 1782 but the ending of the American war resulted in him going on half-pay until 1790. He rejoined the full-pay list in 1790, during the Nootka Sound crisis with Spain, and was given command of the 28-gun frigate HMS Hind, shortly afterwards being appointed to command in eastern Scottish waters. In that role, in 1792, he was able to assist magistrates in both Dundee and Edinburgh in cowing rioting mobs inspired by the example of the French Revolution. On the outbreak of war with Revolutionary France in 1793, Cochrane was still commanding HMS Hind, in which ship he succeeded in capturing eight French privateers operating off the British coast. In about 1794 he was given command of the 42-gun frigate HMS Thetis in North American waters and patrolled the eastern seaboard of the USA searching for French blockade-running ships to capture or destroy. Just before Christmas 1794 Thetis ran aground off Currituck Inlet, North Carolina, and had to be towed off and repaired at the Gosport Navy Yard in the Chesapeake Bay: Lieutenant George Tobin recorded this incident in the series of watercolours now in the National Maritime Museum, London, and referred to above. As captain of the largest frigate in a small squadron, Cochrane had seniority over his fellow frigate captains, all of whose ships assisted with the towing and repair of Thetis following her grounding and one of whom was Acting Captain John Poo Beresford, commanding the 28-gun frigate HMS Hussar : Beresford was to end his days as Admiral Sir John Poo Beresford, baronet, GCH, KCB, MP (1766-1844). On 17th May 1795, while cruising off the Chesapeake Bay in the repaired HMS Thetis and in company with HMS Hussar, Cochrane encountered a French squadron of five large armed store-ships: these, although armed, were carrying essential stores from the USA to the blockaded coast of France. The French ships formed line of battle and, by hoisting battle ensigns, attempted to appear more threatening than their armament justified in order to deter the two British ships from attacking: this ploy did not work. After an action variously described as ‘smart’ and ‘well-contested’ HMS Thetis captured two, the Prévoyante and the Raison. Beresford was promoted post-captain as a result of his support for Cochrane and given the Raison, renamed HMS Raison, to command. As we have seen, Cochrane was presented with our splendid sword in commemoration of the action. Cochrane remained in command of HMS Thetis in American waters until 1799, when he was given his first ‘big ship’ command: the 3rd Rate 80-gun HMS Ajax. Cochrane commanded Ajax in both the Channel and Mediterranean Fleets until the Peace of Amiens in 1802, serving during the actions at Quiberon Bay and Belle-Île on the coast of France, and Ferrol, on the coast of Spain in 1800. In 1801, he was given responsibility for landing a force of British troops at Aboukir Bay in Egypt and spent weeks training both boat crews and soldiers for this amphibious landing upon a well-defended enemy coast. On 8th March 1801, the assault took place and, although casualties were heavy, the operation proceeded according to plan: a beachhead was established, reinforcements of troops were expeditiously and constantly ferried ashore by Cochrane’s boats’ crews, Cairo and Alexandria fell to British forces and the French were ejected from Egypt. At the temporary Peace of Amiens in 1802 HMS Ajax was paid off and Cochrane spent a short time on half-pay before the resumption of hostilities with France in 1803; during that time – having been elected a Member of Parliament for Stirling in 1800 – Cochrane attended to his Parliamentary duties.


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Courtesy of Christie’s, London.

Provenance:

By descent until 2004 when sold privately; on loan to the National War Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh Castle 1965-2004 (No. ML1965.1).

Literature:

Blair, C., Three Presentation Swords, (London, 1972), p. 40, Item 10. Cochrane, A., The Fighting Cochranes, (London, 1983), pp. 229-271. Gardiner, R. (ed.), Fleet Battle and Blockade: the French Revolutionary War 17931797 (London, 1996), pp. 168-169, 182, 183. Mallalieu, H.L., The Dictionary of British Watercolour Artists up to 1920, (Woodbridge, Suffolk, 2002), Vol. II, p.216. Southwick, L., ‘New facts about James Morisset…’, Journal of the Arms and Armour Society, Vol. XV, No. 6 (September 1997), pp. 313-350; for this sword, see p. 324, illustrated as pl. 7, item 9. Southwick, L., London Silver-Hilted Swords: Their Makers, Suppliers and Allied Traders with directory, (Leeds, 2001); pp. 127-128 and pp. 182-184.


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39. The Historic Épée-Glaive presented to Général-de-Division Jean Étienne Joseph Alexandre MacDonald later Maréchal MacDonald Duc de Tarente by the Executive Directory of the French Republic 1798 The hilt with cast and chased mounts of ormolu: the pommel in the form of a simplified columnar capital of the Corinthian order, the hemispherical pommel button decorated with acanthus leaves; the upper grip ferrule formed of a continuous band of laurel leaves and berries and the lower grip ferrule formed of a continuous band of oak leaves and acorns; the quillons formed of two bows, each with wound strings and terminating in greyhounds’ heads, flanking two quivers placed base-to-base either side of the quillon block, the bodies of the quivers being struck on their undersides with the maker’s name MANUFRE A VERSAILLES BOUTET DIRECTEUR ARTISTE and the quillon block being struck on its upper side with the maker’s mark BOUTET and the marks of two unidentified inspectors AB and LD; the shield-shaped langets with polished borders bearing, on one side, the figure of a heron in water and, on the other, that of a cockerel on land. The fluted, shaped ebony grip with a polished elliptical panel on either side inset with restored gilded, winged thunderbolts and silver lightning flashes. The blued, polished steel scabbard, having gilded sides, fitted with seven cast and chased mounts in ormolu of neo-Classical inspiration, the chape being reinforced at its base with a near-disc of blued steel. The false damascened broadsword blade with a central ridge from hilt to point, hollow-ground on either side, terminating in a double-concave clipped point and decorated with panels of blueing, gilding and engraving, one of the panels containing a smaller panel etched with the following inscription: ARME D’HONNEUR DONNÉE EN 1798 PAR LA RÉPUBLIQUE FRANÇAISE AU GÉNÉRAL MACDONALD ET APPARTENANT A SON PETIT-FILS LE COMMANDANT DE MASSA. (Weapon of Honour given in 1798 by the French Republic to General MacDonald and belonging to his grandson Major de Massa) Overall length: 38 in Blade length: 30 G in


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Our splendid and historic sword is the épée-glaive of a French general, Model of 20 Thermidor, Year VI of the French Revolutionary Calendar (7th August 1798). Épée-glaives, now more commonly referred to as ‘glaives’ and occasionally in the literature of their time as épées, were adopted in Revolutionary France initially as part of the uniform of the five members of the Directory, the government of France between 1795 and 1799. Like much of the decorative art of the French 1st Republic, the design of glaives drew upon contemporary notions and adaptations of Classical Antiquity. Glaives first appeared as an official part of the full-dress uniform of French generals in Year VI of the Revolutionary Calendar (1798-99) but had been worn by these officers, in a variety of non-regulation styles, for some years before 1798. In Year VI (1798-99), glaives such as this example were standardised as the pattern for generals and were worn by them in full-dress uniform until 1803. During the First Empire (1803-14), glaives continued to be worn in full-dress uniform by generals and marshals but were of a different design to our example. Glaives continued to be the full-dress uniform sword of French marshals and generals until the Second Empire (1852-70). Glaives were also awarded by the French government as Armes de Récompense or Armes d’Honneur. The hilts of such presentation arms often bear inscriptions indicating their place of manufacture as the famous Versailles workshop of Nicolas-Noël Boutet: see this catalogue, item number 42. Recent research proves that Boutet was responsible not only for the design of the Year VI model of General’s glaive but also for the manufacture of the weapons and the marks struck into the hilt of our glaive confirm this. Jacques Étienne Joseph Alexandre MacDonald had been a general for five years by the time that this glaive was ordered to become part of his uniform. His biography is an interesting one. Born in Sedan, in the Ardennes region of eastern France, on 17th November 1765, MacDonald was the son of a Highlander from the Western Isles of Scotland who had fled Scotland following the collapse of the Jacobite rebellion of 1745-46. MacDonald’s father, Neil MacEachen, pronounced ‘Makeken’, had studied at the Catholic seminary at Douai in northern France and been instrumental in securing the escape of Prince Charles Edward Stuart, ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’, from Scotland in 1746. Once back in France, MacEachen changed his name to MacDonald and was granted a commission in le régiment d’Albanie in 1747. His son, Jacques MacDonald, began his military career in the French Army of King Louis XVI, being commissioned as a subaltern officer in the Légion Irlandais in 1784; he then transferred in the following year to the Légion de Maillebois, a French regiment serving in the civil wars in the Low Countries. Following the disbandment of his regiment in 1786, MacDonald entered the régiment de Dillon as a volunteer – the standard practice for a young gentleman seeking a permanent commission and content to await a vacancy – and was commissioned sous-lieutenant in Dillon’s


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regiment when a vacancy occurred in 1787. He remained in the Army during the Revolution in 1789 and was promoted lieutenant in 1791 – his regiment being renamed the 87ième régiment de ligne in that year. Following the outbreak of war between France and most of her neighbours in 1792, MacDonald’s career became meteoric: in June 1792 he was promoted captain, in November 1792 lieutenantcolonel, in August 1793 brigadier-general and in November 1793, at the age of twenty-eight, major general, général-de-division. He served throughout the campaigns in the Low Countries and Flanders of 1792-98 and it is probable that he received this sword at the end of that extensive series of battles because the Directory wished to reward his lengthy and distinguished service in contributing to the protection of the new French Republic from foreign invaders bent upon its overthrow. On 12 Ventôse of Year VI of the Revolutionary Calendar (28th February 1798), MacDonald and his fellow major general, Duhesme, were introduced to the Executive Council of the Directory by the Minister of War. They brought with them, for presentation to the Directory, the numerous enemy flags that had been captured by their armies, those of the North and of Rhine-and-Moselle. The Minister, both generals and the President of the Directory each gave extensive speeches celebrating the victories on the eastern and north-eastern frontiers of France, swearing vengeance against Britain and promising the extension of Revolutionary Liberty through force of French arms to all those who were still oppressed by tyrannical monarchical or imperial governments. MacDonald probably received this general’s glaive on that highly charged occasion, although it was not until six months later that the pattern that it represents became the official one for French generals. Later in 1798, MacDonald became governor of Rome and throughout 1799 was engaged upon campaigning in Italy. After supporting Napoléon Bonaparte in his coup of 18 Brumaire, Year VIII (10th November 1799), MacDonald was given command of the Army of Grisons, which he commanded in Switzerland and Italy until 1801, when he became ambassador to Denmark for one year. Returning to France in 1802, he became implicated in a plot against Napoléon and was exiled to his home at Courcelles-le-Roi until being recalled to serve, first, in the Neapolitan army in 1807 and then in the French Army of Italy in 1809. Serving alongside Prince Eugène Beauharnais in 1809, his soldiers fought and route-marched their way northward through Italy to the battlefield of Wagram where, on 6th July 1809, they contributed significantly to Napoléon’s victory over the Austrians. MacDonald became a Marshal of France on 12th July 1809, received the Grand Eagle of the Légion d’Honneur a month later and was created Duke of Taranto in December 1809: his star was, once again, in the ascendant. MacDonald served in eastern Spain in 1810 and 1811 and was given command of the 10th Corps of the Grande Armée in the invasion of Russia in 1812; his corps was stationed on the French left and took charge of securing the Baltic provinces, being thus spared the rigours of the Russian winter. In 1813, as Russia and Prussia combined gradually to force the exposed and weakened French armies westward, MacDonald commanded significant forces at the battles of Lützen, Bautzen, Leipzig and Hanau. As the defeat of France became inevitable, MacDonald was among the group of French marshals that persuaded Napoléon to abdicate in 1814: he then switched his loyalty to the restored Bourbon monarchy, which created him a Peer of France in June 1814. MacDonald took no part in Napoléon’s ‘100 Days’ campaign in 1815 and remained loyal to Louis XVIII and his successors, whom he served in a variety of senior military roles from 1815 until the


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mid-1820s. He was confirmed in his rank as a Marshal of France, created a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Louis and a Knight Companion of the Order of the Holy Ghost and held the post of Great Chancellor of the Légion d’Honneur from 1815 until 1831. He died at Courcelles-le-Roi on 25th September 1840 and is buried in the family vault in the cemetery of Père-Lachaise in Paris. In December 1810, MacDonald’s eldest daughter, Anne-Charlotte, married Sylvestre-Nicolas, Count of Gronau, the son and heir of Claude-Ambrose Régnier, 1st Duke of Massa (1746-1814). MacDonald’s daughter thus became the 2nd Duchess of Massa on the death of her father-in-law in 1814, by which time she and her husband had a son, Alfred, Marquis of Massa. This son, who pre-deceased his father in 1846, was an officer in the French Army. It is his name, as grandson of Marshal MacDonald, that is part of the inscription on the blade of our glaive: he must have owned it between the death of his grandfather in 1840 and his own death in 1846, the inscription presumably dating from that period. Offered together with two oval glazed frames containing locks of hair, each frame accompanied by an envelope inscribed to identify the owners’ of the hair, as follows: Derniers cheveux du Maréchal MacDonald recueillis par son Fille aîné la Duchesse de Massa le 29 septembre 1840 (the final hair of Marshal MacDonald collected by his eldest daughter, the Duchess of Massa, 29th September 1840) and Derniers cheveux de mon frère Alfred, Marquis de Massa 18 février 1846 (the final hair of my brother Alfred, Marquis of Massa, 18th February 1846). Provenance:

By direct descent within the family of the Dukes of Massa.

Literature:

Aries, C., Armes blanches militaires françaises, Vol. XVI, No. 2 (Paris, 1970) and Vol. XXI, No. 1 (Paris, 1973). Le Diberder, G. (ed.), Les armées françaises à l’époque révolutionnaire 1789-1804 (Paris, 1989), pp. 43 and 56. Lhoste, J., Les épées portées en France des origines à nos jours, (La Tour du Pin, 1997), pp. 453-461. Various contributors, La Manufacture d’armes de Versailles et Nicholas-Noël Boutet (Paris, 1993), pp. 121 and 165-169. Wood, S., The Auld Alliance. France and Scotland: the military connection (Edinburgh, 1989), pp. 102-106.


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40. The Rare and Highly Important ‘Battle of the Nile’ Sword together with its companion Dirk original Portrait and Papers of Captain Robert Cuthbert, Royal Navy circa 1799 The sword’s hilt in cast and chased re-gilt ormolu, the grip in the form of a crocodile couchant, the crocodile’s tail forming the quillon and its snout forming the pommel; the knucklebow formed of a spray of palm leaves; langets in the form of bearded, turbaned masks; the straight, cut-and-thrust, spadroon blade of flattened diamond section decorated on both sides with a panel of blueing and gilding incorporating the engraved Royal Arms of 1714-1801, martial trophies and the inscription FOR MY COUNTRY & KING; the black leather scabbard with three ormolu mounts engraved with arabesque decoration and applied florets, with loose rings on the top and middle mount, the inside of the top mount engraved with the retailer’s name and address PROSSER (late Cullum) Sword Cutler &c to the KING & HRH Duke of York Charing Crofs and the outside of the top mount embellished with an applied martial trophy. The dirk’s hilt also mounted in re-gilt ormolu, with a cushion-shaped pommel, spatulate quillons terminating in balls and pierced with foul anchors and hexagonal quillon blocks-cum-langets engraved with lined borders surrounding naval trophies, the outer trophy incorporating a Union shield of 1714-1801 type; the square-section, tapering grip in chequered ivory; the blade of flattened diamond section decorated on both sides with a panel of blueing and gilding and engraved with arabesque decoration incorporating, on one side, a leaping stag and with fleurs-de-lys at the forte on both sides; the black leather scabbard with three ormolu mounts engraved with arabesque decoration, with loose rings on the top and middle mount, the inside of the top mount similarly engraved to the inside of the sword’s top mount. The portrait of Captain Robert Cuthbert, oil on canvas within its original gilded and gessoed frame, by John Berridge RA (1740-1804), dated 1799 and depicting Cuthbert, half-length, in captain’s uniform cradling his Nile sword under his left arm, inscribed verso: Jno. Berridge Pinxt. Oct 29 1799 Portrait of Captn. Robt. Cuthbert late of THE MAJESTIC IN THE EVER Memorable Action of the Nile vide the despatches from Admiral Nelson Mentioning the DEATH of Capt. Westcot. Eight documents, comprising: captains’ commissions, HMS Medea, 1798, and HMS Orion, 1801; a memorandum of Cuthbert’s service 1777-1802, dated 1817; five letters concerning the Battle of the Nile, Cuthbert’s promotion immediately following it and his application to be awarded the captain’s gold medal for the Nile. Sword: Overall length: 39 in Blade length: 32 N in Dirk: Overall length: 21 N in Blade length: 16 D in Painting: Height: 30 D in Width: 25 I in Our unique combination of sword and dirk, together with the supplementary items offered, conjure up the high point in the career of a naval officer for whom his service in the Royal Navy represented social advancement and who was thus utterly typical of the vast proportion of naval


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officers of the period of ‘Nelson’s Navy’. That the sword and dirk were purchased in the immediate aftermath of the Battle of the Nile is beyond doubt. That the sword represented a speculative venture by one of London’s most innovative and enterprising sword cutlers is a very strong probability. This group of evocative items represents a ‘snapshot’ of British naval and social history at the end of the 18th century and is an inspirational and exciting addition to our catalogue in this Year of Nelson and Trafalgar. In the papers attached to his Lieutenant’s Passing Certificate of 1793, Robert Cuthbert’s baptismal date is given as 17th November 1759: the baptism said to have taken place in the parish church of ‘Chilsworth, Suffolk’. ‘Chilsworth’ is now spelt ‘Chelsworth’ and is a village mid-way between Sudbury and Stowmarket. Robert Cuthbert was the son of John Cuthbert and his wife Sarah. His father owned property near Chelsworth and was a maltster. At a time when the War for American Independence was necessitating a rapid expansion of the British armed forces, a career in the Royal Navy beckoned Robert Cuthbert. He was first rated able seaman in the 3rd rate 74-gun ship-of-the-line HMS Invincible, commanded by Captain Hyde Parker, later Admiral Sir Hyde Parker (1739-1807), on 9th February 1777. He spent a year in Invincible, in the English Channel and at Gibraltar, before transferring, in February 1778, to HMS Minerva, a 5th rate 32-gun frigate commanded by Captain John Stott: he was rated midshipman by Captain Stott after three days’ service. He served aboard Minerva off the African coast and in the Caribbean until August 1778, when his ship was captured by the 32-gun French frigate Concorde. Captain Stott had been unaware of the outbreak of war with France and had approached Concorde under the misapprehension that she was a merchantman. A French broadside began a two-and-a-half hour battle resulting in the dismounting of three of Minerva’s guns, the explosion of a quantity of gunpowder, the killing or wounding of eighteen men, including Stott and the 1st lieutenant, and the loss of both masts and the wheel. Cuthbert was freed from imprisonment in 1779 and next served in two sloop-fireships, HMSs Blast and Salamander, sailing from Jamaica to England and then back to the West Indies to join his next ship, HMS Sandwich, a 2nd rate 90-gun ship-of-the-line commanded by Captain Walter Young and the flagship of Rear Admiral George Rodney, later Lord Rodney (1718-92), commander-in-chief in the Leeward Islands. He served aboard HMS Sandwich in the Caribbean for over nine months in 1780 and 1781, being rated able seaman and promoted midshipman,


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and was present at Rodney’s two actions against a French fleet under Admiral de Guichen on 7th April and 19th May 1780. He must have impressed Rodney since he was transferred on 8th January 1781 as 5th lieutenant to the 3rd rate 74-gun ship-of-the-line HMS Montagu, part of the newly arrived squadron of reinforcements commanded by Rear Admiral Sir Samuel Hood, later Viscount Hood (1724-1816). While serving on HMS Montagu, Cuthbert saw action in Admiral Graves’s battle with Admiral de Grasse off the mouth of the Chesapeake on 5th September 1781 and again in Admiral Rodney’s more famous Battle of the Saintes, which resulted in De Grasse’s defeat, on 12th April 1782. He was appointed lieutenant in the 12-gun brig-sloop HMS Lively in July 1782 but a promising career was cut short by the capture of HMS Lively later in that year by some American prisoners she was carrying. These prisoners took over the ship and sailed her into Havana, Cuba, ultimately freeing their British captives. Cuthbert returned to England via Antigua in 1783 and was paid off at the ending of the war with America. Although he had served as a lieutenant during the war he had not fulfilled the qualifying period of six years’ ‘sea-time’ as an able seaman or midshipman that would allow him to apply for a lieutenant’s commission. Thus, in 1783 he was unemployed. In 1790, when war with Spain threatened over the ownership of a fur-trading station in Nootka Sound, Canada, Cuthbert rejoined the Royal Navy and served in two 5th rate 32-gun frigates, HMSs Juno and Iris, as an able seaman, and in the 4th rate 50-gun heavy frigate, HMS Assistance, as a midshipman. After two-and-a-half years of further naval unemployment, following the ending of the Nootka Sound crisis at the end of 1790, Cuthbert rejoined the Royal Navy in February 1793, as war with Revolutionary France loomed. He transferred rapidly from ship to ship throughout the spring and summer of 1793, serving first as an able seaman in HMS Camel, an unarmed storeship, and then as midshipman in HMS Mentor, a 10-gun armed vessel, and in HMS Sandwich, a 2nd rate 98-gun ship-of-the-line. On 7th August 1793, Cuthbert attended the examination board for his commission as lieutenant, being commissioned on 8th October 1793 and posted to the 14-gun sloop HMS Thorn, in which he served – in the North Sea and Caribbean – until March 1796. On 7th March 1796, he joined the ship in which he would see his most celebrated action. She was HMS Majestic, a 3rd rate 74-gun ship-of-the-line, commanded by Captain George Westcott. Westcott had seen considerable action during the American War for Independence and had most recently commanded HMS Impregnable at the battle of 1st June 1794. Cuthbert was to remain in Majestic for more than three years and sailed in her to the Caribbean and back before the ship joined the Channel Fleet late in 1796: she remained as part of the Channel blockade until late in 1797 when she sailed south to join Lord St Vincent’s fleet off Cadiz. In May 1798, HMS Majestic was sent into the Mediterranean to reinforce Nelson’s fleet. Nelson’s orders were to find and destroy a French fleet carrying Napoléon’s expedition to Egypt, an expedition aimed at threatening Britain’s possessions in India. Ideally, Nelson wanted to catch the French fleet en route to Egypt but this was not to be, the French army landing in Egypt on 1st July and occupying Cairo three weeks later. The search for the French fleet continued until, late on 1st August, Nelson found his prey anchored in Aboukir Bay, west of the mouth of the Nile. The French fleet, thirteen ships-of-the-line, was anchored in a line, bow-to-stern, across the bay but were anchored only at their bows in order to allow them to swing with wind, tide and current. This implied that there was enough water inland of the French line to enable the British ships to get between the French ships and the land and thus for the French to be attacked on both sides.


