Ethnographic Arms & Armour

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-   -   Basket hilted swords (http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=11394)

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 2nd April 2015 07:59 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by E.B. Erickson
Here's some additional thoughts on the Irish 3/4 baskets like Cathey's.

They do exist with other blade types. The one in Mazansky shows but a single fuller, so not likely to be one of the Trade blades, as they all have triple fullers right up to the hilt. And on the first page of this thread is a sword posted by Mark Deyer - same basket as Cathey's, bun shaped pommel, and has what I would bet is a se blade with the narrow and wide fullering. I may be wrong about that, but one thing is sure, Mark's blade is a lot narrower than the one in Cathey's hilt.

This Irish style hilt also exists in full basket versions; see the attached photo.

--ElJay



Salaams Eljay, Sir, I am a beginner to the world of this type of hilt however I am interested in the Irish Basket Hilt and where such hilts were manufactured... Am I right in thinking that this is only a terminology and that there was no actual Irish Basket but that the Scottish Basket was simply sometimes referred to as Irish. (depending on how much Drambuii was consumed) :)
I am especially interested in the Shotley Bridge Swordmaker and wondered if they made a lot of Baskets for remounts and or for blades from there... I note the running Fox and SH on an earlier post related to the Shotley maker.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

Cathey 3rd April 2015 02:17 AM

Its all about the Pommel
 
2 Attachment(s)
Hi Eljay and welcome Ibrahiim

Eljay you are correct, when it comes to hilt construction, actually there has been one posted on this site in the past. However, it is the pommel that sets the so called Irish hilt apart and I am, yet to find an example complete with this pommel and a different blade. Although like everything there is sure to be one out there somewhere. I have attached a picture of the previous sword posted on this forum, sadly can’t see the blade so I hope Mark Deyer who posted this sword originally in July 2013 will share with us a picture of the blade.

When I refer to the pommel you will note that both the example you posted and Mark’s have the typical English bun pommel. The swords reputedly with an Irish connection have a more Scottish style of pommel, quite distinctive. It is this combination that I am yet to find with a different blade.

I was also thinking about our tendency to refer to many early swords as being composite in a negative light. In reality with Germany, Italy and Spain being famous for their production of blades particularly from circa 1500-1700, most extremely original swords would fit in the composite category. For example almost all Scottish basket hilts had imported blades, the Scott’s made great hilts but appear to have had little appetite for making blades when you could order excellent quality from Germany or simply take one off a dead Englishman and have it re-hilted.

Cheers Cathey and Rex

Cathey 3rd April 2015 02:49 AM

Hi Ibrahiim
 
2 Attachment(s)
With the very early baskets there is certainly been some research to suggest that origins between Scottish, Irish and English are very blurred. There is a particularly good article written on the Sword hilts of the Border Reivers which I will attach, not sure how well it will come up in Jpeg.

When it comes to Shotley bridge this is an interesting area and there are two small books available that deal specifically with Shotley Bridge. They are:
BYGATE, John G The Hollow Blade - The german swordmakers of shotley bridge SC 74 pp.
RICHARDSON, David The Swordmakers of Shotley Bridge, PB Northern History Booklet No: 37, 67pp.

Welcome to a fascinating area of sword history. The basket hilt has a certain amount of romance attached to it, but the variety and the fact that examples can also be attributed to Europe make it particularly interesting area of study. If only swords could talk we would know so much more.

Cheers

Cathey and Rex.

Cathey 3rd April 2015 03:05 AM

Czerny lot 186
 
1 Attachment(s)
Hi Will

Actually I think lot 186 at Czerny’s recent sale is correct. Looking at the way they photograph things I think the strange colour is just the way they have cleaned up there photo’s on the black background. If I lighten it up it looks pretty similar to mine, which also has evidence of a dark stain to the leather that is largely worn off. The sword was passed in so it is probably still available at the low reserve. If I didn’t have a good example already I would probably have go at this one.