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The British fleet entered the bay at about six o’clock in the evening of 1st August 1798 and formed line of battle. As the British ships, with HMS Majestic towards the rear, approached the French line at an oblique angle the French guns opened fire, the British gunners replying with accurate and rapid fire as the range closed. The British line divided, the first five ships heading for the front of the French line and crossing its head, each ship raking the leading French ships from stem to stern as it passed them and then anchoring opposite its identified target to engage it on landward side. The rear five ships of the British line turned to engage the centre and rear of the French line, breaching it in three places and dealing devastating raking fire as British broadsides tore the length of the French ships through their undefended bows and sterns. HMS Majestic identified the 80-gun Tonnant as her target and bore down upon her, intending to engage Tonnant’s starboard side with her starboard battery, but matters did not go according to plan. Majestic overshot Tonnant, entangling her rigging with the next French ship in the line, the 74-gun Heureux. Captain Westcott was shot in the throat by a French marksman, either from Tonnant or from Heureux and died almost at once. As 1st lieutenant, Robert Cuthbert was now in command: his ship was entangled with that of an enemy, his guns could not easily be brought to bear, the light was fading fast and the noise, smoke and destruction of the guns was unceasing. Fortunately, Heureux’s jibboom, the foremost part of her bowsprit, broke and Majestic drifted down alongside Heureux, anchoring between Heureux’s stern and the bow of the next ship in the line, the 74-gun Mercure. So devastatingly did Cuthbert bring his ship’s guns to bear in raking his two, equally sized, opponents, that both Heureux and Mercure eventually cut their cables, drifting inshore and running aground. At this point, Cuthbert directed his ship towards the port quarter of her original target, Tonnant, and re-engaged her at very close range with his starboard guns, his port guns continuing to fire upon the grounded Heureux and Mercure. We are fortunate in having two original copies of Cuthbert’s own account among the documents offered here and so can quote some of Cuthbert’s own words, contained in a letter written on 2nd October 1799, addressed to Evan Nepean (17511822), secretary to the Admiralty, and recounting what occurred: … Captain Westcott of the Majestic having fallen within a few minutes after the commencement of the action, the Ship was continued to be fought by me as first Lieutenant, without intermission until half past three on the morning of the 2nd [August 1798] with an interval of only 10 minutes, which was occasioned by the La Orient [L’Orient, the French flagship] blowing up at 10 O’Clock on the night of the first [August 1798], after which Time [3.30AM on 2nd August 1798], I beg to observe that none other of His Majs. Ships where [were] engaged (except the Alexander who very gallantly came down to our assistance) until five O’Clock in the morning of the second, when we again commenced our fire on the retreating Ships of the Enemy. That in shifting the Berth of the Majestic which I was under the necessity of doing [after having initially engaged the Tonnant], we let go an Anchor athought [athwart] hawse of the La Heureux with her Jib Boom in our Mizen Rigging, where we lay for an hour or more constantly raking her, when they or we cut her Cable, and she was driven on shore, with the La Mercure the ship immediately astern of her. I have also the honor to claim the merit of dismasting the La Tonnant, at half past one in the Morning of the 2d, no other ship but the Majestic having been engaged with her during the Night, by which means she was perfectly secured from making her escape. It is clear is that Cuthbert and his ship were very heavily engaged in the battle and that HMS Majestic’s gunnery and manoeuvrability enabled her successively and successfully to engage three French ships of the line, defeating two of her own size and contributing very significantly to the defeat of the third, the 80-gun Tonnant.


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Although the celebrations over the destruction of the French fleet were to reverberate through Britain for many months after August 1798, its immediate consequences for Lieutenant Robert Cuthbert were as swift as they must have been gratifying: he received the following letter from Nelson’s secretary, which is among the documents that we are able to offer: His Majesty’s Ship Vanguard off the Nile 2d August 1798 In consequence of your gallant conduct in fighting His Majesty’s Ship Majestic after the death of the brave Captain Westcott you are required and directed to take command of her, until his Lordship’s, the Commander in Chief’s, pleasure is known. Sign’d H. Nelson By command of the Admiral Sign’d J. Campbell Secy. Matters were rapidly put in hand to ensure Cuthbert’s promotion. Nelson had sent a copy of his letter to Cuthbert, quoted above, to his superior, Admiral Lord St Vincent (1735-1823), commander-in-chief, Mediterranean. St Vincent – in turn – wrote to the Admiralty, notably employing one of his favourite adjectives, ‘intrepid’, see item number 41 in this catalogue, in a letter of which we are able to offer an original copy: My Lord, I have the honor to enclose a copy of the order by which Lieutenant Cuthbert commands the Majestic, so highly honorable to him, and in addition, every Officer in the Squadron, he served so gloriously in, proclaims his conduct to have been equally judicious and intrepid, after the fall of his gallant Captain: I therefore have Encouraged him to hope your Lordship will recommend him to the Board for the rank of Post Captain, a reward, which, I understand, was given to the first Lieutenants of some Ships, after the Action of the 1st of June, under similar circumstances… I have the honor to be, with great esteem and regard, your Lordship’s very faithful and Obedient Servant, St Vincent. Rona House, Gibraltar, 22 October 1798. Cuthbert’s commission as a post-captain was confirmed by a letter to him, included among our documents, from Evan Nepean dated 28th November 1798; his captain’s commission, also included among our documents, bore the same date and notionally put him in command of HMS Medea, a very old 6th rate 32-gun frigate, but in reality he remained in command of HMS Majestic, until 21st March 1799 as part of the Mediterranean Fleet. After leaving HMS Majestic, Cuthbert was unemployed until January 1801. It was during this time that he had leisure to sit for the portrait that we are able to offer here, and which is dated 1799, to obtain the commemorative sword and the dirk also offered and to enquire whether he might qualify for the captain’s gold medal for the battle of the Nile – ultimately unsuccessful enquiries that generated the letters from which quotes are taken above. In January 1801 Cuthbert was posted to command HMS Montagu but left her in July and was without a ship until November that year, on the 25th of which he was commissioned captain of HMS Orion, a 3rd rate 74-gun ship-of-the-line also on station in the Bay of Biscay: we are able to


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offer his captain’s commission among our documents here. Cuthbert remained in command of HMS Orion until July 1802, when the ship was paid off. He was not re-employed once war recommenced in 1803 and so spent the years left to him on a captain’s retired half-pay. By 1802, Cuthbert was in his late forties and clearly felt that it was time to settle down. Accordingly, he found himself a wife, Elizabeth Willock, the daughter of Alexander Willock of Bedford Square in London, and married her at St George’s, Hanover Square, on 7th July 1803. The marriage produced three children, Robert Alexander, Eliza Roberta and Charlotte Arthurina. By the time of Robert Cuthbert’s death, on 8th January 1821, the family was living at 12 Great Bedford Street, Bath, from which Cuthbert’s body was taken for burial to the parish church of Weston, one-anda-half miles north-west of the city centre. His life at sea may have done well for Robert Cuthbert: he was able to leave his wife ten thousand pounds while bequeathing a thousand to his son and six hundred to each of his daughters. The battle of the Nile was commemorated in many ways and it is probable that the establishment, by Nelson’s ‘Nile captains’, of an ‘Egyptian Club’ became rapidly and widely known, in the Navy and at home. The ‘Egyptian Club’ was founded by the surviving captains on board HMS Orion during the evening of 3rd August 1798, among its first acts being to commission a sword for Nelson. Nelson’s sword was produced by Rundell & Bridge of Ludgate Hill, London: the grip of its gold hilt was formed as a crocodile couchant. It is known, from two surviving examples that can be directly associated with Nile captains, that the members of the ‘Egyptian Club’ had swords with similar hilts made for their own use. The collections of the National Maritime Museum contain three examples of the ‘Egyptian Club’ sword, one of which can be definitely linked to Captain Samuel Hood of HMS Zealous (No. WPN 1550), one of which can probably be connected with Alexander Davison, Nelson’s prize agent, (No. WPN 1093) and the other of which (No. WPN 1094) cannot be connected with an identified individual, although – interestingly – its spadroon blade is very similar indeed to that on our sword. A fourth example of the ‘Egyptian Club’ sword is known, that belonging to Captain James Saumarez (exhibited as Item No. 143 in the exhibition ‘Rule Britannia! A loan exhibition of Marine Works of Art’, at Sotheby’s, London in January 1986). If the surviving captains from the battle of the Nile all received the King’s gold medal and all advertised their status as ‘Nile captains’ by wearing crocodile-hilted swords available only to the members of the exclusive ‘Egyptian Club’, what of the other participants in the battle, such as Robert Cuthbert, who wished to advertise the fact that they, too, had been present? Cuthbert was not eligible for the ‘Egyptian Club’ or for the gold medal because he had not been, at the time of the battle, a post-captain but he was far from unique in being a returned Nile veteran with an event to commemorate and money to spend. Numerous sword cutlers did a roaring trade among such veterans in ‘Nile’ naval dirks, each with a crocodile somewhere on its hilt or scabbard. Although such weapons exist today in great quantity and in very variable quality, almost all have curved blades and none resemble Cuthbert’s dirk. No other example of a dirk similar to Cuthbert’s, Nilerelated or not, is recorded in the literature or known in any major collection: its design, like that of Cuthbert’s ‘Nile’ sword, may be unique to the workshop of the innovative and entrepreneurial Mr Prosser, sword-cutler, of Charing Cross. Only two ‘Nile’ swords like ours are known, one of which is Robert Cuthbert’s – its provenance clearly established by its presence in his portrait – and the other of which is in the collections of the Dorset Military Museum, Dorchester (No. 1961/507): both were retailed by John Prosser (circa 1769-1837).


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By 1798, Prosser had been established for three years at 9 Charing Cross. His shop’s situation, close to the Admiralty and the Horse Guards, the Board of Ordnance offices and the premises of numerous naval and military agents, would have attracted clients who passed it on their way to appointments. Prosser had held a Royal warrant as sword-cutler and belt-maker to King George III since 1795: he regularly supplied weapons to the War Office as well as being an innovator in the design of sword hilts and influential in changing the patterns of sword laid down for officers of both the Royal Navy and Army. It is, therefore, no surprise at all that he was clearly offering ‘Nile’ swords for sale in 1799 or that the critical element of his ‘Nile’ swords, the crocodile, was almost


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identical to that present on the ‘Egyptian Club’ swords worn by the Nile captains. Although Rundell and Bridge supplied the ‘Egyptian Club’ swords, they would have sub-contracted their design as well as their manufacture and it is conceivable that Prosser undertook that work. The blade of Cuthbert’s Nile sword, as well as that of the Dorset Military Museum’s sword, is very similar to one of the National Maritime Museum’s examples (No. WPN 1094) – the only one of the three that can be positively identified as having been supplied by Rundell & Bridge: this suggests that Prosser was involved in some element of the design and manufacture of some of the ‘Egyptian Club’ swords. Robert Cuthbert bought both his ‘Nile’ sword – one as similar in design to the ‘Egyptian Club’ swords as could be worn by an officer not admitted to that exclusive circle – and his dirk from John Prosser at the same time: the scabbard mounts of the two weapons are en suite. The period of British naval history now known as that of ‘Nelson’s Navy’ was one in which Robert Cuthbert was absolutely typical of the type of man who, through diligence, talent, patronage and not a little luck, elevated themselves from the rank of tradesman to that of officer and gentleman. Cuthbert was the only officer whose experience at the battle of the Nile led him not only to purchase the type of sword offered here but also to have his portrait painted wearing it: this is what makes him, and the collection of important items offered by us, in this bicentenary year of Trafalgar, unique. Provenance:

Sotheby’s, 13th May 1975.

Literature:

Clowes, W.L., The Royal Navy: a history from the earliest times to the present (London, 1899 et seq.), 7 vols., Vols. III, pp. 454-462 and 482-500; Vol. IV, pp. 18-19, 357371 and 381. Exhibition catalogue: ‘Rule Britannia!’ A Loan Exhibition of Marine Works of Art. Sotheby’s, London, January 1986, p. 108, no. 143. Gardiner, R., (ed.), Nelson against Napoleon: from the Nile to Copenhagen, 17981801, (London, 2001), pp. 20-41. Lavery, B., Nelson and the Nile: The Naval War against Bonaparte, (London, 1998), pp. 182-183, 192-198, 201, 203-209 and 217. Lyon, D., The Sailing Navy List, (London, 1993), various references. May, W.E., and Annis, P.G.W., Swords for Sea Service, (London, 1970), 2 vols., Vol. I, pp. 55-58. National Archives: Cuthbert’s lieutenant’s passing certificate, ADM 107/17, p.73; Cuthbert’s will, PROB 11/1639. Southwick, L., London Silver-Hilted Swords: Their Makers, Suppliers and Allied Traders with directory, (Leeds, 2001), pp. 199-201.


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41. The Magnificent and Historic Sabre presented to the INTREPID COGHLAN, Acting-Lieutenant Jeremiah Coghlan of HMS Viper by Admiral The Earl St Vincent 1800 The stirrup-hilt of cast and chased 18-carat gold, struck on the inside of the knucklebow with the London hallmarks for the assaying year of 1800-01 and the makers’ mark of John Ray and James Montague. The polished and shaped grip decorated at the top with a cast and chased narrow band of guilloche and at the base with a cast and chased broad band containing two naval trophies of arms and two florets. Both sides of the grip set with ovals of translucent coloured enamel within cast and chased borders of oak and laurel leaves, the outer enamel depicting the twelfth and last labour of Hercules, showing Hercules leading the captured three-headed dog Cerberus from Hades, and the inner enamel depicting ActingLieutenant Jeremiah Coghlan leaning upon a Classical column and recieiving a crown of laurel from the flying figure of Victory, a naval engagement taking place in the background. The knucklebow and quillon cast and chased with borders and edges of acanthus, laurel and guilloche, the knucklebow widening at its centre to enclose, on its outer side and within a tied laurel wreath, an oval of champ-levé translucent blue enamel enclosing the title CERBERE 29. JULY 1800 and the quillon widening outside the hand to enclose a polished plate engraved on the blade side with the inscription, A Tribute of Friendship from ADMIRAL the EARL of ST. VINCENT to the INTREPID COGHLAN. The quillon terminating in a cast, seven-leaved floret within a border of laurel leaves and berries and pierced at the pommel end to accommodate a ring for a sword knot. The flattopped oval pommel bordered with a cast and chased band of oak and laurel leaves and centred with a cast and chased oval floret of acanthus leaves. The blade of sabre form, widening towards the tip, with a broad central fuller and polished for its lower half, its upper half decorated with blueing and gilding, the iconography incorporating the British Royal Arms of 1714-1801, the crowned Royal cypher GR, the figure of Britannia and a trophy of arms. The wooden scabbard covered in polished black shagreen and mounted in gold, each mount being struck with the Standard mark for 18 carats and the top and bottom mounts also being struck with the Duty mark, the mounts being polished and decorated with cast and chased bands and borders of laurel leaves, the bottom mount terminating in a panel of cast and chased acanthus leaves, the inside of the top mount engraved with the retailer’s name, Makepeace LONDON, and the two upper mounts fitted with loose gold rings for sword-slings. Overall length: 35 D in Blade length: 30 in


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This is one of the most important presentation sabres of its period: the two decades of conflict between Great Britain and France, 1793-1815. Only three other sabres are known that are similar in form to this, only one of which is also mounted in gold: offered in our 2003 catalogue, Item No. 41. Although other swords, of various types, are recorded as being presented by an eminent individual to one of more humble status, these are rarities when compared with the number recorded as being presented by corporate bodies to deserving individuals: thus, the circumstances of this sword’s presentation make it very rare and contribute to its historic importance. It is the earliest recorded sabre with a hilt from the workshop of Ray and Montague and was made during the first year after they inherited the mantle of James Morisset. The background to the award of this sabre is so remarkable, as well as being such a wonderful and thrilling story, that it is amply reflected in the equally remarkable quality of the sword itself. The twenty-year period of war with France, 1793-1815, saw the craft of the British presentation sword reach its apogee; it also provided numerous opportunities for the award of such swords. These years were ones in which the prestige of the Royal Navy was heightened almost daily, its officers and men being elevated, through reports in a burgeoning press, to the status of heroes. Thus, while the British Army struggled for the first decade of war to distinguish itself against the enemy, the Royal Navy became the focus of patriotism and of the tangible rewards of gallantry and distinguished service. Committees were established to reward deserving naval captains, see item 41 in this catalogue, gold medals were instituted and corporate bodies became accustomed to awarding swords and the freedoms of their cities, see item 43 in this catalogue, to eminent admirals. Boat Actions became common occurrences, and the phrase became one to which the newspaper-reading public became accustomed, as the derring-do of junior naval officers commanding small ships, or even boats, during operations in the Caribbean and in the blockade of French ports became the subject of everyday conversation. Such feats of daring and intrepidity also fanned the dying fire in the bellies of the older generation of naval officers, who thrilled vicariously to accounts of the exploits of their juniors in ‘Cutting-Out’ expeditions in the English Channel or the Bay of Biscay, or of fort-demolition and gun-spiking in the Caribbean. In such an age, of ‘Prize Money, Patronage and Patriotism’, was this sword earned and presented. Jeremiah Coghlan’s career was one in which chance and patronage played almost as much a part as his undoubted, and frequently demonstrated, personal bravery. Born in Cork in about 1775, Coghlan was the son of a family engaged in trading and shipping from that important Irish port. Like so many such young men – with ships and the sea in their blood – young Jeremiah joined the merchant marine. By 1796, he was mate of a merchant ship that happened to be moored within Plymouth Harbour in January of that year, when a ferocious storm drove the East Indiaman Dutton on to rocks at the base of the citadel there. Operations to rescue her crew were led by a naval captain, Sir Edward Pellew, whom Coghlan assisted with such energy and courage that Pellew offered him an immediate post as a midshipman aboard his ship, the 38-gun heavy frigate HMS Indefatigable: thus the chance and thus the beginnings of patronage. Pellew was rewarded with a baronetcy for his gallantry and skill in organising the rescue of the crew of the Dutton and was well on the way to becoming the Royal Navy’s most successful frigate captain, having taken, or assisted in taking, seven French warships by 1796. He kept Coghlan with him aboard Indefatigable and took him with him when he transferred to command the 74-gun HMS Impétueux in 1799. Thus Coghlan saw a great deal of action in the Atlantic and the Channel


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approaches, as well as in Irish waters, and apparently continually distinguished himself in ‘Boat Actions’ during the blockade of French ports that was constantly kept in place by the Royal Navy. By 1800, Impétueux was the flagship of a squadron commanded by Pellew and charged with transporting British troops to the west coast of France in the hope of assisting Breton Royalist rebels, known as Chouans, in rising against the French Republic. The rising was always a faint hope and never realised but, like the blockade, it offered further opportunities for ‘Boat Actions’. It was in a spectacular one of these that Jeremiah Coghlan distinguished himself while Pellew’s squadron was cruising in the Bay of Biscay, north of Belle-Île. Part of the tactics of the blockade was the employment of small vessels, seconded from larger ones, that had the shallow draught and manoeuvrability that enabled them to gather intelligence and to seek opportunities to create havoc in and around France’s ports. In the acting rank of lieutenant, Coghlan had been given the command of one of these small boats in 1799, a cutter named HMS Viper: he would have been in and out of French inshore waters on a regular basis. It seems that he enthused Pellew with the idea of cutting out a French gun-brig in the harbour of Port-Louis, the outer harbour of the great French naval base of L’Orient, and that Pellew equipped him for the task. So, on the night of Monday 28th July 1800, accompanied by a midshipman, Silas Paddon, and eighteen men, Coghlan sailed and rowed a ten-oared cutter and two smaller ships’ boats from the squadron-at-sea into Port-Louis harbour where their target, Le Cerbère, lay at anchor. Le Cerbère would have been at least three times the size of Coghlan’s small cutter. In view of the odds stacked against Coghlan and his crew of volunteers, one can only marvel at their courage and spirit. They entered Port-Louis harbour, overcame Le Cerbère after a bloody fight that left both midshipmen seriously wounded, six of the eighteen men of the cutters’ crews wounded and one man dead, and towed her out of the harbour under a heavy fire from the shore batteries. They did not sail her out: she was towed out by the muscular power of British sailors, many of whom were wounded, rowing their cutters, with their prize in tow, out into the open sea. That it was even attempted is remarkable: that is succeeded must be regarded as miraculous. It is in the spirit of the times that Coghlan’s report to his captain should read in terms of modesty and regret, rather than in those of vanity and complaint: His Majesty’s Cutter Viper, Tuesday Morning, EightO’Clock Dear Sir, I have succeeded in bringing out the Gun Brig Le Cerbere, of Three Guns (24-pounders) and Four SixPounders, and 87 men, commanded by a Lieutenant de Vaisseau. Pray forgive me when I say from under the Batteries of Port Louis, and after a most desperate Resistance being made, first by her, and afterwards by the Batteries at both Sides, and a Fire from some small Vessels which lay around her; but nothing that I could expect from a Vessel lying in that inactive situation, was equal to the few brave Men belonging to your Ship, whom I so justly confided in, assisted by Six Men from the cutter, and Mr Paddon, Midshipman; who, I am sorry to say, was wounded in several Places, though I hope not mortally. I am sorry to state the Loss of one Man belonging to the Cutter, who was shot through the Head, and Four of your brave Men, with myself, wounded in different Parts of the Body; the principal one I received was with a Pike, which penetrated my Left Thigh. Mr Patteshall, in the Cutter’s small boat, assisted with Two Midshipmen from the Amethyst in one of their Boats. The loss of the enemy is not yet ascertained, owing to the confusion. I remain &c J. Coghlan


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Coghlan wrote that letter to his captain early in the morning after the night action in which he and his men had cut out Le Cerbère. Gradually, news of his exploit moved up the chain of command, first in a letter from his captain, Sir Edward Pellew, to Pellew’s commanding officer, Admiral the Earl St Vincent, commanding the Channel Fleet in the blockade off Brest: Impetueux, Palais Road, 1st August 1800 My Lord, I have true Pleasure in stating to your Lordship the good conduct of Lieutenant Jeremiah Coghlan, to whom, for former gallant Behaviour, you had given an acting Commision to command the Viper Cutter, from this Ship. This gallant young Man, when watching Port Louis, thought he could succeed in boarding some of the Cutters or Gun-Vessels which have been moving about near the Entrance of that Harbour, and for this purpose he entreated a Ten-oared Cutter from me, with Twelve Volunteers; and on Tuesday Night the 29th Instant [actually the night of 28th/29th July] he took this Boat, with Mr Silas H. Paddon, Midshipman, and Six of his men, making, with himself, Twenty, and accompanied by his own Boat and One from the Amethyst, he determined upon boarding a Gun Brig mounting Three long Twenty-four-Pounders, and Four Six-Pounders, full of men, moored with Springs on her Cables, in a Naval Port of difficult Access, within Pistol-Shot of Three Batteries, surrounded by several armed craft, and not a mile from a Seventy-four and Two frigates bearing an Admiral’s flag. Undismayed by such formidable Appearances, the early Discovery of his Approach (for they were at quarters) and the lost Aid of the Two other Boats, he bravely determined to attack alone, and boarded her on the Quarter; but unhappily, in the dark, jumped into a Trawl-Net hung up to dry, he was pierced through the Thigh by a Pike, and several of his Men hurt, and all knocked back into the Boat. Unchecked in Ardour, they hauled the Boat further a-head, and again boarded, and maintained against Eighty-seven Men, Sixteen of whom were Soldiers, an obstinate Conflict, killing Six and wounding Twenty, among whom was every Officer belonging to her. His own loss was One killed and Eight wounded; himself in Two Places, Mr Paddon in Six. I feel particularly happy in the expected Safety of all the wounded. He speaks in the highest Terms of Mr Paddon and the Whole of his Party, many of whom were knocked overboard, and Twice beat into the Boat, but returned to the Charge with unabated Courage. I trust I shall stand excused by your Lordship for so minute a Description, produced by my Admiration of that Courage which, Hand to Hand, gave Victory to a Handful of brave Fellows over Four Times their Number; and of the Skill which formed, conducted, and effected so daring an Enterprise. Le Cerbere, commanded by a Lieutenant de Vaisseau, and towed out under a very heavy Fire is given up as a Prize by the Squadron to mark their Admiration, and will not, I know, be the only Reward of such Bravery; they will receive the Protection your Lordship so liberally accords to all young Men in the Service who happily distinguish themselves under your command. I enclose Lieutenant Coghlan’s letter and have the Honor, &c. Edward Pellew It is clear that this news rendered St Vincent quite beside himself with delight: one can well imagine the old admiral, pacing his day-cabin, thumping his fist into his palm and thinking of his youthful exploits under similar circumstances. Although he kept his emotions under control while writing to Evan Nepean, Secretary of the Admiralty, he allowed them full rein in more private letters to Earl Spencer, 1st Lord of the Admiralty and to Sir Edward Pellew: [To Evan Nepean] Royal George, off Ushant, 4th August1800 Sir, …the desperate service performed by acting-Lieutenant Coghlan, of the Viper cutter, on the 29th July, …has


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filled me with pride and admiration; …I am persuaded the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty will do all in their power to …make a minute for his promotion the moment he is in a capacity to receive it. …St Vincent [To Lord Spencer] H.M.S. Royal George, near Ushant, 4th August 1800 My dear Lord, I shall not trouble your Lordship with a word more than is contained in the enclosed private letter from Sir Edward Pellew on the subject of the intrepid Coghlan, except to say (not out of ostentation, but to prevent the City, or any body of merchants, making him a present of the same sort) that I give him a sword of one hundred guineas value. …St Vincent [To Sir Edward Pellew] Dear Sir, I am quite transported with the noble exploit performed by your friend Coghlan. …I desire that you will acquaint Mr Coghlan, that I have directed Mr Makepeace, an eminent goldsmith, in Searle Street, Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London, to prepare a sword of 100 guineas value, which I will beg of you to present to this gallant seaman, in the most appropriate manner. Yours most truly, St Vincent Thus, this sword came to be earned, commissioned and presented. While Makepeace was commissioning Ray and Montague to set to work on the hilt, Coghlan would have received news that he had been promoted to the substantive rank of lieutenant, with effect from 22nd September 1800, and confirmed in command of his cutter, HMS Viper. Added to this was the equally important fact that, as Pellew said in his letter to St Vincent, Coghlan’s fellow squadronofficers had been so impressed by his feat that they had unanimously waived their claim to the prize money represented by Le Cerbère. Shared among such a small crew as survived the expedition, this would have netted Coghlan a tidy sum of money. Lord St Vincent’s choice of Makepeace as the supplier of the sword must have been decided by the fact that this firm had been the suppliers of the 200-guinea sword presented to him by the City of London following his great victory over a Spanish fleet at the Battle of Cape St Vincent in 1797 (National Maritime Museum No. 439); its hilt had been made by James Morisset, predecessor to Ray and Montague. The firm had also supplied similar swords to the City for other contemporaneous presentations, so Coghlan’s sword came from the very best of suppliers, as well as having its hilt made by the very best goldsmiths of their day. Coghlan remained in command of his cutter for the next year, retaking a captured British transport ship, the Diamond, and capturing a French privateer brig, L’Héros, of 14 guns and 73 men. During the short-lived Peace of Amiens in 1802 Coghlan, like many another naval officer, was unemployed but was honoured twice in that year by his native city of Cork, being made a Freeman of the City and being admitted to a private club, called The Scotch Corporation, which gave him a item of plate to mark their admiration. He was re-employed upon the resumption of the war in 1803 and was promoted master and commander in 1804, being given command of an 18-gun flush-deck sloop, HMS Renard. In the following three years, while stationed in West Indian waters, Coghlan and his crew captured two French privateers and a brig. In 1807, he was removed to command an 18-gun brig, HMS Elk, in which he captured two schooners and commanded a


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light squadron based in the Bahamas. He was promoted post-captain in 1810 and by 1812 was flagcaptain to his patron, Sir Edward Pellew – by then an admiral, in the 1st rate, 120-gun, HMS Caledonia. Coghlan remained in command of Caledonia, stationed in the Mediterranean, into 1813, leading marines ashore in an assault upon the town of Cassis in August and captaining his ship effectively at a battle off Toulon in November. The command of a 1st rate line-of-battle ship may not have been to Coghlan’s taste since he transferred to a frigate, HMS Alcmene, in 1814 and was soon active in capturing French ships, assisting in the destruction of convoys and generally participating as the Royal Navy harassed the shore of the Napoleonic empire in its dying days. Coghlan was one of the first officers to be created Companions of the Order of the Bath (CB) on its enlargement of that Order in June 1815 but remained a frigate captain for the rest of his career until he retired in 1830. Jeremiah Coghlan spent his final years on the Isle of Wight, dying in Ryde on 4th March 1844 in his sixty-ninth year. In noting his death, the local newspaper, The Hampshire Telegraph and Sussex Chronicle, devoted several column-inches to his naval service; in recording his funeral, it used almost as many: Saturday last the remains of Captain Jeremiah Coghlan RN CB were interred… The oldest inhabitant of the town does not remember an instance of greater respect than was shown to the memory of this gallant officer, whose simple and unostentatious manners, during the whole of his lengthened residence here, had procured for him universal esteem. Agreeably to his last testamentary request, his body was placed in a most handsome coffin of heart of oak, and borne to the grave by petty officers, 12 of whom, appropriately belonging to H.M.S. St Vincent, were sent over from Portsmouth… On the coffin were placed the Union Jack, the cocked hat of the deceased, and a splendid sword, of 100 guineas value, bearing the inscription “Admiral Earl St Vincent to the intrepid Coghlan”. The pall was borne by six post-captains… Crowds of both sexes accompanied the procession from the house of the deceased to the church, which was filled during the solemn service. Coghlan was interred in the church of St Thomas, Ryde, where a memorial tablet records him as: An officer highly and justly esteemed for his numerous gallant and successful encounters with the enemies of his country; he was an intrepid and skilful seaman; and affectionate friend and a benevolent Christian. His loss is deeply lamented by a large circle of acquaintance who knew and appreciated his worth.


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Admiral of the Fleet Sir John Jervis GCB, 1st Earl of St Vincent, 1735-1823. Sir William Beechey; painted between 1787 and 1790. © National Maritime Museum, London, (BHC 3001).

Literature:

Brenton, Captain E.P., The Naval History of Great Britain 1783-1822 (London, 1823), Vol. II, pp. 510-511. Clowes, W.L., The Royal Navy: a history from the earliest times to the present (London, 1899), Vol. IV, pp. 532 & 557. James, W., The Naval History of Great Britain, from the declaration of War by France in 1793 to the accession of George IV (London, 1837), Vol. III, pp. 44-45; Vol. IV pp. 129-30 & 238-239; Vol. VI pp. 168-169. Marshall, J., Royal Naval Biography (London, 1828), supplement II, pp. 298-310. Southwick, L., ‘New facts about James Morisset…’, in Journal of the Arms and Armour Society, Vol. XV, No. 6 (September 1997), pp. 313-350; for this sword, see pp. 333-335, illustrated as pl. 9, Item 40. Southwick, L., London Silver-Hilted Swords: Their Makers, Suppliers and Allied Traders with directory, (Leeds, 2001) pp. 174-176 and 204-205. Stürken, D., ‘Espadas de Honra; Swords of Honour’ in Bulletin of the Portuguese Academy of Antique Arms; Boletim da Sociedade Portuguesia de Armas Antigas, Vol. II, No. 1, pp.13-29; for this sword pp. 18-22.


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42. An Important Cased Pair of French Pistols of De-Luxe quality made in the Versailles workshop of Nicholas-Noël Boutet and Presented by Napoléon Bonaparte 1802 Having flat locks with bevelled edges to the major parts, the lockplates engraved in script Boutet à Versailles and the rear of the plates chiselled with vertical panels of knurling; the swan-necked cocks engraved with foliate scrolls and the steels, which have roller-bearings, similarly engraved. Full stocks of figured walnut, the finely chequered grips carved above the butt caps with demi-florets on either side above beaded edging. Cast silver mounts decorated in relief with marine iconography: on the trigger guards, a ship, and on the front tangs an anchor beneath a vase and a floral finial. The rear tangs of the trigger guards struck with the French silver marks introduced by the law of 19 Brumaire, Year VI (9th November 1797) and used until 1st September 1809 together with a maker’s mark, the initials JM in a diamond surmounted by a five-pointed star. Three five-faceted baluster ramrod pipes enclosing the original horn-tipped wooden ramrods, the finials of the tailpipes each in the form of a grotesque fish from whose open mouths emerge the pipes. Butt caps decorated with anchors and palms. The side plates in the form of shell scrolls surround the two side nails. Blued octagonal barrels with multi-groove rifling, the visible flats enriched by panels of gold decoration at the breech and fore-end involving ships, anchors, anthemion ornament, trophies of arms, swags, vases and symbols such as a crescent, bells and a trident. The side flats towards the breech are inlaid in gold with lattice work and, in front of this, are engraved in script on the right side with Boutet Directr Artiste No. 150 and on the left side Manufacre. à Versailles. Contained in their original, contour-fitted, walnut-veneered case with a green baize lining enriched by gold cord edgings and a leather-lined lid tooled and gilt with the inscription: DONNÉ PAR LE PREMIER CONSUL BONAPARTE. AU CAPITAINE CORONADO, COMMANDANT LE BRIG DE SA MAJESTÉ CATHOLIQUE LE DÉCOUVREUR AN X DE LA REPQUE. FRANCOISE. (Given by the First Consul Bonaparte to Captain Coronado, commanding His Catholic Majesty’s Brig Le Découvreur Year X of the French Republic.) The case complete with a full set of original accessories including Versailles workshop powder flask, bullet mould, oil bottle, cleaning rods, hammer, mallet, pricker and other cleaning, loading and maintenance equipment. Overall length: 16 D in Barrel length: 10 I in


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Our magnificent and important pair of pistols is part of a very small group of such exquisite arms given to Spanish naval captains by Napoléon Bonaparte early in 1802. Despite being for presentation to naval officers, they are in the general style of the holster pistols made for army officers which formed the basis of the vast majority of Boutet’s output of presentation pistols. Our pair, and the others known that were presented at the same time, are generally referred to as pistolets du type ‘officiers généraux’ or General Officers’ pistols. They are, however, longer in the barrel (10I inches compared to 8I inches) than the model of Year XII that was adopted in September 1803 for commanders down to the rank of colonel and aides-de-camps and on which many, but by no means all, later presentation pieces were modelled. Boutet’s presentation pistols were produced in a variety of qualities. Ours rank among some of the most elegant, their restrained and symbolic decoration perfectly capturing both the artistic spirit of the age and the nature of their recipient. These pistols were made for a Spanish naval captain and are of very fine quality, reflecting the importance that France attached to her alliance with Spain. They are, for instance, more elaborate than the similar pair that Napoléon himself carried at the battle of Friedland on 14th June 1806: those have plain barrels and silver mounts that include butt caps in the form of Medusa heads and are now in the Musée Carnavalet, Paris (No. OM 592 [1-2]). Ours are perhaps most comparable to a pair belonging to Jérome Bonaparte, Napoléon’s brother, also made by Boutet in Year X (1802) and now in the Musée de l’Armée, Paris (No. M 20228): those are of similar quality but have barrels that change from octagonal at the breech to round at the muzzle. Our pistols are also very similar in quality to the cased pairs belonging to Generals Dalesme and Duhesme and also in the Musée de l’Armée, Paris (Nos. M 1747 and Cc 765 respectively). Finer pairs of pistols by Boutet are, of course, known but these much more elaborately decorated weapons were made either for very high-ranking officers or for the rulers of nations and empires: most are now in the great museums of the world. Among these finer pairs of pistols can cited the following: the pair presented by Napoléon to General Baron Müller and now in the Musée de l’Armée, Paris; the pair presented by Napoléon to Colonel de Liechtenstein, also in the Musée de l’Armée, Paris; the pair made for presentation to Tsar Alexander 1st, now in the Musée National de la Légion d’Honneur, Paris; the pair that Napoléon took with him to Saint Helena, now in the Musée de l’Armée, Paris, and the pair made for presentation to Joseph Bonaparte and now in the Musée National du Château de Fontainebleau. Nicholas-Noël Boutet (1761-1833) worked as a gunmaker in Paris for over a quarter of a century during the greatest social and political upheavals ever known in France. He plied his trade under a monarchy, then a republic, then an empire and finally a monarchy again. He inherited the title of arquebusier du roi from his father-in-law, Pierre Desainte. The Versailles factory, where these pistols were made, was set up in 1792 at a moment of military crisis for the young French Republic. Boutet was appointed its first artistic director, a position he retained until the factory closed in 1818. To begin with, it amounted to little more than an attempt to amalgamate the gunmaking workshops in the area but in 1793 Boutet was authorised to recruit Liège gunmakers, to acquire gunmaking equipment and to establish a special shop for the manufacture of luxury arms. From this moment, the Versailles factory performed the dual role of manufacturing large quantities of regulation military firearms and much smaller quantities of decorated weapons, mostly for presentation. In its working life the factory produced nearly 150,000 guns. Boutet was not a great


technical innovator, but he developed a very distinctive style. He re-introduced polygroove rifling for many of his luxury arms and he completely remodelled the form of the pistol stock, giving it a right-angled turn which is found on all Versailles-made pistols. This style may have derived from England, where more steeply down-curved butts had been developed, principally for duelling pistols, see this catalogue, item number 37. Many of his other improvements, such as the use of a false breech fixed to the stock into which the barrels hooked, the anti-friction roller between the steel and its spring and the hinged link between the tumbler and mainspring may also have been inspired by English developments. Although the two countries were at war for most of Boutet’s career at Versailles, good ideas knew no boundaries and he was quick to seize them.