Cheers Cathey and Rex

E.B. Erickson 3rd April 2015 03:16 AM

Cathey - OK, I now understand what you meant: the hilt construction plus the pommel type is only seen with the broad triple fullered blade. I am in agreement with that. The only exception could be the one illustrated in Mazansky.

Ibrahim - The term Irish hilt does not really refer to anything specific historically. Back in the 16-1700s it appears to have been used as a generic reference to basket hilts. Nowdays, it seems to be identified with a particular style of baskethilt construction as seen in the examples shown in this thread.

--Eljay

Jim McDougall 3rd April 2015 05:59 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cathey
Hi Iain

You are quite correct about the similarly as many Kaskara’s often have earlier European blades including those featuring the double moons. A number of those you have featured are probably German circa 1700 looking at the quality. The feel and sping of the metal will generally give you an indication of whether this is a locally forged blade or a European addition.

The sword attached hear and referred to in my previous post traditionally has this exact blade with this hilt as featured in NEWMAN, G.G. Swords and Blades of the American Revolution pp150, plate 265.s. Actually I am yet to see an example of this particular pattern which is quite distinctive with any other blade; however I have seen this exact blade on a number of other basket hilts of the same period.

Sword details
BASKET HILT Irish Dragoons Broadsword circa 1745
Nationality Irish – British Cavalry
Overall Length 107 cm (42.1 inches)
Blade length 90 cm (35.4 inches)
Blade widest point 4.8 cm (1 7/8 inches)
Marks, etc back to back crescent moons

BASKET HILT Irish Dragoons Broadsword circa 1745 this variation often called the “Irish Hilt” because of use by some British Regiments in the Irish Establishment in particular the 6th Inniskilling. It has a three-quarter basket hilt comprised of broad vertical bars joined by a middle horizontal strap. Broadsword, early double-edged blade bears two central fullers & crescent engraving.

General Remarks
The 6th Inniskilling Dragoon Guards were raised in 1689 to fight for King William III. The Regiment left Ireland in 1708 and did not return for 100 years fighting in the 1715 rebellion in Scotland were in Flanders and fought at Fontenoy in 1745, later at Waterloo in 1815 and Balaclava in the Crimea in 1854.

References:
BEZDEK, Richard H. SWORDS AND SWORD MAKERS OF ENGLAND AND SCOTLAND pp 284
GARDNER, R. E. Small Arms makers Pp 368
LENKIEWICZ, Zygmunt S. 1000 SWORD MARKS OF EUROPEAN BLADEMAKERS pp66 nm
MAZANSKY (C.) British Basket-Hilted Swords: A Typology Of Basket-Type Sword Hilts. Pp229 Fig VIII4
NEWMAN, G.G. Swords and Blades of the American Revolution pp150, plate 265.s
Wallis & Wallis Sale No 473 5-6/5/04 Plate 5 lot 1341 Pp51


Cheers

Cathey and Rex




Excellent detail. The 'Anglo-Irish' hilt in post #36, c.1745 is virtually identical to the one posted in "The British Basket Hilted Cavalry Sword" by Anthony Darling (Vol. 7, #3, pp.79-96, 1974) in fig.7abc (p.86). Here the author notes that this style hilt was indeed associated with the 6th Inniskilling Dragoons noting the period as c.1740.
While the term 'Irish hilt' was often used collectively to describe 'Highland' basket hilts (Darling, ibid. p.84; Blair, 1962,p.86) these particular hilts, though distinctly British.....were termed Anglo-Irish for the connection to these Irish dragoon units.

In the example seen in Darling, the blade is 34", double edged and has one central fuller.
The Neumann example (265.S) is again identical hilt, but with two central fullers, and a note that a crescent engraving was present, but not otherwise specified.