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The presentation weapons produced at Versailles ranged from suitably inscribed standard issue weapons presented to deserving soldiers and sailors to magnificent and lavishly decorated weapons for presentation to senior officers and to heads of state. Napoléon’s respect for Boutet was sealed by the latter’s very sculptural work on the new military Sword of State that contained stones from the old crown jewels and on the lavish gold swords made for the new Emperor and the princes of the blood. Both before and after the advent of the Empire, the status and prosperity of the Boutet workshop exactly paralleled the rise of its principal patron, Napoléon Bonaparte. As his power grew, so the output of the Versailles workshop increased in magnificence and in its influence over its competitors in the field of presentation-quality arms. That such a gift as these sumptuous pistols could be made by Napoléon to a captain in the navy of an allied power indicates the splendour that he, the First Consul and future Emperor, wished to demonstrate to his allies and to the world. The story of the use of luxury arms as rewards for service in Revolutionary and post-Revolutionary France is an interesting and instructive one. The first instinct of the French Revolutionaries was towards equality. As part of this, a decree of 30th July 1791 forbade all outward signs or symbols implying any distinction caused by birth. This had the effect, whether fully intended or not, of abolishing most decorations and insignia. Once Revolutionary France found itself at war with its neighbours this soon proved to be untenable. There had to be some way to reward heroism in battle on behalf of the Revolution and thus to encourage others. The first ‘crack in the dam’ came on 5th March 1793 when the Convention awarded a ‘National’ sword to one of its soldiers as an expression of public gratitude for bravery at the battle of Jemappes. This idea was taken to heart by Napoléon Bonaparte during his Italian campaigns of 1796-97. General Bonaparte was already very conscious of the importance of propaganda in his drive to consolidate his personal power. He needed to reward service very liberally and very publicly in order to foster the development of an army that was principally loyal and grateful to him: our magnificent presentation épée-glaive, see this catalogue, item number 39, given by the Republic to Général-dedivision, later Maréchal, Macdonald in 1798 for his service in the Netherlands is a particularly fine, important, and evocative example of this practice. So, during the Italian campaigns, Napoléon introduced frequent awards for meritorious conduct and actions: these were systematised and formally approved


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under the Consulate by a decree of 4 Nivôse, Year VIII (Christmas Day 1799). These highly decorated and personalised presentation pieces can be seen as the ancestors of the Légion d’Honneur that Napoléon established in 1802 as an award for gallantry in action or for long and distinguished service to the state. It was first bestowed some two years later on 15th July 1804. This establishment of a new chivalric Order did not in any way stem the production of luxury presentation pieces as rewards for distinguished service. Most of these were weapons – swords, muskets, rifles, carbines, pistols or boarding axes – but trumpets and drumsticks were among other items of equipment that were beautified for presentation. All these special weapons and presentation pieces were made in the national arms factory at Versailles under the direction of Nicholas-Noël Boutet. The production of such luxury arms as rewards for bravery needs also to be seen in the overall context of Napoléon’s use of the arts to underpin his regime. He understood the propaganda importance of the arts and even in the Italian campaigns was beginning to surround himself with young artists, sculptors and musicians who could help to promote his success and prowess. After his rise to power following the coup of 18 Brumaire, Year VIII (9th November 1799) Napoléon put in place a novel and concerted cultural policy that was intended to bolster his regime and enhance and memorialise its glory. Fine and decorative arts, architecture and music all flourished in the French State under Napoléon, who became a major patron of all the arts. Paris was remodelled with triumphal roads, monuments, modernised palaces and a new basic infrastructure. In 1804 Napoléon chose the master of the neo-Classical school, JacquesLouis David (1748-1825), as his official painter. Of interest to students of arms is the fact that, earlier, David had designed the sword for the cadets of the revolutionary military academy, the École de Mars. The overall result was the development of the ‘Empire’ style. Its roots can be found in the neo-Classicism that became fashionable towards the end of the reign of Louis XV (1710-74) and which had taken as its starting point a strict adherence to the models of classical antiquity. To this, after Napoléon’s Egyptian campaign at the end of the 18th century, was added the heady mix of ancient Egyptian art and antiquities. The opulence of the Empire style was born from these and from Napoléon’s determination to achieve immortality for himself and glory for France.


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Our pistols, made for presentation to Captain Coronado, need to be seen in two developing contexts: the use of the arts to aid an expansive regime and the perfection of the ‘Empire’ style. What were the reasons for their presentation? In 1802, when these pistols were given to Captain Coronado by the First Consul, Republican France and Catholic Spain had been allies against Great Britain for six years. The combined strength of the Spanish and French fleets was potentially considerable and the long coastlines of the two nations required the constant vigilance of Britain’s Royal Navy to police and to attempt to blockade them. Periodically, attempts were made by the Spanish fleet to link with the French fleet in order to present a joint threat of invasion to Britain but successive fleet actions by the Royal Navy prevented this from occurring. However, a Spanish squadron was maintained in the great French Atlantic harbour of Brest: it was composed of shipsof-the-line of all sizes and comprised both Spanish ships and French ships under Spanish command. Spanish ships and their crews also sailed in alliance with those of France in a joint expedition to Santo Domingo in 1801. The potential of the Spanish squadron in Brest was of great value to France prior to the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. The importance to France of this Spanish naval assistance explains why these pistols were presented. Napoléon ordered their presentation on 14 Floréal, Year X of the Revolutionary Calendar (4th May 1802), by issuing an Arrêté (decree) from Paris specifying: Le Premier Consul de la République, voulant donner à l’escadre espagnole de Brest un témoignage de sa satisfaction de la conduite des officiers et des équipages pendant leur séjour dans le port, arrête: Article 1er. Il sera donné à chaque capitaine de la flotte espagnole, à Brest, un sabre d’abordage et une paire de pistolets. Article 2. Le minister de la marine est chargé de l’exécution du présent arrêté, qui ne sera pas imprimé. Bonaparte. (The First Consul of the Republic, wishing to give to the Spanish Squadron of Brest a symbol of his satisfaction at the conduct of the officers and men during their stay at the port, decrees: 1st. He will give to each captain of the Spanish fleet, in Brest, a boarding sabre and a pair of pistols. 2nd. The Minister of Marine is charged with the execution of this decree, which will not be printed.) It is clear that these pistols constituted a diplomatic gift at a time when, although the combined fleets had seen little successful action, Napoléon was actively planning a full-scale invasion of Britain: the continuing support of Spain for France was essential in the furtherance of this planned invasion. The gift of our pistols was made at the beginning of that lull in the war with Britain known as the Peace of Amiens: this followed the signing of a peace treaty in that city on 27th March 1802. While renewed war may have been inevitable eventually, the cessation of hostilities was an appropriate moment to show gratitude for their allegiance to the commanders of ships of the Spanish fleet. That these magnificent pistols have seen little or no use is indicative of the care and reverence with which they have been regarded, both at the time of their presentation and subsequently. France’s need for the assistance of the Spanish fleet was soon to re-emerge. 1803 saw the breakdown of the Peace of Amiens and renewed war between France and Britain. Napoléon decided to reassemble an invasion army and fleet so that he could deal once and for all with the irritating British who would not accept defeat and kept stirring up trouble on the continent. This


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Armée d’Angleterre was soon assembled at Boulogne but it never sailed for Britain and was eventually marched east to contribute to the great French victory at Austerlitz late in 1805. During this period the importance of the Spanish Navy to his regime was higher than ever. Even the combined fleet bottled up in Brest assumed an increased importance. For while British ships blockaded Brest there were fewer of them to combat an invasion of Britain or disrupt French trade on the high seas. The Spanish fleet remained active and loyal and a force to be reckoned with by the British until the Royal Navy’s victory over the combined fleets of France and Spain at Trafalgar in 1805 effectively destroyed Spain as a maritime ally of France. Before that, the potential of the Spanish squadron in Brest was of great value to France and justified the expense of presenting its captains with magnificent arms of honour such as Captain Coronado’s magnificent pistols. Literature:

Bonaparte, N., Correspondance (Tome VII) (Paris, 1861). Bottet, Captain M., Nicholas Boutet et la Manufacture de Versailles (Paris, 1903). Boudriot, J., Armes à feu françaises, modèles réglementaires 1717–1836, (Chenevières sur Marne, 1997), Vol. II, pp. 210-11, 216-17. Grancsay, S.V., ‘A Versailles Gun by Boutet, Directeur-Artiste’, Arms & Armor: Essays by Stephen Grancsay from the Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 1920 – 1964, (New York, 1986), pp. 155-159. Various contributors, Napoleon and the Arts, (Paris, 2004). Various contributors, La Manufacture d’Armes de Versailles et Nicholas-Noël Boutet, exhibition catalogue, Musée Lambinet, (Versailles, 1993), pp180-187.


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43. The Magnificent British Presentation Small-Sword by John Ray and James Montague of London presented by the City of London to Rear Admiral The Hon. Alexander Forrester Inglis Cochrane 1806, Admiral Cochrane’s Large Naval Gold Medal for the Battle off St Domingo, 6th February 1806 and a Miniature Portrait of Admiral Cochrane as a captain by George Engleheart 1803 The sword’s hilt of cast and chased 18-carat gold, struck on the inside of the knucklebow with the London hallmark for the assaying year of 1806-07 and the Standard mark, the Standard mark also struck on the blade side of the shell and the upper band of the grip, the makers’ mark of Ray and Montague struck on both sides of the shell. The hilt decorated overall with neo-Classical iconography: the knucklebow cast and chased on both sides with trophies of arms and flags between sprays of oak and laurel; the arms of the hilt formed of wreaths of laurel; the flat-topped pommel button cast and chased with acanthus leaves. The grip inset with oval translucent enamel plaques within cast and chased tied wreaths of oak and laurel, the plaque inside the hand bearing the shield of Arms, Crest and Motto of Rear Admiral Cochrane and that outside the hand bearing the Arms of the City of London. The oval pommel inset with translucent enamel plaques within cast and chased tied wreaths of oak and laurel, each plaque bearing a trophy of arms and flags incorporating a globe, compass and sextant. The grip side of the oval shell-guard cast and chased with a border, incorporating opposing shells and opposing trophies of arms and flags between sprays of oak and laurel, surrounding a polished centre. The blade side of the shell cast and chased with a border formed of a continuous wreath of laurel surrounding the following engraved inscription upon a polished ground: SHAW MAYOR At a Court of Common Council holden in the Chamber of the Guildhall of the CITY of LONDON on Thursday the 27th of March 1806. Resolved Unanimously that a Gold hilted Sword be Presented To REAR ADML. COCHRANE As a Mark of their good Opinion of his Exemplary Conduct when Serving under Vice Admiral Sr. John Duckworth at the Capture and Destruction of the - FRENCH FLEET on the 6th day of February last OFF ST. DOMINGO.


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The polished triangular section blade decorated with etched scrolls. The wooden scabbard covered in polished black shagreen mounted in gold, the top mount struck with the Standard mark and Duty mark and engraved with the retailer’s name Goodbehere, Wigan & Bult, 86 Cheapside, London and the middle and bottom mounts struck with the makers’ mark and Standard mark; loose rings attached to the top and middle mounts. Overall length: 40 in Blade length: 33 in The gold medal of the pattern and size introduced for flag officers, commodores and captains-of-the-fleet in 1796: the obverse die-struck with a figure of Victory, standing upon the prow of an antique galley and crowning Britannia with laurel: she is helmeted, standing upon the galley and accompanied by an oval Union shield, placing her right foot upon a helmet and holds a spear in her left hand; the reverse die-struck with a wreath of oak and laurel and with the following inscription engraved upon a polished ground: HONBLE. ALEXANDER COCHRANE REAR ADMIRAL AND SECOND IN COMMAND ON THE 6TH FEBRUARY MDCCCVI THE FRENCH SQUADRON CAPTURED AND DESTROYED The coin of the medal enclosed by a gold band securing convex glass discs protecting obverse and reverse and mounting a fixed gold ring, through which passes a larger loose gold ring for the blue-and-white corded silk ribbon. Diameter: 2 B in The oval miniature portrait, in oil on ivory, glazed and within a gilded frame, depicts Admiral Cochrane, head and shoulders, in post-captain’s full dress uniform of the pattern worn 17951812 and is signed E in the lower right field; the convex-glazed reverse encloses a lock of Cochrane’s hair and has a paper label bearing the inscription, in ink: Admiral The Honble Sir Alexr. Inglis Cochrane GCB. Height: 4 in Width: 2 P in


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Although we have been privileged to offer a number of superb-quality British presentation swords of varying types in our catalogues since 1995, the sword offered here is the first of those to have been presented by the City of London. It is likewise our first that was presented for a major fleet action, our first that was presented to an admiral and our first that is accompanied not only by a gold medal awarded for the same action but also by another gold-hilted sword presented to the same recipient, item number 38 in this catalogue, as well as a period original image of the recipient. Both our swords are fresh to the market, as is the gold medal and the miniature of Admiral Cochrane, and all the items have an unbroken provenance stretching back to their recipient; both swords are of the very highest quality and commemorate significant naval actions during the two decades of war against France at the turn of the 18th century. Like many of his peers, long-served sailors in the Royal Navy at a time of global wars, Cochrane’s active naval career was briefly interrupted by the short-term Peace of Amiens in 1802. Since our two swords were presented to him for distinguished service in actions that flanked that brief truce, our treatment in this catalogue of his life and service has been divided into two parts, one after the resumption of the war with France in 1803 – dealt with here – and the other prior to 1802, which accompanies item number 38. By 1806 – the date of the award of our sword and medal – the balance in Britain’s war with France was beginning to change, from one in which the Royal Navy had won the greatest number of victories to one in which the British Army would win its share of the laurels. This gradual change was reflected in the way in which both the British government and Britain’s most generous corporate body – the City of London – rewarded their martial heroes. Between 1797 and 1816, the City of London is recorded as making thirty-five presentations of swords, mainly accompanied by Freedoms of the City, to senior British and allied naval and military officers for their distinguished service against the French and their allies. Of those swords, nineteen were awarded to British naval officers, twelve to British army officers and four to foreigners. Prior to the award of our sword in 1806, the City had awarded fourteen swords, of which eleven had been given to senior naval officers. Of the nineteen swords awarded to naval


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officers between 1797 and 1816, eleven were to the value of one hundred guineas, as is ours, and nine of those were small-swords. Our sword is the seventh of the nine one-hundred-guinea smallswords awarded by the City of London to British naval officers in the nineteen years of the wars with France. John Ray and James Montague probably trained and worked in the workshop of James Morisset, see item 38 in this catalogue. They succeeded Morisset in his premises in Denmark Street, Soho, in 1800 and maintained the extraordinarily high standard of work in the same type of goods for which Morisset had been known. Their output, especially in the realm of sword hilts and snuffboxes in precious metals and enamels, occasionally set with precious stones, has been the subject of the same research as has the work of Morisset. Ray and Montague registered their joint mark at Goldsmiths’ Hall in May 1800 and continued in partnership until 1821, by which time the ending of the wars with France had meant that demand for pieces for presentation to martial heroes had come to an end. We were able to offer another superb sabre with gold and enamel hilt by Ray and Montague presented to Lieutenant-Colonel The Hon. Edward Pakenham in 1802 in our 2003 catalogue, Item No. 41, and Cochrane’s sword offered here is one of two swords with Ray and Montague hilts in this catalogue, the other being that presented to ‘The Intrepid Coghlan’ in 1800, item number 41 in this catalogue. Ray and Montague are known to have made the mounts for six of the seven one-hundred-guinea small-swords presented by the City to naval officers between 1800, when Ray and Montague took over from Morisset, and 1816, when the last award was made, although a number of different retail jewellers and goldsmiths supplied the finished articles to the City for presentation. The retailers who supplied Cochrane’s second sword, described here, joined in partnership in 1800 at 86 Cheapside in the City of London, the partnership lasting until the death of Edward Wigan in 1814. At the same time that the City of London was awarding swords, and occasionally enamelled gold snuffboxes, to deserving martial heroes, the Crown was awarding gold medals. The medals for award to naval officers were instituted by King George III following Lord Howe’s great naval victory of 1st June 1794 but they were not ordered by the Admiralty until November 1796, the dies for them being designed and cut by Lewis Pingo (1743-1815), the chief engraver at the Royal Mint


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where the medals were struck. The medals were awarded in two sizes, a large size – as is ours – for award to admirals, commodores and captains-of-the-fleet and a smaller size, of a similar design, for award to captains and, occasionally, to more junior officers. In all, between – retrospectively – 1794 and 1815, when the last medal was awarded, a total of twenty-two large medals and one hundred and thirteen small medals were awarded, only twenty-seven of the total of one hundred and thirtyfive being awarded after the end of 1805. The last three large medals to be awarded were given to the admirals in command at the battle off St Domingo on 6th February 1806, making our medal one of the last three of the twenty-two large gold medals to be awarded. A gold medal was awarded to some army officers who had been present at the battle of Maida in Calabria, Italy, on 4th July 1806 and, from 1810 gold medals in two sizes, and eventually gold crosses, began to be awarded to army officers as the Army’s share of the laurels of victory began to grow. Thus, our sword and our medal are among the last of their type to be awarded to an admiral: they represent a combination of award that is only available for sale very rarely. Our miniature is known to have been painted by George Engleheart (1750-1829), one of the greatest virtuosi of the art of miniature portrait painting, since it is recorded in his fee book that the ‘Honble Captain Cochrane’ sat to him in 1803; the letter E that appears in the field of the miniature is recognised as Engleheart’s signature. Cochrane is depicted in the full dress uniform of a naval captain of the pattern worn 1795-1812 and probably had Engleheart ‘take his likeness’ as a keepsake for his wife and family before he went to sea again, following the breakdown of the Peace of Amiens, early in 1803. When war with France resumed in 1803, Cochrane was appointed to the command of the 3rd rate, 74-gun HMS Northumberland. On 23rd April 1804, he was advanced to flag rank, as Rear Admiral of the Blue squadron, and spent the next year in command of the blockade of Ferrol, a port on the north-western tip of Spain that housed a French squadron. In February 1805, Cochrane’s squadron chased a French fleet to the Caribbean and he was appointed Commander-in-Chief on the Leeward Islands station while there. Having been promoted to Rear Admiral of the White squadron on 9th November 1805, he was on leave in England when a large French squadron evaded the British blockade and left Brest for the Caribbean on 13th December. Hurrying west across the Atlantic, Cochrane found the British fleet sent in pursuit of the French at St Kitts on


12th January 1806 and was immediately appointed as second-in-command to Vice-Admiral Sir John Duckworth KB (1748-1817). The aim of the French fleet was twofold: to reinforce the French garrison on St Domingo and to cruise and harass British trade in West Indian and American waters and in the south Atlantic. After several weeks of manoeuvring, the two fleets met off the island of St Domingo on 6th February 1806 and the resulting, hotly contested, action – the last real squadron or fleet action of the Napoleonic Wars – ended in a total defeat for the French, the capture of several ships and prizes and the inflicting of enormous casualties at comparatively little cost to the Royal Navy. The victory off St Domingo ended any further concerns on the part of Britain about the French capacity to wage a naval war in the Caribbean. As a result of his services on that occasion Cochrane was created a Knight Companion of the Order of the Bath (KB) and, as we have seen, presented with the Freedom of the City of London, together with our sword, and a gold medal from the King. Duckworth and the third-in-command, Rear Admiral Thomas Louis (1759-1807) also received Freedoms of the City, Duckworth’s accompanied by a two-hundredguinea spadroon (National Maritime Museum, No. 1121) and Louis’s accompanied by what was probably a one-hundred-guinea small-sword; Louis was also created a baronet. Cochrane remained in the Caribbean and in North American waters, being promoted Rear Admiral of the Red squadron on 28th April 1808 and commanding the naval element of an expedition to capture the island of Martinique on 24th February 1809. Promoted Vice-Admiral of the Blue squadron on 25th October, he commanded a fleet of fifty ships at the capture of the island of Guadeloupe on 5th February 1810 and was appointed governor of Guadeloupe before being promoted to Vice-Admiral of the White squadron on 31st July and Vice-Admiral of the Red squadron on 4th December 1813. On 1st April 1814, with the war with the United States in its second year, Cochrane was appointed Commander-in-Chief on the North American station and hoisted his flag in HMS Tonnant, 3rd rate 80-gun ship-of-the-line that had been captured from the French at the Battle of the Nile. The war with France appearing to have come to an end, with Napoléon in what was to prove to be temporary exile on Elba, Cochrane was able to increase the


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size of his fleet substantially and maintain an extremely effective blockade of various American ports. While based in Chesapeake Bay, he was instrumental in co-ordinating the joint naval and military attack on Washington DC in August 1814, in which British soldiers, sailors and Royal Marines caused great devastation, including burning the White House. An attack on Baltimore on 13th September was, however, less successful, as was one on New Orleans on 8th January 1815, fifteen days after the signing of a peace treaty between Britain and the United States of America. Cochrane returned to Britain at the end of the war with the USA, having had his knighthood of the Bath transformed into the grade of Knight Grand Cross (GCB) under the reorganisation of that Order in January 1815. He was promoted Admiral of the Blue squadron on 12th August 1819 but was unemployed before being appointed Commander-in-Chief at Plymouth in 1821. Promoted finally to Admiral of the White squadron on 27th May 1825, Cochrane died in Paris on 26th January 1832 and was buried in the cemetery of Père-Lachaise. Provenance:

By descent until 2004 when sold privately; on loan to the National War Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh Castle, 1965-2004 (No. ML1965.2).

Literature:

Blair, C., Three Presentation Swords, (London, 1972), p. 51, item 35. Cochrane, A., The Fighting Cochranes, (London, 1983), pp. 229-271. Eimer, C., The Pingo family and medal-making in 18th century Britain, (London, 1998), p. 67. Howarth, S., ‘Sir Alexander Forrester Inglis Cochrane’, in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, (Oxford, 2004). Rowbotham, Cdr. W.B., ‘The Flag Officers’ and Captains’ Gold Medal 17941815’, The Mariner’s Mirror, Vol. XXXVII (1951), pp. 260-281. Southwick, L., ‘The recipients, goldsmiths, and costs of the swords presented by the Corporation of the City of London’, Journal of the Arms and Armour Society, Vol. XIII, No. 3 (March 1990), pp. 173-220; for this sword, see p. 181. Southwick, L., ‘New facts about James Morisset…’, Journal of the Arms and Armour Society, Vol. XV, No. 6 (September 1997), pp. 313-350; for this sword, see pp. 339-340, item 55. Southwick, L., London Silver-Hilted Swords: Their Makers, Suppliers and Allied Traders with directory, (Leeds, 2001); pp. 121-123 and 204-205. Williamson, G.C., George Engleheart 1750-1829, Miniature Painter to George III, (London, 1902), p. 93. Woodman, R.(ed.), The Victory of Seapower: winning the Napoleonic War 1806-14 (London, 2001), pp. 20-24, 77-80.


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Admiral The Honourable Sir Alexander Forrester Inglis Cochrane GCB, 1758-1832. Robert Field, 1809. The Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh,(PG 1578).


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44. A Fine British Presentation Sabre mounted by Woolley, Deakin and Dutton, Birmingham and presented to John Welch, adjutant East Maylor Volunteers 1808 The stirrup-hilt of cast, chased, matted and polished ormolu, the knucklebow extravagantly fashioned with entwined serpents surrounding a pierced Classical trophy of arms and incorporating Union flowers and acanthus leaves; the quillon and langets formed of acanthus leaves and terminating in a multi-petalled floret; the lion’s head pommel extending to a backpiece enclosing a scalloped mane and floral spray in polished panels; the fluted ivory grip wound with polished flat gold wire flanked by bands of inset gold stars and fitted with a ferrule decorated with acanthus leaves; with its sword knot of crimson silk and gold lace terminating in a gold bullion tassel. The blade of sabre form, with one broad and two narrow fullers, decorated over its entire length with blueing and gilding, engraved WOOLLEY DEAKIN & DUTTON WARRANTED, the iconography including the Royal Crest for England, the British Royal Arms 1801-14, the Royal cypher GR, and the figures of Britannia, Prudence and Fame, together with the following inscription, in burnished gilt lettering, FROM THE OFFICERS & PRIVATES OF THE EAST MAYLOR VOLUNTEERS TO JOHN WELCH, ADJUTANT, AS A TESTIMONY OF APPROBATION OF HIS ZEALOUS SERVICE FOR SIX YEARS 1808. The wooden scabbard covered in black velvet, reinforced at its front and back edges with strips of ormolu and fitted with three cast, chased and polished ormolu mounts: the upper mount incorporating, in matted panels, an acanthus leaf above a Classical trophy of arms and the reverse engraved with the retailers’ name, Woolley Deakin & Dutton BIRMINGHAM within an inset gold cartouche; the middle mount incorporating the British Royal Arms 1801-14 above a spray of Union flowers; the bottom mount incorporating a Classical trophy of arms, the eagle of Zeus, an acanthus leaf and terminating in an acorn finial; the upper and middle mounts fitted with fixed rings in the form of curled acanthus leaves. The sword contained within its original pink silk-lined mahogany box. Overall length: 37 in Blade length: 29 I in Comparatively late for a sword of this type, this magnificently florid specimen of the genre is typical of the better-quality sabres presented to members of the various auxiliary military units that existed in Britain from 1793 until 1814. It can be regarded as a late example because the units of Volunteers that had represented the parochial response to invasion threats since 1793 were very much in decline by 1808: thus, the date at which this example was presented is significant in the history of the Volunteer Forces of Great Britain.


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The outbreak of war with Revolutionary France in 1793 had necessitated the raising of auxiliary regiments in Britain, both to keep order at home in the absence of most of the regular army overseas and to supplement the remaining units of the regular army in case of invasion. As the threat of invasion increased through the 1790s, so did the number of regiments of Volunteers and Yeomanry Cavalry. Although the principal recruiting motive for these volunteer soldiers was patriotism, one should not discount the fact that service in a volunteer unit, based in its own locality, exempted the volunteer soldier from service in the Militia, which would never be deployed in its own county. The Militia was unpopular for two principal reasons. It acted, first, as a police force and, second, as a source from which recruits could be drafted into the regular Army: thus the attraction for recruits of the many volunteer corps. At the temporary Peace of Amiens in 1802 most of the volunteer corps were stood down. When war was resumed in 1803, and the fear of invasion became very serious, most were re-raised and many new ones were raised. The East Maylor Volunteers was in the latter category, being raised in September 1803. It was typical of the post-Amiens volunteer regiments in that it was almost as large as a regular regiment of infantry and drew its officers and men from a wide area. In 1803, ‘East Maylor’ was a detached part of the county of Flintshire on the English-Welsh border; it is now the south eastern portion of the County Borough of Wrexham. South-east of the town of Wrexham and west of the town of Whitchurch, it was surrounded by the counties of Shropshire, Cheshire and Denbighshire and was that part of Flintshire east of the River Dee. Later in the 19th century, it became known as Maelor Saesneg, ‘English Maylor’, to differentiate it, culturally and geographically, from Maelor Cymraeg, ‘Welsh Maylor’. The principal centres of population were the towns of Overton and Hanmer. The East Maylor Volunteers was centred upon Hanmer, the regiment’s commanding officer, the Right Honourable George, Lord Kenyon (1776-1855), owning large amounts of land in that area. Kenyon, a lawyer, had succeeded his father – the Lord Chief Justice of England 1788-1802 – in the title in 1802 and shared his father’s fear and hatred of revolution, radicalism and sedition: the Lord Chief Justice had been noted by Matthew Boulton in a letter to James Watt in February 1799 as having ordered six huge blunderbusses for the defence of his house, deadly instruments each capable of killing 50 men at a shot (more, I believe than his Lordship’s mouth ever sent from this world at one judgment). Thus, Kenyon’s raising of the East Maylor Volunteers was entirely in character and at one with the spirit of the landowning classes at the time. Like his fellow commanding officers of volunteer corps, Kenyon would have selected the officers of his regiment from landed gentlemen who were neighbours, or their sons, and men of business who were known to and trusted by him. Very little is known about Lieutenant John Welch, the recipient of our splendid sword. It is probable, though, that since he was appointed adjutant by Kenyon in October 1803, he was Kenyon’s estate manager or factor. The duties of an adjutant of a regiment of volunteers required a sound grasp of military organisation and business as well as a reliable knowledge of both the officers and men of the unit. The adjutant was someone upon whom the commanding officer had to be able to rely and someone whose managerial skills would be respected by his fellow officers as well. Similarly, since the men of rural volunteer units were generally recruited from among the tenants of the officers – and a significant number would have been tenants of Lord Kenyon – an estate manager, if such John Welch was, would have possessed the necessary civilian authority to maintain discipline when his Lordship’s tenants were in uniform and under arms.


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John Welch remained adjutant of the East Maylor Volunteers throughout the invasion panic of 1803-05, when it seemed likely that a French force would cross the English Channel from Boulogne in flat-bottomed boats. Nelson’s victory at Trafalgar in October 1805 and a switching of Napoleonic priorities that resulted in the battle of Austerlitz later the same year combined to avert the threat of invasion and so, by 1808, the units of volunteers had ceased to have much of a raison d’être. At the same time, Britain’s growing commitments to war on land, especially in the Iberian peninsula, required large numbers of regular troops and so having a great many potential recruits unavailable for drafting while serving in the volunteer corps was an unsatisfactory situation. Thus it was decided that the volunteer units would be invited, upon payment of a bounty, to form themselves into new larger regiments to be called the Local Militia, as distinct from the existing Militia, and from which drafting to the regular army would be possible. Although this represented Britain’s earliest experience of what a later age would call ‘conscription’ it was remarkably successful and it was probably in recognition of this transformation, from being the East Maylor Volunteers to becoming part of the new 1st Flintshire Local Militia, that John Welch’s time as adjutant of his volunteer unit was marked by the presentation of this sabre. The circumstances of the sword’s presentation are not recorded but it would have been presented upon such an occasion as was recorded in the local newspaper, the Chester Chronicle, on 11th November 1808, The East Maylor Volunteer Infantry assembled on the 5th of November, at Hanmer, for the purpose of their enrolment into the Local Militia, when out of 427, the original number of the corps, 418 took the bounty; the remainder were sworn the Monday following. This highly respectable corps, Commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Lord Kenyon, is the first in North Wales that offered their services into the Local Militia. After the business of their enrolment &c. had taken place, the Colonel regaled the officers and men with a good dinner and plenty of ale, which has been his annual custom, ever since the volunteers were raised. The evening was spent in the greatest hilarity, and many loyal and patriotic toasts were drank on the occasion; the whole was conducted with great regularity, and everyone departed highly gratified with the pleasures of the day. The transformation of the East Maylor Volunteers into part of the 1st Flintshire Local Militia did not mark the end of the service of John Welch as adjutant though: he was appointed adjutant of the new unit on 24th September 1808 and remained as such until 1813, after which all trace of him is lost. Although John Welch and his comrades-in-arms of two centuries ago are now dust, magnificent sabres such as our example remain to remind present generations of the spirit of those volunteer soldiers and of the skills of the manufacturing tradesmen in Birmingham who were able to produce such fine and splendid weapons. Literature:

Hay, D., ‘Lloyd Kenyon, 1st Baron Kenyon’ in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford, 2004). Wolffe, J., ‘George Kenyon, 2nd Baron Kenyon’ in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford, 2004).


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45. The Important and Unique Sword commissioned by Major General George Robert Ainslie Governor of Dominica and presented to him by the Legislature of that Island 1814 The cruciform hilt of cast, embossed and chased gold, struck on the upper rear face of the quillon with the London hallmarks for the assaying year of 1814-15, on the top band of the grip with the Standard mark for 22-carat gold, in both places with the maker’s mark of Thomas Price and decorated overall with Classical iconography incorporating trophies of antique arms, acanthus leaves and florets. The cylindrical grip decorated on its inner and outer faces with deeply embossed trophies of arms contained within decorative oval borders and engraved between with florets. The quillons, rectangular in section and engraved with scrolling acanthus foliage on inner and outer faces, terminate in widening flattened tips, the sides engraved with floral dentilling in the Gothick manner and the lower face of the rear quillon bearing in ink the number MI-2421A; the quillon block on its outer face engraved on a scroll-bordered panel with the Arms of Ainslie of Pilton as matriculated at the Court of Lord Lyon King of Arms by Sir Philip Ainslie of Pilton (1728-1802) in 1791. The flattopped pommel engraved with a dentilled lower band in the Gothick manner supporting, as a finial, a lion passant cast and chased in the round. The steel broadsword blade of flattened lenticular section damascened in silver and decorated with blue and gilt scrolling decoration incorporating, on its outer face, the inscription, in gold lettering, TO HIS EXCELLENCY MAJOR GENERAL AINSLIE, GOVERNOR OF DOMINICA &c &c &c THIS SWORD IS PRESENTED BY THE TWO BRANCHES OF THE LEGISLATURE IN TESTIMONY OF HIS MERITORIOUS CONDUCT IN THE REDUCTION OF THE MAROONS IN THE YEAR MDCCCXIV The wooden scabbard covered in crimson silk velvet and mounted in gold, the mounts struck with the Standard mark for 22-carat gold, the Duty mark and the maker’s mark of Thomas Price, the inner face of the top mount engraved with the retailer’s name RUNDELL BRIDGE & RUNDELL LONDON; each mount engraved with Classical trophies of arms and armour within decorative panels and bordered by floral iconography, the top and middle mount bearing gold suspension rings in the form of serpents swallowing their tails. The outer face of the top mount bearing, in ink, the number MI-2421B, the sword’s accession number while in the collections of the Glenbow Museum, Calgary, Canada. Overall length: 37 N in Blade length: 31 I in The importance of our unique sword as an item of decorative art and its significance within the canon of British presentation swords cannot be underestimated. The decorative roots of its hilt design are complicated but essentially of its time, combining contemporary interest in what came


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to be known as ‘Gothick Revival’ with the antiquarian interests of its recipient, who – rarely among recipients of presentation swords in Britain at that time – probably took a great deal of interest in the sword’s design. That the recipient, on this occasion, was able to influence the design of his presentation sword was due to the fact that he had been given two hundred guineas to commission it rather than having it commissioned for him and simply being presented with it. The result is a presentation sword that, in terms of its design, is unique among British presentation swords of the period of the wars with France, 1793-1815, when the art of the presentation sword in Britain reached its height. That a customer like George Robert Ainslie should have commissioned his sword from Rundell, Bridge and Rundell in 1814 is not surprising. Ainslie was a knowledgeable antiquary and probably both demanding and meticulous; Rundell, Bridge and Rundell were the pre-eminent goldsmiths of their time, holding the Royal Warrant from King George III and accustomed to executing individual commissions as well as producing items of exceptional quality from their many sub-contracted goldworkers. Thomas Price (circa 1763-1820), who made the hilt and mounts of this sword, had already produced several presentation swords for Rundell, Bridge and Rundell by the time of the Ainslie commission. While four of these, two gold-hilted sabres made in 1811 for presentation to Lieutenant-Generals Thomas Graham and Viscount Wellington and two more – with hilts in silver and silver-gilt respectively – made in 1814 for presentation to Commander John Bull and Rear Admiral Philip Durham, were of similar designs within the two groups of two, it is clear that Price was able to turn his skills to the production of unique swords too. While the Ainslie sword, its hilt à l’antique, is evidence of this, Price also made – in the same assaying year of 1814-15 – a sabre with silver-gilt mounts for Rundell, Bridge and Rundell that had been commissioned by the City of London for presentation to the Russian Field Marshal Count Barclay de Tolly. The form of our sword’s hilt is drawn from the cross-hilted swords of antiquity and is a style of hilt constant from the swords of Imperial Rome, through the Viking and then knightly swords of the early Middle Ages, to the formal swords-of-state of nations and cities and thence to the robing swords of the 17th and 18th centuries and the Classically inspired epée-glaives of the French Directory, see this catalogue, item number 39, and 1st Empire. As an antiquary, Ainslie would have been familiar with the ancient ancestry of this form of sword hilt and as a soldier who was being rewarded in 1814 more as an administrator than as a battlefield leader, it would be a form not only appropriate to his interests but also to his role. A neo-Classical small-sword would have been altogether too modern for his tastes and a sabre likewise too martial. The sword of an Imperial Tribune or Governor was altogether a different matter: thus,


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this sword was created. Unfortunately no exchange of correspondence between Ainslie and Rundell, Bridge and Rundell has been traced that will confirm the details of the design-andprocurement process by which this sword was made but the above speculative inference, given what is known about Ainslie, seems justified. George Robert Ainslie was born in 1776, the eldest son of Lieutenant-Colonel Philip Ainslie, younger of Pilton, Mid-Lothian, and his wife, The Honourable Elizabeth Gray, fifth daughter of John, 11th Lord Gray. His father and three of his mother’s brothers were soldiers and so a career in the Army was the obvious course for George, irrespective of whatever inclinations he might have had to the contrary. He was commissioned ensign in the 19th (1st Yorkshire, North Riding) Regiment of Foot, a regiment of which a family friend, General David Graeme, was colonel, in June 1793, four months after the declaration of war against Great Britain by the French Republic. The opening of hostilities necessitated a rapid increase in the size of the British Army, which had not fought a major war overseas since the end of the War for American Independence in 1783, and so existing regiments were augmented while new ones were raised. This was a good time for young gentlemen to obtain commissions and rapid promotion by moving from regiment to regiment and using all the influence that their families could exert and George Ainslie was no exception to this. Having enjoyed a bare nine months’ gestation period as an embryonic officer in the rank of ensign in the 19th, he transferred, with promotion to lieutenant, to the newly raised 85th (Buckinghamshire Volunteers) Regiment of Foot on 1st March 1794, being promoted to captain six weeks later, when the regiment was briefly stationed in Ireland. The ink barely dry on the vellum of his captain’s commission, his regiment was ordered to Flanders in August 1794. The ultimately disastrous campaign of 1794-95 in Flanders was the first of Ainslie’s three experiences of active service and was short-lived, the 85th returning home in 1795, en route to being stationed in Gibraltar for two years. From 1797 to 1799 Ainslie was stationed in Britain with the 85th, purchasing his promotion to major in July 1799 and accompanying the 85th on the unsuccessful expedition to The Helder in the Netherlands in the autumn of the same year, thus experiencing active service for the second time. Britain’s success rate in warfare on the European continent between 1793 and 1799 would have demoralised the most warlike of soldiers and the threat of a French invasion continued to be ever-present: this may in part account for Ainslie’s move, on promotion to lieutenant-colonel, to a home defence unit, the Loyal Birmingham Fencible Infantry, in January 1800. He was confirmed in his rank in 1801 but the advent of the temporary Peace of Amiens of 1802 resulted in the disbandment of his regiment and he remained on half-pay for the next six years. In 1802, the same year in which his father died, Ainslie married Sophia Nevile, daughter of Christopher Nevile of Wellingore, Lincolnshire: their marriage ultimately produced two sons, both of whom became soldiers, and three daughters, one of whom married a soldier. During the period 1802-07 Ainslie lived at Wellingore, undertaking military duty as Inspecting Field Officer of the local Volunteer units: this would have honed his diplomatic and administrative skills as well as leaving him time to pursue his antiquarian interests, by that time well-developed and manifest in the collecting of coins, especially those of the Anglo-Norman period. In 1807, he was appointed lieutenant-colonel of the 25th (The King’s Own Borderers) Regiment of Foot and probably accompanied the 25th to the occupation of Madeira in that year, following which the regiment was sent to the West Indies, the theatre in which Ainslie would earn the sword presented to him in


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1814. In 1809, the 25th fought at the capture of Martinique, Ainslie’s last taste of action, and in 1810 he was promoted colonel by brevet, being appointed Governor of the newly captured, formerly Dutch, island-colony of St Eustatius shortly thereafter and Lieutenant-Governor of Grenada early in 1812. In June 1812 he was nominated as Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Dominica but did not arrive on the island until April 1813. He was promoted major general on 1st June 1813. By the time of Ainslie’s arrival on Dominica, the island had been plagued for decades by the depredations of bands of outlawed runaway black slaves known as ‘Maroons’. The word ‘Maroon’ was applied in the Spanish West Indies to those who had taken to the mountains or the bush as runaways and outlaws. Originally, many of these fugitives had been Caribbean aboriginals who had fled Spanish domination of their islands in the 16th century but these subsequently interbred with escaped African Negro slaves and, by 1814, were largely indistinguishable, racially, from the slaves who remained on the plantations. Maroon bands existed in Jamaica, the island of Hispaniola, (now Haiti and the Dominican Republic), Panama and Puerto Rico as well as in Dominica and the whole of the colonial period in the Caribbean had been marked by bloody wars against them. Slavery was regarded at the time as essential to the maintenance of the region’s economy and the profits of the plantation owners and so the Maroons – by symbolising an escape from slavery – represented an intolerable threat to the livelihoods of the plantation owners who dominated the colonial legislatures of the Caribbean. Efforts to capture, suppress or even exterminate the Maroons had met with only limited success, because of the difficulty of operating militarily in the mountainous and wooded interiors of the islands and every effort had resulted in savage reprisals and further raids upon plantations by the Maroons. Neither the regions’ colonial governments nor the Maroons were tempted to negotiate and their intransigence and mutual savagery was exacerbated, in the British-owned colonies, by the ambivalent attitude of successive British governments to the institution of slavery. The slave trade had been declared illegal in British possessions in 1807 but slaves were maintained on the plantations of the British West Indies until 1834. As part of a policy of growing governmental humanity, complicated by inevitable confusion and disagreements over policy, and not a little guilt, colonial governors were expected to try to mitigate the plantation owners’ tendencies, in governing their islands, to act repressively rather than considerately. Thus, when Ainslie arrived in Dominica late in 1813, he found an island whose white population lived in constant fear of being murdered by its outlaw Maroons and in which a savage slave uprising was daily expected. By January 1814 Ainslie had put Dominica under martial law, explaining his actions in a letter to the Secretary of State for War and the Colonies, Lord Bathurst, thus, The Runaway slaves, who have been for thirty years established in the almost inaccessible mountains of Dominica, having become very troublesome from the depredations they were committing, I adopted this measure at the same time that I sent out parties from the Militia aided by a small force of Black troops. Some camps have been destroyed, a good number of the runaways have returned to their masters, and I have little doubt that at the expiration of the period of Martial Law when a colonial corps of Rangers now in training is to be posted in the principal camps, the colony will be comparatively freed from this evil. (National Archives: CO71: 49, Ainslie to Bathurst, 26th January 1814)


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To the government in London, several thousand miles from Dominica, under pressure from a critical opposition and highly sensitive to newspaper criticism, martial law was presented by antislavery groups as an excessive use of force by a tyrannical governor. Thus Bathurst wrote constantly to Ainslie asking for explanations and justifications and seeking reassurance that the Governor was not simply dancing to the plantation owners’ tune. The problems with communications between London and Dominica may be exemplified by Ainslie’s reply, on 21st March 1814, to a letter from Bathurst, dated 13th January, which he had just received, nearly two months after it had left London. With his letter, the Colonial Secretary had enclosed an extract from a London newspaper. This extract dealt with a proclamation that Ainslie had issued in the autumn of 1813, in which he had summoned recalcitrant Maroons to surrender under promise of amnesty if they did so by a specified date.