In all the references I have seen on Scottish basket hilts, which includes most of those listed in these posts, the only triple fuller configurations have flutes on either side at the forte..much as seen with the c.1600 example with paired moons presumed Stamm Clemens.
While Stamm according to Gyngell (p.41) and Lenciewicz (p.66) show him using crescent moons, they were presumably among other marks and these were typically at the forte in those times.

As Iain has noted in post #38, the blade on the 'Irish' hilt dragoon c.1745 as well as images of the Czerny's example, are compellingly like blades used on kaskara (as well as takouba) in Africa from mid to latter 19th century. In actuality, the degenerated and stylized nature of the moons compares to many of these blades often termed 'masri' and the moons termed 'dukari'. These blades were indeed often German imports in the latter years of the 19th century, though may have come in earlier. Native armourers began making their own blades with this fuller configuration and the marks were strategically placed near the fuller terminals and believed to have magical connotation.

The example with the more artistically applied paired moons (believed Stamm) is exactly the kind of evidence long sought to find the ancestry of these crescent moons used in North Africa.
However what is puzzling on the other example (1745 Irish dragoon) and its counterpart noted as Czerny's item, is why would 19th century blades be present in hilts used in the 1740s?

While the point that it is true that Scottish, and for that matter many British swords, may be considered 'composite' as they are comprised of local hilts and imported blades....it is typically preferred that these pairings are within the working life of the components .
Since these dragoon hilts as far as known ceased use in the 18th century, the use of blades much later mounted in them is puzzling.
Obviously the question stands as , are these indeed German blades of the 18th century rather than kaskara 'masri' blades of late 19th c.?
If these are actually early German blades, then it is a powerful revelation in many years of research on these North African blades, and it would be amazing to prove that blades with these triple fullers and these corrupted moons were produced that early.

Dr L.C. Briggs wrote his venerable treatise on sword blades in North Africa in 1965 (JAAS, Vol. V, #2 pp.37-92) where he notes on p43, "...I have seen no Taureg weapon with half moon marks which I felt were surely European".

Sir Francis Rodd (1928) in "People of the Veil", p.233, "..the masri blades are made in the north. Most prized are those with two or three slight cancellations down the middle. The commonest masri blades bear two opposed crescent men in moon crescent marks".

Will M 3rd April 2015 06:14 AM

Thanks Cathey, digital photos can change colour and tone from one to the next.
It can give false impressions.
I see one Australian dealer bought a few from that auction in Sidney.
I would not think there would be room for much if any profit but swords seem to be a strong investment now.

Iain 3rd April 2015 08:29 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall

While the point that it is true that Scottish, and for that matter many British swords, may be considered 'composite' as they are comprised of local hilts and imported blades....it is typically preferred that these pairings are within the working life of the components .
Since these dragoon hilts as far as known ceased use in the 18th century, the use of blades much later mounted in them is puzzling.
Obviously the question stands as , are these indeed German blades of the 18th century rather than kaskara 'masri' blades of late 19th c.?
If these are actually early German blades, then it is a powerful revelation in many years of research on these North African blades, and it would be amazing to prove that blades with these triple fullers and these corrupted moons were produced that early.

Dr L.C. Briggs wrote his venerable treatise on sword blades in North Africa in 1965 (JAAS, Vol. V, #2 pp.37-92) where he notes on p43, "...I have seen no Taureg weapon with half moon marks which I felt were surely European".

Sir Francis Rodd (1928) in "People of the Veil", p.233, "..the masri blades are made in the north. Most prized are those with two or three slight cancellations down the middle. The commonest masri blades bear two opposed crescent men in moon crescent marks".



Hi Jim,

Just a brief footnote, as the owner of quite a few of these export oriented triple fullers, I have no problem with many of them being placed in the 18th century potentially. Certainly I would not say the majority are in the latter part of the 19th, but at least the first half of the 19th.

See known examples from colonial activity in Algeria etc with early dates which points to at least late 18th century hilting... :)

Anyways not to disrupt the discussion on the hilt types. Just wanted to clarify that in an African/non European context these triple fullers are probably falling into the 18th century as much as the 19th in terms of manufacture.

There are subtle differences between the older ones and the later ones, mainly to do with a more rounded profile of the blade, giving a slight arch to the cross section sloping to the cutting edges, while the later ones are completely flat on the faces of the blade.

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 3rd April 2015 11:26 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cathey
With the very early baskets there is certainly been some research to suggest that origins between Scottish, Irish and English are very blurred. There is a particularly good article written on the Sword hilts of the Border Reivers which I will attach, not sure how well it will come up in Jpeg.

When it comes to Shotley bridge this is an interesting area and there are two small books available that deal specifically with Shotley Bridge. They are:
BYGATE, John G The Hollow Blade - The german swordmakers of shotley bridge SC 74 pp.
RICHARDSON, David The Swordmakers of Shotley Bridge, PB Northern History Booklet No: 37, 67pp.

Welcome to a fascinating area of sword history. The basket hilt has a certain amount of romance attached to it, but the variety and the fact that examples can also be attributed to Europe make it particularly interesting area of study. If only swords could talk we would know so much more.

Cheers

Cathey and Rex.



Salaams Cathey and thank you very much for your excellent notes and fine detail...

Thanks also to Eljay and everyone for a most excellent thread...

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

Jim McDougall 3rd April 2015 06:20 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Iain
Hi Jim,

Just a brief footnote, as the owner of quite a few of these export oriented triple fullers, I have no problem with many of them being placed in the 18th century potentially. Certainly I would not say the majority are in the latter part of the 19th, but at least the first half of the 19th.

See known examples from colonial activity in Algeria etc with early dates which points to at least late 18th century hilting... :)

Anyways not to disrupt the discussion on the hilt types. Just wanted to clarify that in an African/non European context these triple fullers are probably falling into the 18th century as much as the 19th in terms of manufacture.

There are subtle differences between the older ones and the later ones, mainly to do with a more rounded profile of the blade, giving a slight arch to the cross section sloping to the cutting edges, while the later ones are completely flat on the faces of the blade.


Thanks very much on the clarification Iain, and you're right, many of these triple fullered blades certainly could be attributed to the 18th century. As you recall it seems that these days, most of these kinds of blades found in North African settings are typically of 19th century. It is hard to say exactly what period of 19th century as blades were constantly recycled and used for often countless generations as well as intratribally traded.

My point was directed toward the dukari type moons of the masri blades, which as Briggs notes, were a phenomenon restricted to North African context. While many of these blades arrived in Africa from Germany entirely unmarked, at some point the native armourers added these talismanically significant paired moons probably to those blades as well as the copies of them produced locally.

The paired moons of the dukari began in context as well recognizable versions of the astral themes often seen on European blades. The moon was particularly key to tribal folk religion and probably adapted readily to their 'magical' perceptions, and duality is another often applied allegorical instance.
We know that swords, particularly in the case of the Sudan, were not necessarily widely used tribally until the Mahdist period. Until then most tribes used spears or makeshift weapons, as evidenced in these campigns in their outset. In time, the moons applied to blades (actually these occur more commonly on Tuareg blades which are typically smaller), became remarkably degenerated . They became less recognizable and almost geometric stylizations, as seen on the blades of our discussion on the 1745 Anglo-Irish hilt.

The question is..why would a German blade, even of that mid 18th century vintage, end up with markings of a type distinct to 19th century North Africa? and appear in a hilt form that ceased use by the 1780s by British cavalry units, and the terminus ante quem of these moons is 19th century with these in form likely the latter part.

All the best,
Jim

Cathey 4th April 2015 12:41 AM

This has nothing to do with Africa
 
Hi Guys

I just want to put this to bed and get the thread back to its intended subject Basket Hilts not African blades.