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According to Ainslie, in his reply, the newspaper had garbled the text of the proclamation to make it appear that it was a threat and not a gesture of reconciliation; Ainslie went on to say, People ignorant of the state of Dominica erroneously believe that the Runaways are slaves who to avoid chastisement for some venial offence from a harsh master run to the woods for a short time and then return to their duty; a few unfortunate, persecuted, isolated beings without concert, whose only inheritance is slavery, whose condition demands our pity etc., etc., etc.. No misapprehension, Sir, can be greater. They are a Banditti under government of a Chief, sub-Chief and Captains, inhabiting a country difficult beyond description, having regular outposts (or camps, as they are called) in advance of the Grand Cantonment, where the Chief resides, with Provision grounds cleared for miles; this ‘imperium in imperio’ [empire within an empire] has been established above 30 years. (National Archives: CO71: 49, Ainslie to Bathurst, 21st March 1814) Ainslie continued his letter by listing the various depredations of which the Maroons had been guilty, including murder, rape, theft, intimidation and the destruction of property. Operations against the Marrons continued throughout the summer of 1814. Gradually their resistance was crushed using a combination of the plantation owners’ white Militia companies and squads of black troops known as Rangers. Ainslie continued doggedly to pursue his policy and sent regular returns to London of the numbers of Maroons who had been killed, captured or who had surrendered, been tried and been executed, banished or pardoned. He was proud of the large numbers that he had been able to pardon or to whom he had awarded only token punishment and went to great pains to draw to the Colonial Secretary’s attention how humane he was trying to be, in the face not only of the Maroons’ provocation but also that of a legislature that was baying for their blood. Lord Bathurst summoned him to London to explain his conduct in a letter dated 23rd April 1814. This letter arrived on the island in June and immediately inspired an address of support for Ainslie by the Dominican House of Assembly. Despite Bathurst’s letter, Ainslie managed to delay his departure for England until 8th November, by which time the Maroons had been deprived of most of their leaders, through death or capture, and the crisis had been resolved. Nine days after his departure for London, the House of Assembly unanimously moved the following resolution, Resolved that the highly important Services render’d to this Colony by the prompt and vigorous measures adopted by His Excellency Governor Ainslie in subduing so large a number of Maroons demands our warmest gratitude and that in consequence he be requested to accept the Sum of Two Hundred Guineas for the purposes of purchasing a Sword as a Mark of their approbation of His Conduct in the Maroon War, regretting at the same time that the state of the Colonial Funds will not permit them to be more liberal in their Grant. (National Archives: CO 74: 11, House of Assembly, Dominica, 17th November 1814) Whatever interviews took place in the office of the Colonial Secretary between Lord Bathurst and Ainslie, the outcome is now known. He will have used the weeks spent in London in the first half of 1815 to commission his two-hundred-guinea sword. Ainslie was permitted to return to Dominica to serve out his term as Governor and was then, in 1816, appointed LieutenantGovernor of Cape Breton Island in Canada, a post that he held until his retirement from public life in 1820. Ainslie spent his retirement indulging his interests in coin collecting and antiquarianism. Promotion to lieutenant-general in May 1825 may have gratified him less than election as a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London in 1823 had done. As a Scot, he may


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have been even more thrilled by his election as a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland in February 1825. Resident in Edinburgh for the latter years of his life, he re-matriculated his Arms at Lyon Court in 1836. This was a process necessary to establish his position as his father’s eldest son and heir male and representative of the ancient Barons of Dolphinton and Chief of the Surname of Ainslie and also indicative of his antiquarianism. He resigned from the London Antiquaries in 1834, four years after publishing his life’s work and collection, Illustrations of the Anglo-French Coinage (London, 1830, 177pp. 7 plates). Active until the end, he delivered two papers to meetings of the Scottish Antiquaries in the spring of 1838, corresponded with Sir Walter Scott and was depicted, in caricature, by B.W. Crombie, as an Edinburgh ‘character’ in a book posthumously published, Modern Athenians – being Portraits of Eminent Personages In the Metropolis of Scotland (Edinburgh, 1845). Lieutenant-General George Robert Ainslie died in Edinburgh in 1839. The elder of his two soldier sons died as a result of wounds received while in command of the 21st (Royal North British Fusiliers) Regiment of Foot at the battle of Inkermann in the Crimean War, 5th November 1854 and Ainslie’s gold-hilted presentation sword eventually found its way into the collections of the Museum of the Royal United Services Institution, where it bore the catalogue number 245 until being sold on the dissolution of that museum in 1962. Exhibited:

‘Royal Goldsmiths: The Art of Rundell & Bridge 1797-1843’, Koopman Rare Art, London, 14th June-1st July 2005, catalogue number 76.

Provenance:

By descent until given to the Royal United Services Institution Museum, London. Sold in 1962 to the Glenbow Museum, Calgary, Canada. Sotheby’s, New York, 31st May 1995, lot 257.

Literature:

Burns, Sir Alan, History of the British West Indies (London, 1965). Hartop, C. (ed.), Royal Goldsmiths: the Art of Rundell & Bridge, exhibition catalogue, (London, 2005), pp. 32 and 39, figs. 15 and 32 (left). Kinross, S., Biographical entry for Ainslie in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford, 2004). National Archives, Colonial Office Papers (Dominica): CO 71 and CO 74. Southey, Thomas, A Chronological History of the West Indies (London, 3 vols.,1827). Southwick, L., London Silver-Hilted Swords: Their Makers, Suppliers and Allied Traders with directory, (Leeds, 2001), pp. 198 and 211-213.


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46. A Fine and Important Cased Pair of English Flintlock Duelling Pistols by James Purdey, London 1817 Formed of octagonal browned barrels with tapering ribs, fitted with double recessed patent breeches, each with a platinum-lined touch-hole, two platinum lines and a rectangular recess with platinum stamp marked PURDEY; the top flat of each barrel engraved J. PURDEY PRINCES STRT. LEICESTER SQUARE LONDON; the flat, detented locks with throathole cocks and sliding rear safeties, engraved with stylised foliage and dog-tooth borders, and signed PURDEY; figured walnut half-stocks, with vacant silver escutcheons and flat chequered butts, horn fore-end caps, and engraved blued mounts comprising barrel tangs, with standing rear sights, trigger guards and ramrod pipes retaining their original horn tipped wooden rods with brass-capped steel worms; in their original, green baize-lined mahogany case complete with accessories including three-way red leather-covered flask, bullet mould and loading/cleaning rod and with James Purdey’s trade card for No 315 Oxford Street, near Hanover Square, LONDON applied inside the lid and fitted with a brass carrying handle. Overall length: 15 D in Barrel length: 10 in These important pistols pre-date the use by James Purdey of serial numbers. It has been suggested that he numbered all his production from the outset but this is considered to be unlikely. The lowest known serial number is No.14 on a cased single flintlock gun, which was discovered in 1994 by our former editor in the reserve collection of the Royal Museum of Scotland in Chambers Street, Edinburgh. The earliest sale of a serial numbered gun in the surviving Purdey records is dated 17th November 1820 for No. 241: a cased, double-barrelled flintlock gun. At the last count, only seven serially numbered guns below 100 are known – Nos.14, 24, 44, 59, 61, 73 and 86 – and there is a comprehensive run of numbers between Nos. 200 and 300. However, there is no evidence that any gun was numbered between Nos. 100 and 199. At that time James Purdey would have been neither the first nor the last gunmaker to manipulate his serial numbers to give the impression of a more successful business than was actually the case. It must not be forgotten that the use of serial numbers by a gunmaker is to enable him to keep track of each and every gun on its journey from order to sale. The necessity for serial numbers in the early years of a business, when production levels will inevitably only be modest, is therefore not essential. However the question remains: when did James Purdey start to number his production? Although he moved into No. 4 Princes Street in March 1816 it is only in February 1818 that there is evidence of the progress of his evolving business: this is in the Letters Patent granted to Matthew Coles Wyatt on 3rd February 1818 for his ‘safeguard’ or grip-safety. The significance of this invention is that the very detailed drawings that accompany the description of the grip-safety depict a double-barrelled flintlock gun on the lockplate of which the name PURDEY is engraved. There can be no doubt that the drawings submitted with the patent application prior to its grant were of an actual Purdey gun. These confirm that the distinctive throat-hole cock associated with Purdey flintlock guns had been adopted at this date and that the fall of the cock when the gun was


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fired was arrested on the top of the flash fence and not on the top of the lockplate. In addition, the drawings clearly identify the unusual pan design, of marrow-spoon shape, which is again associated with Purdey flintlock guns. This is not found on No. 14 but it is found on No. 86 and thereafter. This detail is not known on the intermediate guns between these two, either because the available record is incomplete or because the gun has subsequently been converted to percussion ignition. Finally, but again significantly, the signature PURDEY is not centred under the pan but under the flash-fence, approximately in the overall centre of the lock-plate. The design of the lock and the absence of a ‘safeguard’ confirm that the single flintlock gun No.14 was made prior to February 1818. However, although single flintlock gun No. 24 has subsequently been converted to percussion ignition, it is fitted with the patent grip-safety and the tail of the lock is fully rounded, providing compelling evidence that it was made and completed in the early months of 1818. It should be remembered that James Purdey would have been able to sell guns fitted with the patent safeguard following the grant of the patent on 3rd February 1818 with full legal protection, provided it was subsequently inrolled within six months. It was actually inrolled on 29th July of that year. The Sporting Magazine, in its November 1818 issue, reprinted the text of a hand-bill produced by James Purdey entitled ‘Purdey’s Patent Safeguard’ together with some additional commentary on the safety of sporting guns. Taken together, it would therefore appear that it is most unlikely that James Purdey started to number his guns prior to the last quarter of 1817 at the earliest. It is on this basis that our fine pair of duelling pistols can certainly be dated to 1817, although it is possible that they were made even earlier, in the previous year. As such, our highly important pistols are the earliest known pistols made by James Purdey.

It is interesting to note that the trade card in the lid of our pistols’ case is not for 4 Princes Street but for 315 Oxford Street. It may well be that the original card was included loose in the case when the pistols were originally sold and subsequently, when the pistols were returned for cleaning or repair, the then current card was pasted in the lid. In any event, as far as is known, this is a unique survival. James Purdey took over 315 Oxford Street on 29th September 1826, although it appears that he continued to occupy 4 Princes Street until the end of the year. However, in the middle of 1827 the Oxford Street premises were renumbered to 314 I, necessitating the printing of an amended trade card: the currency of the ‘315 Oxford Street’ trade card would therefore have only been nine months, at best. It is perhaps worth noting that James Purdey does not seem to have been a great publicist in his early years, as is evidenced by his entry in the annual London Post Office Directory. Although both Joseph Manton and Forsyth & Company appear every year from 1816, Purdey does not appear until 1826 – the copy deadline for which was mid-October 1825 – when ‘J. Purdey’ is listed as a ‘Gun-manufacturer’ at 4 Princes Street, Leicester Square. Purdey’s father, also named James Purdey, was a blacksmith working in the Minories, situated to the north of the Tower of London where gunmakers and their allied trades had worked for many


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years. James Purdey, the maker of our pistols, was born in 1784 and although his parents had six other children only one survived to adulthood: Martha, who was born ten years earlier in 1774. In 1793 she married Thomas Keck Hutchinson, a gunmaker also working in the Minories. By the time James Purdey had reached the age of fourteen, when he could be apprenticed, his father had died. However, by design or default, he was apprenticed to his brother-in-law on 21st August 1798, completing his apprenticeship seven years later in 1805. His first employment was as a stocker for Joseph Manton, with whom he remained for the next three years. During this period Dr Alexander Forsyth, a Scottish clergyman, had been granted a patent on 4th July 1807, which was inrolled on 3rd September in the same year. This patent was essentially for the use of a detonating compound to ignite the black-powder charge in firearms and artillery. In June of the next year Dr Forsyth and his relation, James Brougham, trading as the Forsyth Patent Gun Company, opened a shop at 10 Piccadilly to sell guns made under Dr Forsyth’s patent. It was at this time that James Purdey left Joseph Manton and joined Forsyth’s Company at its outset as a stocker and lock-filer. He was to remain there until setting up his own business in March 1816 at 4 Princes Street. In the meantime, as Captain Richard Lacy in his book The Modern Shooter later records, when setting out the case for James Purdey being the inventor of the copper percussion cap, he had been the leading man in Forsyth’s establishment. He had come a very long way in a little over thirty years and the refinement and quality of our pistols, among the earliest of his production, bear witness to this.


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It is interesting to reflect on the fact that in later years James Purdey would happily acknowledge his three years of working for Joseph Manton but remain silent about the ten years he worked for Dr Forsyth. The reason for this apparent ingratitude is almost certainly a reflection on the role that Forsyth & Co., as it later became, played during the second decade of the 19th century. Forsyth’s invention was fundamental in establishing the replacement for the flintlock but it took others to move away from the Forsyth approach of a magazine of fulminating powder in either a roller or sliding primer. Joseph Manton’s pellet-lock and later tube-lock represented one development, paper patches containing a fulminate charge another, and finally Joseph Egg’s copper cap provided the universal solution. However, through most of the fourteen years’ protection afforded by his patent, Dr Forsyth met any infringement with potential or actual litigation and, to complicate matters further, Joseph Manton patented his two inventions. In spite of all the adverse publicity, much of it promoted by those gunmakers left out in the cold, in reality the evidence was clearly in the public domain that, in the hands of a methodical sportsman, a Forsyth gun was a very real alternative to the flintlock. James Purdey must have learnt much about gunmaking and running a business at Forsyth & Co. but the association would have done him no good. The trade was under threat by this protected invention and those associated with the company could equally be at risk of censure. In England duelling with pistols, rather than with swords, had become established by the beginning of the last quarter of the 18th century and persisted until the early part of the second quarter of the 19th century. These flintlock pistols by James Purdey were therefore made towards the end of the duelling era. Throughout this period duelling was illegal but generally, provided the duel had taken place within the rules, or code, of duelling then prosecutions were rare. In certain more difficult circumstances a couple of years out of the country usually did the trick, allowing the dust to settle. In any event duelling was essentially the prerogative of the upper classes and the armed forces. The reasons for a challenge being issued by one of the protagonists were many, sometimes genuinely very serious but often trivial in the extreme and women were frequently the cause. Although undoubtedly a dangerous activity and one in which none of today’s medical expertise could be brought into play when one of the duellists had been wounded, nevertheless fatalities were generally the exception rather than the rule. One perhaps surprising feature was the often disappointing incompetence evident when officers were involved: their training and military experience should perhaps have ensured competence but in reality this was frequently not evident. A duel that took place at 7 o’clock in the morning of Friday 17th November 1797 near Durdham Down, Bristol provides a pertinent example. The duel was between Lieutenant-Colonel Sykes of the Berkshire Militia and Mr Charles Frederick


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Williams, a Bristol attorney. The dispute arose following a letter published in Farley’s Bristol Journal in which the writer ‘Trim - A Bristol Volunteer, 2nd Company’, but in reality Mr Williams, had criticised the behaviour of Colonel Sykes, though not actually naming him, at an evening concert in the Assembly Rooms. The Seconds’ report provides the detail of the duel: At the arrival on the ground, it was agreed that Colonel Sykes and Mr Williams should stand at ten paces distance, and fire together, on a word being given; the ground being measured, they took their posts and fired accordingly, when Colonel Sykes’s ball passed through Mr William’s cravat, waistcoat, and cape of his coat; Mr Williams missed the Colonel; on the second discharge, the Lieutenant-Colonel received a ball through his foot, the Colonel’s ball having passed close under the brim of Mr Williams’s hat. At the third fire, Mr Williams’s pistol snapped, and the Colonel slightly wounded him in the groin. The next discharge, the Colonel was shot through the pocket of his coat, and Mr Williams was missed. The Seconds then intervened and it was agreed that Mr Williams should make an apology in the Bristol newspapers and that Colonel Sykes should apologise to Mr Williams, in the company of two or three of his friends, for striking him several times when he learnt that he was the object of Mr Williams’s anonymous criticism. Lieutenant-Colonel Peter Hawker’s Instructions to Young Sportsmen in all that relates to Guns and Shooting provides a personal commentary on the state of, and main players in, the London gun trade in the first half of the 19th century: nine editions were published between 1814 and 1844. James Purdey was not included in the ‘List of London Gunmakers’ in the 2nd edition of 1816 but he did appear in the 3rd edition, published in 1824. In the chapter on the ‘Detonating System’ in that edition, Hawker noted, …Mr Purdey (a rising gun-maker of extraordinary merit) is acquitting himself most admirably in the detonating system, as well as in the very neat and elegantly finished style of his work.. Our most important pair of flintlock duelling pistols, made at the very start of James Purdey’s business at No. 4 Princes Street clearly exemplify Colonel Peter Hawker’s assessment of Purdey’s work, the enormously high quality of which is further demonstrated by the next two items in this catalogue and, indeed, by the continuation of Purdey’s business to the present day. Literature:

Unsworth, L.P., The Early Purdeys, (London, 1996).