Let me be clear, my sword has a German blade circa 1700, this has been confirmed by the Baron of Earshall who is the world’s foremost authority on basket hilted swords. I have seen at least seven identical examples and to even suggest someone ran around the world switching the blades over for 19th century African blade makes no sense at all. By the way one of these swords is a hand and a half in the Tower of London collection.

Variations of the crescent moon have featured on European blades dating back to the sixteen hundreds, if you want to know more go to:
SOCKEL Johan F HAANDSKYDEVAABENS BEDOMMELSE Volumes 1& 2 International Encyclopedia of the Firearms Manufacturers and Marks from 1400-1900
GYNGELL, Dudley S. Hawtrey ARMOURERS MARKS
LENKIEWICZ, Zygmunt S. 1000 SWORD MARKS OF EUROPEAN BLADEMAKERS

If those of you interested in African blades wish to continue your debate, please start your own thread, I beg you. I have been trying draw out those interested in Basket hilts for a long time and fear this attempt will also fail if we don’t get back on topic.

This being said I am now posting another basket in the hopes that we can get back on topic and encourage other basket hilt enthusiast to contribute.

Cheers Cathey and Rex

Cathey 4th April 2015 12:46 AM

Basket hilt – English or Scottish?
 
1 Attachment(s)
Date Circa 1640-1660
Nationality Scottish/English
Overall Length 99.2 cm (39.1 inches)
Blade length 86.7 cm (34.1 inches)
Blade widest point 3.8 cm (1.5 inches)
Hilt widest point 10.5 cm (4.1 inches)
Inside grip length 10 cm (3.9 inches)
Marks, etc. Three Kings Heads

Description
Early Basket Hilt with flat bun pommel, wooden grip with large iron bands top and bottom. The Guard is made up of circular iron branches with two square junction plates and forward guards. The terminal of the side guards is crude with lined decoration. The plates have lined decoration at each corner. The branches join in three groups and butt up against the pommel. The blade is wider than the slot in the hilt. The broadsword blade has no fuller and is German bearing three king’s heads indicating Solingen manufacture.

General Remarks
Described in correspondence from the Baron of Earlshall as “Date c1640-1660, blade 17th century and contemporary to the basket and made by the Wunderberg blade makers of Solingen.

Cheers Cathey And Rex

Jim McDougall 4th April 2015 03:10 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cathey
Hi Guys

I just want to put this to bed and get the thread back to its intended subject Basket Hilts not African blades.

Let me be clear, my sword has a German blade circa 1700, this has been confirmed by the Baron of Earshall who is the world’s foremost authority on basket hilted swords. I have seen at least seven identical examples and to even suggest someone ran around the world switching the blades over for 19th century African blade makes no sense at all. By the way one of these swords is a hand and a half in the Tower of London collection.

Variations of the crescent moon have featured on European blades dating back to the sixteen hundreds, if you want to know more go to:
SOCKEL Johan F HAANDSKYDEVAABENS BEDOMMELSE Volumes 1& 2 International Encyclopedia of the Firearms Manufacturers and Marks from 1400-1900
GYNGELL, Dudley S. Hawtrey ARMOURERS MARKS
LENKIEWICZ, Zygmunt S. 1000 SWORD MARKS OF EUROPEAN BLADEMAKERS

If those of you interested in African blades wish to continue your debate, please start your own thread, I beg you. I have been trying draw out those interested in Basket hilts for a long time and fear this attempt will also fail if we don’t get back on topic.

This being said I am now posting another basket in the hopes that we can get back on topic and encourage other basket hilt enthusiast to contribute.

Cheers Cathey and Rex


That is an excellent suggestion Cathey, and my posts on the topic of these African blades are of course clearly digressing from the theme of this thread which has been most informative and helpful on basket hilts. These swords are fascinating and very much deserving of continued research to add to core of extant data which exists, and often hard to obtain.