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47. An Outstanding Cased Pair of English Percussion Target Pistols by James Purdey, London 1838 Formed of sighted, octagonal, browned, twist, multi-groove rifled barrels, fitted with casehardened patent breeches, each incorporating a blued standing rear-sight, pierced platinum vent and single gold line, the top flat signed J Purdey London in inlaid gold Gothic script amid florid scrolls; flat, case-hardened, detented locks with sliding rear safeties, engraved with stylised scrolls and roped borders and signed PURDEY; adjustable set-triggers; figured, tiger-striped maple stocks with flat diamond chequering; engraved, blued steel mounts comprising flat, oval butt caps, trigger guards and fore-end caps; finely engraved gold barrel-bolt escutcheons; oval gold escutcheons engraved with the owner’s initials BB; the rear trigger-guard tangs engraved with the serial numbers 2960 and 2961 respectively; in their original, brass-mounted, blue velvet-lined, fiddle-back mahogany case with James Purdey’s trade label for 314I Oxford Street, London in the lid, complete with original accessories including powder flask, numbered bullet mould and sprue cutter, patch punch, loading mallet and cleaning rod. Overall length: 16 I in Barrel length: 10 I in This amazing pair of cased target pistols has survived in almost unused condition. They were ordered and purchased by Beriah Botfield of Norton Hall, Daventry, in Northamptonshire on 10th November 1838. He bought a number of guns from James Purdey during his lifetime and these pistols, together with a cased, double-barrelled percussion sporting gun, were his first purchase. The invoice was settled immediately: paid in cash. The entry in Purdey’s ledger describes the pistols as, A case of Highly finished Pistols Gold Mounted Case lined with Velvet, No 2960 & 1. Their cost was 60 guineas and a leather outer case was a further guinea. The use of gold, the exceptional quality of the wood chosen for both the stocks and case and the use of velvet in the French style to line and fit out the case all added a further 10 guineas to the price normally charged by James Purdey for a regular pair of cased target pistols at that time. Although our pistols are fully capable of being used, their quality confirms that they were intended for display rather than shooting. Beriah Botfield was a man of great wealth, with the education and discernment to collect in a number of different fields. Our pistols must stand as a fine tribute to this especially interesting man as well as to James Purdey for the perfection to which he could take the art of gunmaking. The foundations of the wealth of the Botfield family were laid by Thomas Botfield of Dawley (1738-1801): grandfather of the owner of our pistols, he was one of Shropshire’s most successful entrepreneurs. Throughout his life Thomas Botfield was involved in mining and the iron industry and by 1806 the Botfield family ironworks at Old Park, Dawley, were the largest in the county and the second largest in the whole of the British Isles. Indeed, through the first half of the 19th century their iron-making business grew more rapidly than any other in Shropshire. When he died, quite apart from his extensive business interests, Thomas Botfield owned three substantial estates: Ystrad-fawr in Breconshire, Norton Hall near Daventry in Northamptonshire and Decker


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Hill at Shifnal in Shropshire. It is particularly interesting that Thomas Botfield should have invested in widely dispersed country estates because most of his contemporaries in the iron and coal industries would seldom have invested in property beyond that required for their business activities. On his death in 1801, Thomas Botfield’s three sons – Thomas the younger, William and Beriah, the father of the owner of our pistols – inherited his estates and business interests. All three brothers were involved in the land and commercial activities of the family. William Botfield appears to have been particularly responsible for The Old Park Company, which was the family iron-making business, and lived at Decker Hill which he inherited from his father. Thomas purchased and lived at Hopton Court, near Hampton Wafre. Beriah inherited Norton Hall from his father. In due course, all three estates would pass to the younger Beriah Botfield, the owner of our pistols: he inherited Norton Hall on the death of his father in 1813 and this became his principal country seat for the rest of his life; on the death of one of his aunts in 1851 he inherited Decker Hill and on the death of the other in 1856 he inherited Hopton Court. In total, and by the time of his death in 1863, these three estates amounted to more than 14,600 acres. Collecting as well as shooting was a very important part of Beriah Botfield’s life. In his will he specifically referred to the contents of Norton Hall, stating that, all the pictures miniatures prints statuary arms and armour and all the rifles fowling pieces guns pistols and other weapons and the cases containing same and my collection of snuff boxes and the ebony cabinet made to contain them were to remain there after his death. Here then is confirmation that arms and armour in the broadest sense were also of great interest to Beriah Botfield. Beriah Botfield (1807-63), the owner of our pistols, was born at Earls Ditton in Shropshire, subsequently being educated at Harrow School. In 1824 he matriculated at Christ Church College, Oxford, taking his degree of Bachelor of Arts in 1828. At both school and university he was already showing great interest in botany and botanical books, his enthusiasm no doubt stemming from his mother, Charlotte, who was the daughter of the celebrated botanist William Withering. However, even at school he had begun to collect books: he was evidently a discerning young man with ample means to fund his enthusiasm. Indeed, in spite of all his diverse interests, it is as a bibliophile that he is perhaps best known. His library, together with much of his estate, passed in due course to the Thynne family of Longleat in Wiltshire. Norton Hall was Beriah Botfield’s


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principal country estate for the whole of his life, notwithstanding his continuing involvement with the family business in Shropshire. Indeed, the extent of his place in that county can be confirmed by a wonderful account of his coming of age celebrations as recorded in the Salopian Journal of 12th March 1828: On Wednesday, the 5th inst. B. Botfield, Esq. of Norton Hall, Northamptonshire ...attained his majority, and the happy event was celebrated with much joy and festivity ...at Old Park & Malinslee the morning commenced by firing of cannon, and ringing of the bells at the churches of Malinslee and Stirchley. Four very prime fat oxen having been provided by Messrs. Botfield, the work-people employed in their extensive collieries and iron-works at Old Park and Stirchley (being upwards of two thousand) were served with a bumper of strong ale each, and then paraded around Malinslee Lawn, attended by two bands of music, and several flags with appropriate inscriptions; after which they were regaled with a plentiful dinner and a bountiful supply of excellent strong ale, and they enjoyed themselves until a late hour with the greatest order and decorum. The children of the several Sunday schools paraded before the work-people, and were also treated with a good dinner of roast beef and ale, and afterwards with plum cake and wine. The scene was truly gratifying, more especially as all the people seemed to enjoy themselves much and to feel truly grateful to their benefactors. The clerks and friends were entertained with an excellent dinner at Malinslee House, and at night a ball and splendid supper was given to the most respectable inhabitants of the neighbourhood.


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Beriah Botfield did not marry until he was fifty-one years old: on 21st October 1858, he married Isabella Leighton at Alberbury in Shropshire. She had been born in March 1834 and was the second daughter of Sir Baldwin Leighton, baronet, of Loton Park, Alberbury near Shrewsbury. The Leightons were a long-established landed family in Shropshire and Sir Baldwin Leighton was High Sheriff for the county in 1835 and a Justice of the Peace; he was also elected a Member of Parliament for South Shropshire in 1859. Beriah Botfield’s obituary in the Gentleman’s Magazine, following his death on 7th August 1863 from cancer, includes the following observation that may explain the reason for his very late marriage: When very young, Mr Botfield had the misfortune to lose his father, and ere he attained majority his mother died also. At the age of twenty-one he consequently came into complete possession of his property, and in the same year a liaison, which under any circumstances must be termed unfortunate, was formed by him. That later in life he would have been a more valuable member of general society, if such an event had never occurred, may hardly be questioned. But if at the age of twenty-one an unfortunate engagement was rashly made, let us not forget to add, that it was honourably kept for a period of twenty-and-eight years. It was kept until death severed a tie, which neither sickness, nor any motive of worldly convenience, had the power to break. Few clues survive concerning the identity of the woman with whom Botfield contracted his ‘unfortunate liaison’. Botfield’s first book, Journal of a Tour through the Highlands of Scotland during the Summer of 1829, the preface of which was written on Christmas Day, 1829, is dedicated to her, although without naming her: it simply states, To the best and loveliest of her sex this volume is dedicated: she for whom it is intended will accept and appreciate the compliment: those for whom it is not intended will do the same. A later book, Catalogue of Pictures in the possession of Beriah Botfield, Esq. at Norton Hall, published in 1848, is more helpful. The artist Alfred Edward Chalon R.A. painted three portraits for Botfield in 1830: one of Beriah Botfield, contained in a gold locket; one of Julia, also contained in a gold locket and a ‘Portrait of Julia, with John O’Groat, a Skye-Terrier’, in a frame and rosewood case. Thus, although we can deduce that Botfield’s ‘unfortunate liaison’ was contracted with ‘Julia’, we know no more about her. The more recent history of our pistols is fascinating. They were offered for sale at auction in Glasgow in the early 1930s as part of the effects of a deceased collector, who is believed to have been a member of the Coats family, founders and long-time owners of J & P Coats Ltd., manufacturers of cotton thread, and whose daughter had entered them for sale. At the last moment, she suddenly realised that she had not kept back a memento of her father’s collecting interests. On viewing the items in the saleroom she was particularly attracted by this pair of Purdey pistols and removed them from their case and from the sale. The auction duly went ahead and the case, with its full complement of accessories, was purchased by W. Keith Neal, the famous 20thcentury English connoisseur and collector. He put the case to one side in the hope that some day the pistols would become available so he could reunite them with their case. Many years later, the author, L. Patrick Unsworth, while researching his book The Early Purdeys, rediscovered the pistols and in due course they were reunited with their case. The history of the gun collection of Beriah Botfield is included in the next entry in this catalogue: the pair of officer’s double-barrelled pistols also by Purdey and purchased virtually immediately after Botfield took delivery of our remarkable pair of target pistols discussed here. Literature:

Unsworth, L.P., The Early Purdeys, (London, 1996).


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Beriah Botfield by Sir Thomas Philips courtesy of the Longleat Estate


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48. An Exceptional Cased Pair of English Double-Barrelled Percussion Officer’s Pistols by James Purdey, London 1838 Each formed of two round, browned, twist, smooth-bored barrels, fitted with case-hardened patent breeches with single platinum line, central sunken rib with bead fore-sight and signed J. PURDEY, 314 I OXFORD STREET, LONDON.; rounded case-hardened back-action locks with blued, sliding, rear safeties, engraved with stylised scrolls and signed J. PURDEY 314 I OXFORD ST.. London; ebonised walnut stocks and flat diamond chequering; engraved, blued trigger guard and rear strap, the latter engraved with the serial number of each pistol, 3100 and 3101; engraved, case-hardened mounts comprising oval butt cap with integral trap, trigger-guard finial, fore-end cap and stirrup ramrod with cupped, knurled head; finely engraved silver barrel-bolt escutcheons and an oval silver escutcheon engraved with the owner’s initials BB; in their original brass-mounted, blue velvet-lined, fiddle-back mahogany case, complete with original accessories including white metal-mounted blue velvet-covered three-way flask, bullet mould and sprue cutter, each numbered 3100, white metal capper, turnscrew, nipple key and cleaning rod. Overall length: 14 in Barrel length: 8 in This superb pair of pistols was invoiced to Beriah Botfield on 14th December 1838, less than five weeks after he purchased our fine pair of target pistols, the preceding item in this catalogue. They are described in Purdey’s ledger as, A Pair of Best finished Double Barreld Pistols with Mahogany Case Lined with Velvet No 3100 & 3101. They cost 60 guineas, plus a further guinea for the leather case. The account was settled just three days before Christmas, on 22nd December, with a payment in cash. The Purdey ‘Dimension Book’ for this period, which includes confirmation of the serial number, the customer and a brief description, merely notes that 3100 and 3101 are a pair of 17 bore Double Pistols. In The Early Purdeys by L. Patrick Unsworth, consideration is given to the group of large double-barrelled percussion pistols that emerges from an analysis of the Purdey records. While large bore double-barrelled pistols with stirrup ramrods are sometimes referred to as ‘howdah pistols’, for use from a howdah mounted on an elephant, it is clear from the Purdey records that our pistols would have been described as ‘double cavalry pistols’. This description is reinforced by the fact that the specified calibre of 17-bore would have enabled standard issue ‘carbine-bore’ ammunition to be used: this would have been freely available during engagements and campaigns. In addition to the stirrup ramrod, this group is characterised by the use of backaction locks and butt caps, which incorporate lidded traps for the convenient storage of percussion caps. While there can be little double that our pistols were not intended for campaign use, they would have been just as serviceable as a pair of less extravagant pistols. The use of ebonised walnut stocks was an apparently preferred finish by James Purdey because it is often encountered in his work on


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guns and rifles as well as pistols: perhaps it was a ploy to encourage the return of guns to the firm after hard use for cleaning and refinishing. The casing of our pistols, apart from the use of fiddleback mahogany and velvet lining, is also unusual in the arrangement of accessories in the case. They are not held vertically in individual compartments but rather laid flat so that their function is immediately clear – a delightful feature which is achieved in this instance by the so called ‘French’ style of casing. The inclusion of a circular white metal percussion cap holder is unusual: amusingly, the stamp of the capper size ‘L’ remains fully legible but the maker’s name and capper type are barely visible ALPORT IMPROVED – perhaps the result of a little additional judicious polishing on the part of the gunmaker. Having concentrated on the life of Beriah Botfield in our previous entry, we will deal here with the considerable business that he did with the gunmaker James Purdey between 1838 and 1863. Over a 25-year period he spent a total of just under £1,482 on guns, accessories and cartridges. For the most part, each invoice was paid by cash at or within a few weeks of its presentation. Discounts were seldom offered but equally there is no evidence that Beriah Botfield was ever overcharged in comparison with other customers for similar guns at the same time. Beriah Botfield’s first period of purchases was between November 1838 and August 1844. During that six-year period, apart from the two cased pairs of pistols in this catalogue, he purchased seven cased double guns, of which two were cased together as a pair. They were either 12- or 14-bore with 31- or 32-inch barrels. At this time, a cased double percussion gun, with all accessories and an outer leather case, cost 50 guineas. Another gun, described as an 8-bore double duck gun with 35 I-inch barrels, again cased with accessories, cost 55 guineas. Interestingly, in March 1841, he also purchased a second hand, cased, double 14-bore flintlock gun for 30 guineas: this gun had presumably been overhauled and refinished as new. However, whether this gun was ever then used is unclear, because some 12 years later it was taken in part exchange for the purchase of a rifle and a pair of guns. Only £15 was allowed for it, but whether this reflected poor condition or increasing obsolescence is not known. He also purchased three cased rifles and a cased ‘bullet’ gun. The latter was probably a gun rather than a rifle: it cost 55 guineas, whereas other cased double rifles cost between 65 and 80 guineas. He purchased one of the rifles in 1839: it was a cased 16-bore rifle with a 34-inch barrel, supplied with a ‘Telegraph Sight’ for an additional £3 10s 0d. Unfortunately, this rifle is not known to have survived and therefore exactly what was described as a ‘Telegraph Sight’ must remain a mystery. The subsequent history of one of the two double rifles he bought is of interest. In August 1844 he purchased a cased, double 50-bore rifle with 28-inch barrels, serial number 3852, for 65 guineas. This rifle was subsequently in the W. Keith Neal Collection and on the evidence of the gunmaker in Inverness from whom it was purchased, the original owner was assumed to have been Duncan Macdonnell Chisholm of Erkless Castle near Beauly in Inverness-shire. The Purdey records confirm that this rifle was both ordered and purchased by Beriah Botfield. It is in near original condition but with 50-bore barrels it is unlikely to have been appropriate for red deer stalking. There is therefore no apparent reason for it being in Erkless Castle. Perhaps it was purchased by a later Chisholm sometime after Beriah Botfield’s death when his personal guns and pistols, which were never part of the Norton Hall Collection, were presumably sold.


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Although Bariah Botfield bought various sundry items over the ensuing years it was not until October 1853 that he again made any significant purchases. He then acquired a cased double rifle for 80 guineas and a cased pair of double 12-bore guns with 31-inch barrels for 100 guineas. It was now time to clear out some of his earlier purchases and he traded in not only the previously discussed flintlock gun, but three double guns for which he was allowed £80. Interestingly, the account address changes from Norton Hall to Decker Hill, near Shifnall, and all his remaining purchases are invoiced to the new address: this probably reflects the fact that when he inherited Decker Hill in 1851 it was on condition that he occupied the house for six months a year. The first recorded breech-loading gun made by James Purdey was in May 1857, but it was not until August 1860 that Beriah Botfield made his first purchase of a cased pair of breech-loading guns for 110 guineas. They would have been pinfire guns, the cartridges for which cost £9 per 1,000. However, within two years they were taken in part exchange for a Pair of best finished Breech Loading Double Guns with Safety Guard Levers: cartridges were now £8 15 0d per 1,000. The last gun, ordered in 1862 from James Purdey, was the last gun purchased by Beriah Botfield for which he was invoiced on the 30th June 1863. It was a cased double 38-bore breech loading rifle with 30-inch barrels and safety guard lever. Beriah Botfield died two months later and the invoice was settled by his Ludlow solicitor on 23rd December 1863 by cheque.


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Ironically James Purdey died just three months later and a 25-year relationship between customer and gunmaker came to an end. Beriah Botfield had spent a little under £1,500 during this time – a large sum of money – and, in sharp contrast to at least a number of Purdey customers, he had paid his invoices very promptly. Some customers built up large debts, and apart from a few piecemeal payments, the bulk of the debt was settled by their executors. The Norton Hall Estate had been purchased by Thomas Botfield, Beriah’s grandfather, during the second half of the 18th century for the reputed sum of £37,000. Beriah Botfield conceived the idea of creating substantial displays of antique arms and armour within Norton Hall, presumably in the absence of any existing collection and, by the end of the 1840s, it had been completed. It comprised more than 500 pieces but although he published a catalogue of the paintings in Norton Hall, the arms and armour collection was never formally catalogued by him, let alone published. On his death in 1863, Beriah Botfield left the Norton Hall Estate, including Norton Hall and its very significant contents of not only arms and armour and paintings but also books and manuscripts to the Thynne family of Longleat in Wiltshire to whom he had established, at least to his satisfaction, that he was distantly related. However, his young wife had a life interest in the whole estate and it was not until 1911, when she died, that it actually passed to the Thynnes. Although Norton Hall was eventually demolished in 1952, most of the important contents had in the meantime been removed to Longleat. However, the arms and armour collection did not go to Longleat, perhaps because it was of no interest to the Thynne family. Through the auspices of the National Art Collections Fund, the arms and armour was eventually acquired for the Nation from the Trustees of the Estate of Lady Beatrice Thynne, who died in December 1941: it is now in the custodianship of the Royal Armouries. By 1941, the Norton Hall Collection of arms and armour was already in the safe custody of Hertford House, in Manchester Square, London, home of the famous Wallace Collection, having been there for nearly twenty years. The cost of acquiring the Collection for the Nation was reportedly £2,650 and, to celebrate its acquisition, some of the more important pieces from the Norton Hall Collection were exhibited at Hertford House in the summer of 1943. It is generally accepted that the Norton Hall Collection was formed under the guidance of two people: one advising on the armour, swords and hafted weapons, and the other, who was probably Beriah Botfield, on the firearms. Although the provenance of the firearms in the Collection is generally unknown, the surviving catalogues of Christie’s, Oxenham’s and Deacon’s London auction rooms from 1839 into the 1840s provide the provenance of some of the Collection’s armour. Quite apart from the acquisition of the Collection by Beriah Botfield, which in itself is evidently important, its subsequent preservation and indeed its condition is a direct consequence of it being both unknown and forgotten. Even Sir Guy Laking did not know it existed. It remained on display and ignored until its removal to Hertford House and consequently none of the pieces have suffered from excessive handling or inappropriate cleaning. It must be a matter of great regret that no catalogue exists of this important Collection and, from the perspective of the beginning of the 21st century, the probability of one ever being compiled appears to be remote. Certainly, virtually no publicity has been given to the Collection, although some pieces have been displayed in two temporary exhibitions since 1943. The first of these was the exhibition Treasures from the Tower of London held at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts at the


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University of East Anglia in June 1982. Three pieces from the Collection were included. These comprised an early 16th-century north Italian short sword – cinquedea – and scabbard (Item 18), a mid-17th-century English rapier, with German blade, and scabbard (Item 23) and a French flintlock sporting gun by Nicholas-Noël Boutet, Versailles, made in 1802 for presentation to Charles IV of Spain (Item 80). Amusingly, C. R. Beard, when writing in 1943, recalled that when he first saw the Norton Hall Collection in 1921 the scabbard of the cinquedea was hanging on the wall as part of one of the displays, but with no sword. He eventually found it in the kitchen where it had been put into service for shredding cabbages. The second temporary display was an exhibition of wheellocks at the Royal Armouries in 2001. No less than twelve examples from the Norton Hall Collection were included in the exhibition and also in the catalogue. These comprised a single pistol, four pairs of pistols, a carbine, four rifles, a gun and a detached lock. No wonder that Sir James Mann, when writing in 1943, observed that the Norton Hall Collection would fill many important gaps in the Tower of London Collection. This was tribute indeed to Beriah Botfield’s achievement in bringing together the arms and armour displays during the late 1830s and 1840s at Norton Hall and a lasting memorial to a great connoisseur of firearms, whose taste and discernment are evident in the pair of magnificent pistols offered here. Literature:

Beard, C.R., ‘The Norton Hall Armoury’, Country Life, 2nd April 1943, pp. 612-13 Mann, Sir J., ‘The Norton Hall Arms and Armour for the Tower’, The Connoisseur, Vol. CXI, No. 457 (March 1943), pp. 3-11, 76. Milward, C., ‘A Collection of Arms and Armour for the Nation’, Apollo (April 1943), pp. 53-56, 79. Norman, A.V.B. & Wilson, G.M., Treasures from the Tower of London: an Exhibition of Arms and Armour (London, 1982). Rimer, G., Wheellock Firearms of the Royal Armouries, (Leeds, 2001)


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49. A Superb Field Armour of Massive Proportions in the style of Koloman Helmschmied German circa 1850-80 Close helmet with one-piece skull rising to a low, roped medial comb with three neck lames attached at the rear. The visor pierced beneath a stepped and centrally divided vision-slit with twenty round ventilation-holes, raised by a stud on the top right side and held up by a pivoting arm attached to the upper right side of the upper bevor. The upper bevor prowshaped, pierced on either side with eleven double-ended key-hole ventilation holes set diagonally and secured to the bevor by a pivoting hook and pierced stud; the bevor and three neck-plates secured to the skull by a pivoting hook and pierced stud on the right side. The gorget with three articulated lames at the front and back, hinged at the left and secured at the right by studs and a spring catch; the lower lames wide, with recessed and roped borders. The breastplate globose, with a pronounced forward extension over the belly and a pronounced rope turn at the top edge; it has movable gussets at the arm-openings, turned and roped to match, and a single waist lame to which a four-lame fauld of upward overlapping plates is permanently attached. The backplate has a single waist lame to which a four-lame culet is permanently attached. The pauldrons asymmetrical, with six lames with haute pieces attached to the second lame and besagues suspended from them; attached to the pauldrons by studs are symmetrical vambraces. The upper cannons have turning joints and, like the lower cannons, are attached to the couters by internal leathers. The mitten gauntlets have three raised and roped lames protecting the finger joints. Tassets of four lames and of upward-overlapping plates attach to the fauld. Cuisses with articulated upper plates are permanently attached to the poleyns that consist of two upper lames, two lower lames and a knee cop with an integral fan plate to protect the outside of the knee joint. The greaves hinged on the inside and secured by pierced studs and pivoting hooks on the outside; attached to them are slab-toed sabatons and rowel spurs on writhen stalks. The main plates of the armour have heavily roped turns and the armour has matching brass-covered, domeheaded rivets throughout. The decoration consists of bands of etched and gilt ornament on a lowered and blackened ground, with areas of embossing. The etched decoration in the bands consists of foliate scrolls incorporating monstrous figures, flowers, leaves, trophies, winged figures, foliate figures, masks, heads, wings, cornucopias, musical instruments and animal heads. In addition, the pauldrons, besagues, couters and sabatons are boldly embossed with pomegranates on their stalks. Height: 74 in Weight: 66 lb 4 oz The Gothic revival began in England in the 18th century as a romantic interest in medieval forms and ideas. In English architecture, Horace Walpole’s Strawberry Hill, dating from 1747, and William Beckford’s Fonthill, begun 1797, were the earliest examples of the style. The style gained general acceptance in the early 19th century as part of the Romantic movement that, in Britain, saw many people take an interest in their past through the historical novels of Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832). From Britain, this interest spread around Europe and America. An increased interest


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in the arms and armour of the Middle Ages and Renaissance developed at the same time – Scott himself, was an avid collector of arms and armour – that was stimulated both by the pioneering scholarship of men like Sir Samuel Rush Meyrick (1783–1848) and by such active revivals as the Eglinton tournament of 1839. Soon it seemed that every country house needed arms and armour in its hall and businesses, such as that of the London dealer, Samuel Pratt, who supplied much of the equipment for the Eglinton tournament, prospered by satisfying that demand. Because there was insufficient available original armour of the right quality, such businesses not only dealt in original armours but also both completed and improved existing ones as well as making new ones in original styles. Few of the craftsmen who worked at this trade are known by name but the exceptions include Thomas Grimshaw, Pratt’s armourer, and, working both in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the multi-talented art and antique restorer and faker Felix Joubert who lived and worked in King’s Road, Chelsea. The products of this new trade in armour could vary from the risibly wrong and unwearable to complete armours, or elements of armour, so good that it is sometimes difficult for the untrained eye to distinguish them from the real originals. Our armour is of exceptional quality and is one of the best products of 19th century workmanship but its maker is unknown, although it is clear from the quality of the armour that he was a talented craftsman. Because the makers at that time worked as best they could, copying the styles of other places, periods and people, not only are their names often unknown but also it is now impossible to tell where they were working or, indeed very often, when. The maker of our armour is no exception to this. It is most likely that our armour was made some time in the second half of the 19th century: exactly where it was made must remain a mystery although it has been suggested that the


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armour’s clean and bold lines might suggest one of the centres of Spanish arms making, such as Toledo. What can be said for certain is that the maker of our armour was consciously copying the style of the great German Renaissance armourer Koloman Helmschmied (1471-1532). Helmschmied was court armourer successively to the Emperors Maximilian I and Charles V and belonged to a distinguished dynasty of armourers working in Augsburg. The embossed decoration on our armour seems intended to copy Helmschmied’s embossing such as that on the ‘KD’ armour in the Real Armería, Madrid (No. A.19): this was once believed to have been made for the Emperor Charles V before his accession in 1519 but more recently has been dated to about 1526. Our armour’s embossing is also particularly close in style to the embossed decoration of animals that runs around the skirt of the tonlet armour of the Emperor Charles V in the Real Armería, Madrid (No. A.93). The general form of our armour, however, seems to date from styles produced after Koloman Helmshmied’s death in 1532. In particular, the breastplate, with its prominent forward projection over the belly, is more reminiscent of German armours of the mid-16th century. Nevertheless, some variation in the dates of the stylistic elements that comprise our armour should not detract from any appreciation of the quality and virtuosity of the craftsmanship that went to create it. An intriguing curiosity of our armour is that the neck plates on the helmet seem to be associated with it: their decoration is different and the positioning of the decorative bands do not quite match. Was our armour assembled in this way in a workshop that was producing a number of similar pieces? Has our armour itself been the subject of ‘improvement’ or restoration following its manufacture? Was its maker acute enough to have noticed that the majority of original armours have some associated and mis-matched elements and did he, therefore, introduce this ‘error’ to make the result more believable? We can never know, of course, but we can – and should – admire and respect the degree of craftsmanship involved in the creation of this magnificent and impressive 19th century armour. Literature:

Blair, C., European Armour, (London, 1958), p. 113. ‘Crediton: The Story of Two Helmets’, Studies in European Arms and Armor, (Philadelphia, 1992), pp.165-166. Mann, Sir J., Wallace Collection Catalogues: European Arms and Armour, (London, 1962), Vol. I, pp. 32-34. Norman, A.V.B., Wallace Collection Catalogues: European Arms and Armour Supplement, (London, 1986), p. 8.


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50. The Exquisite and Unique Gold-Mounted Small-Sword presented by la jeunesse française to Monsieur le duc d’Orléans Claimant to the Throne of France 1895 The hilt principally of finely detailed, browned, cut and chiselled steel, with a solid gold pommel in the form of a French monarchical crown, the shaped grip applied, inside the hand, with the florally embellished letter P in gold, and applied, outside the hand, with a draped, allegorical female figure representing France offering a small-sword to a shield charged with the Royal Arms of France, the figure in silver, the sword and fleurs-de-lys of the Arms in gold; the knucklebow wound and pierced throughout its length with a representation, in silver and two colours of gold, of forget-me-not flowers, leaves and stems; the quillon finely chased in the form of an heraldic dolphin; the arms of the hilt formed of chased and florally embellished C-scrolls; the quillon block applied with two shaped and scrolled gold plaques, that outside the hand engraved LA JEUNESSE FRANÇAISE and that inside the hand engraved À MONSIEUR LE DUC D’ORLEANS, a small, doublevoluté gold plaque at the base of the grip outside the hand engraved with the date 1895; the twin shells inset, on the side nearest the hand, with finely detailed, sheet-gold depictions of two episodes in the life of the Duke of Orléans in 1886 and 1890 and, on the blade side, finely chiselled in low relief with depictions of the prisons of La Conciergerie and of Clairvaux, the borders of the latter depictions engraved with the retailer’s name H. FAURÉ LEPAGE and ARQUEBUSIER À PARIS. The triangular, hollow-ground blade blued and gilded in a panel and engraved at the forte with the bladesmith’s initials BSB. Overall length: 40 N in Blade length: 33 N in Our sword is not only artistically but also politically representative of the France of its period, that fin-de-siècle decade or so known as the Belle Époque. The elements of our sword’s design reflect the prevailing aesthetic fashion of the period, the romantic archaism inevitably associated with one of the Royal families of France, the patriotism that is innate to French culture and the symbolism of political opposition.


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Although, by 1895, the Third Republic was well established as the government of France, ultraconservative royalists constituted one of several groups in opposition to the Republic and their figurehead was the claimant to the French throne: Louis-Philippe Robert, Duc d’Orléans, soidisant King Philip VIII of France, and the recipient of our sword. The presentation of the sword to him, apparently by the ‘Youth of France’ but probably – in reality – by a coterie of his younger supporters, was symbolic: as senior representative of the Royal House of Orléans, it was his duty to take up the sword in defence of his supporters’ idea of France and to lead the country back to the path of conservative and monarchical government. The background to the presentation of this sword, and an analysis of the significance of its decorative elements, is set out below. The Duc d’Orléans (1869-1926) was the great-grandson of Louis-Philippe d’Orléans, King of the French, who had reigned in France from 1830 until 1848, when he was exiled to England following a revolution in France. The House of Orléans had contended over the centuries with that of Bourbon for the crown of France. King Louis-Philippe’s constitutional reign had succeeded the absolutist reigns of the two Bourbon monarchs that had followed the final restoration of the monarchy in 1815: Louis XVIII (reigned 1814 and 1815-24) and Charles X (reigned 1824-30). In 1873, the Comte de Paris, grandson of King Louis-Philippe, and the Comte de Chambord, the childless son of King Charles X, had agreed that the Comte de Paris should succeed the Comte de Chambord as claimant to the throne and representative of both the royal houses of Bourbon and Orléans. The Comte de Chambord died in 1883 and so the Comte de Paris became the leader of royalist opposition parties in France, taking up residence in Paris and at the Château d’Eu in Normandy with his family and court. The presence in France of the Comte de Paris became of increasing concern to the country’s republican government because of the focus he and his family provided for increasing royalist opposition to that government. In June 1886, the French government passed a law exiling all the heads of former ruling families and their direct heirs from France and so the House of Orléans was sent again into exile in England. The Comte de Paris and his family settled at Stowe House in Buckinghamshire, a magnificent 18th-century mansion that was officially the seat of the Dukes of Buckingham and Chandos until the death of the 3rd duke in 1889; in 1886, however, the duke was sufficiently in debt to welcome the chance to lease his mansion to the Comte de Paris. The Comte de Paris died at Stowe on 8th September 1894 and was succeeded as claimant to the throne of France by his eldest son, the Duc d’Orléans – the recipient of our sword. With the death of the Comte de Paris, the Duc d’Orléans became the representative of France’s royalist opposition and, ultimately, part of the inspiration for an extremist conservative group founded in 1898 and called Action Française. As a young man – he was aged only 25 at the time of his accession as claimant to the throne – the Duc d’Orléans would have seemed to his supporters the youthful hope for the restitution of the monarchy to France. It would have been these sentiments that resulted in the commissioning and presentation of this sword: it was intended as a symbol for the Duke of his supporters’ confidence in his abilities to rouse the youth of France and to guide the nation away from republicanism and anti-clericalism. Episodes in the young Duke’s life prior to 1894 had given his supporters hope that he possessed the character necessary actively to lead their movement and to be more than just a figurehead in exile. These episodes are represented in the finely executed and detailed scenes chiselled into the shells of our sword’s hilt.


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The sheet-gold appliqué set into the shell on the inner side of our sword’s hilt depicts the Comte and Comtesse de Paris, and their eldest son, the Duc d’Orléans, leaving France upon being exiled in 1886. At the time of his family’s exile to England, the Duc d’Orléans was aged 17. He spent a short time at the Royal Military College at Sandhurst in 1887 before making the first of several hunting trips to India. In 1890, when aged 21, he deliberately flouted the French law of exile, returning to France to offer himself for military service in accordance with the regulations for young Frenchmen of his age.

The sheet-gold appliqué set into the shell on the outer side of our sword’s hilt depicts the young Duke presenting himself for enlistment as a conscript for the French Army: thus, in the richest and most attractive manner is his exile in 1886 and his return in 1890 depicted in our exquisitely detailed sword. Upon offering himself for enlistment in 1890, the Duke was promptly arrested and consigned to the ancient prison of La Conciergerie on the Île de la Cité in Paris. Sentenced to two


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years’ imprisonment, he was transferred to another prison, the former abbey of Clairvaux on the river Aube, west of Chaumont, but served only 116 days of his sentence before being released and banished from France. Depictions of his two places of imprisonment are chiselled in the finest detail into the blade side of the shells of our sword’s hilt: La Conciergerie occupying the shell outside the hand and Clairvaux occupying that inside the hand. This is chiselling in steel of the very highest quality and fully expressive of the sentiments that underpinned this gift from his young supporters to the heir to the throne of France; it is also indicative of the quality of workmanship still available in France at the end of the 19th century. The remaining elements of our sword’s decoration are also symbolic. The knucklebow is encircled and apparently pierced with ‘forget-me-not’ flowers, superbly executed in two colours of gold for the stems and leaves and in silver for the flowers themselves: these symbolise the fact that the Duke’s supporters in France have not forgotten him. The draped allegorical figure representing France and applied in silver to the outer side of the grip is both sculptured in accordance with the artistic conventions of its time and, significantly, definitely and identifiably not the republican female symbol of France – Marianne with her revolutionary Phrygian bonnet. France is depicted offering our sword, in miniature, to a shield charged with the ancient Arms of France, azure, three fleurs-de-lys or (three gold fleurs-de-lys on a blue ground – the colour blue being represented in petra sancta by horizontal shading): this shield represents the Duc d’Orléans. The massive, solid gold pommel in the form of a French monarchical crown symbolises the French monarchy, represented by the Duke. The finely chiselled heraldic dolphin forming the quillon likewise has symbolic French royal associations, ‘dolphin’ being dauphin in French and the title by which the heirs to the throne of France had been known for centuries – their shields of Arms being charged with a gold heraldic dolphin. The gold letter P applied to the inner side of the grip is the Duke’s initial as claimant to the French throne as King Philippe VIII. Worthy of note throughout is that the greater part of the decorative elements of the sword are deliberately placed on the hilt’s outer side, the side that would be immediately visible when the sword was worn. In commissioning Henri Fauré LePage to produce this sword, the Duke’s supporters in France were employing one of the finest manufacturing retailers of swords and guns of his day. Occupying premises at 8 rue de Richelieu in Paris from 1865 until 1913, the firm was known for its fine,


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exhibition-quality weapons and was a worthy successor to the earlier firm of Lepage and Son, who had been gunmakers to both the French royal family and to Napoléon as emperor. Although the form of the sword is archaic – in that it closely resembles a mid-18th-century small-sword – it must be remembered that there was, and is, a long tradition of the commissioning and presentation of swords in France and for their wear by the members of bodies such as the Académie Française. French royalists were, and are, nothing if not traditional in outlook and this is reflected in every aspect of our sword’s design. As is now known, more than a century on from the commissioning of this sword, France was never again to become a monarchy and the Duke died in Palermo, Sicily, in 1926 with his hopes of becoming King Philippe VIII unrealised. Despite this, he left a sword that is an exquisite example of what the best kind of French fourbisseur could produce: a sword that is traditional in form while also deeply reflective of contemporary artistry and employing symbolism that is both appropriate and immediately recognisable. Literature:

Lhoste, J., Les épées portées en France des origines à nos jours, (La Tour du Pin, 1997). Lhoste, J., Armes blanches: symbolisme, inscriptions, marquages, fourbisseurs, manufactures, (2nd ed., La Tour du Pin, 1999). Osgood, S.M., French Royalism under the Third and Fourth Republics (The Hague, 1962). Pujo, M., Les Camelots du Roi, (Paris, 1933). Rémond, R., Les Droites en France, (Paris, 1982). Tannenbaum, E.R., The Action Française, (New York, 1962). Weber, E., Action Française: Royalism and Reaction in 20th Century France, (Stanford, California, 1962).


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CATALOGUING & DISPLAYING YOUR COLLECTION

We can offer a full research, cataloguing and appraisal service utilising the extensive knowledge and experience of a variety of consultants and scholars. This can result in the creation of an illustrated catalogue of your collection, resulting not only in a permanent memorial but also in a valuable record for reference in the event of damage or loss. We can undertake both conservation and restoration work. We are always happy to help with the display of a collection. The display of suits of armour is crucially important. We can supply mannequins with fully articulated torsos and locking nuts and complete with excellent heads. We can offer two different models of horse: one with all four legs on the ground and one prancing.


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BOOKS FOR SALE We deal in the rarer out-of-print books and a list of some of our current titles is set out below. These are generally for the advanced collector or serious bibliophile. We are always interested in purchasing either entire libraries or rare single volumes. Boissonnas, C. and Boissonnas, J., Alte Waffen aus der Schweiz, (Paris and Berlin, 1914). Drummond, J., Ancient Scottish Weapons, (Edinburgh and London, 1881). Haenel, E., Kostbare Waffen, (Leipzig, 1923). [Kienbusch] The Kretzschmar von Kienbusch Collection of Armor and Arms, (Princeton, 1963). Laking, Sir G.F., A Record of European Armour and Arms through Seven Centuries, 5 volumes, (London, 1920-22), (sold with the following volume). Cripps-Day, F.H., A Record of Armour Sales 1881-1924, (London, 1925). von Lenz, E., Die Waffensammlung des Grafen S.D. Scheremetew in St. Petersburg, (Leipzig, 1897). Payne-Gallwey, Sir R., The Crossbow, (London, 1903). Scott, R.L., (ed. F. Joubert), Catalogue of the Collection of European Arms and Armour formed at Greenock, 3 volumes, (Glasgow, 1924). Smith, O., Det Køngelige Partikulæere Rustkammer I. (København, 1938). Trapp, O.G., Die Churburger Rüstkammer, (London, 1929). For in-print books on Military History and Arms and Armour we recommend Ken Trotman Ltd., P.O. Box 505, Huntingdon, PE29 2XW, England. Contact Richard Brown on Telephone: +44 (0)1480 454292; Fax: +44 (0)1480 385651; E-mail: enquiries@kentrotman.com or Internet: www.kentrotman.com.


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ANTIQUE SHOWS We have exhibited at The International Fine Art and Antique Dealers’ Show since its inception in 1989 and at the Winter Antiques Show since 1993. The ‘International’ this year will be held from Friday 21st October to Thursday 27th October 2005. A preview of the Show, with a benefit for the Society of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, will take place on Thursday 20th October (call 001 212 874 5457 for more information or visit www.haughton.com). The 2006 Winter Antiques Show will run from Friday 20th January to Sunday 29th January 2006. The Show’s preview, with a benefit for the East Side House Settlement, will take place on Thursday 19th January (call 001 718 292 7392 for information or visit www.winterantiquesshow.com). Both shows are held at The Seventh Regiment Armory, Park Avenue at 67th Street, New York City.

Following the Winter Antiques Show, we will be exhibiting at Palm Beach! (America’s International Fine Art & Antique Fair) from Friday 3rd February 2006 to Sunday 12th February 2006. The ‘Vernissage’ Evening for the benefit of Mosaic will be held on Thursday 2nd February (for details call 001 561 832 3541 or visit www.ifae.com).

The European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF) will be held at Maastricht in The Netherlands from Friday 10th March to Sunday 19th March 2006. We will, as usual, be exhibiting there. A preview of the show will be held on Thursday 9th March (for details call 0031 411 64 50 90 or visit www.tefaf.com).


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Peter Finer 2005  

Each catalogue is unique, as is each item contained within it this collection of items, which represents thousands of miles of travelling an...

Peter Finer 2005  

Each catalogue is unique, as is each item contained within it this collection of items, which represents thousands of miles of travelling an...