I will note that the contention concerning this blade on the Anglo-Irish hilt with anomalous crescent moons brings key attention to questions on the origins and development of these marks to which answers have been long sought in investigations on Solingen blades. Ironically, since Scottish swords as you have noted, were virtually always mounted with these blades, it was a quite likely context for this attention to arise.

I will post the blade topic on another thread as you suggest, and hope that participants here will continue the excellent discourse and focus on these basket hilts.

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 4th April 2015 07:41 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee
These trade blades, as well as the ones with the etched sun, moon and stars, were quite widely distributed and may turn up in locally mounted swords from most any place that did not have a significant local blade making industry. There is another basket hilt with facing (away) half-moons that have been over-engraved to make them into thistles illustrated in the Park Lane Arms Fair catalog for 1996 in an article by the noted Scottish sword collector, the Baron of Earlshall (attached below).

I fell into one trap in my early collecting days when I bought a fine old Mexican / Spanish colonial espada ancha with engraved astral figures. A few months later I saw the same engravings in a book on a blade mounted as a kaskara and became convinced that my sword - as I was also told by a noted dealer at the time (1973) - was a made-up fake. I had no concept of the 'trade blade' back then. Years later I bought Brinkerhoff & Chamberlain in the same dealer's shop and there discovered that my treasure was exactly that. Fortunately I still had it. I have also seen other trade blades of a different form in both Moroccan nimchas and early American sabers.

The opposite trap is, of course, ever present and these trade blades do not offer much confirmation as to the source of the whole sword and so hilt elements must be very carefully scrutinized.


Salaams Lee, I missed entirely your excellent pictures and the way the Dukari moons had been resculpted to form Scottish Thistles which initially I thought were Persian Split Palmettes... :o

How right is your comment on examination of the whole sword.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi.

E.B. Erickson 5th April 2015 04:02 AM

2 Attachment(s)
OK, here's my last basket for awhile. I do have other basket and half baskets to post, but they haven't been photographed yet. I will hopefully have time in July to take pictures of them, and will post shortly thereafter.

French, ca. 1750 (?)
32” straight se blade with narrow and wide fullers. The blade has been shortened from about 36”, and is etched with the French royal arms, sun-in-splendor, and scrolls.
Brass basket crudely made of two halves, copper brazed together. There are 4 holes where the forward guard loops were riveted on. There used to be a scrolled “quillion” at the wrist, but this has been removed.
At first glance this looks like an English military sword, and when I first saw this sword and it's twin in a collection in Maine, that's what I thought they were. However, inspection revealed numerous detail differences between this and a product of the British Isles. The former owner produced a book, “The Auld Alliance”, by Wood, and in it was a photo of one of these with the riveted loops and the thumb scroll in place, and with a 36” blade (if my memory serves). The text stated that these were made for Jacobites who had fled Scotland and were serving in the French army. I mentioned above that there were two of these in the Maine collection: the only difference between the two was the blade etching. The other sword had a large panelled “VIVE LE ROI” on the blade. I did obtain both of the swords from the collector in Maine, but the other one was traded off years ago.

Cathey 6th April 2015 05:40 AM

The sword you traded
 
HI Eljay,

Very interesting sword, your right at first glance distinctly British. Did you keep pictures of the other sword you traded, if so I would love to see them.

Cheer Cathey and Rex

E.B. Erickson 6th April 2015 06:09 AM

Hi Cathey,
Unfortunately, the other French basket was traded long before I began taking photographs of my swords.
However, it was literally a twin to this one, so just imagine a large etched panel with VIVE LE ROI on the blade and you've got it!

--ElJay

ulfberth 6th April 2015 07:32 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Hi Cathey and E.B.

I have collected basket hilts before but sold them like 20 years ago.
I have seen and sometimes see basket hilts that are of French origin or with French blades.
At one point I had one with a brass basket that was left at Waterloo, however I never found out if it was French or English or Scottish, it was in its scabbard with brass mountings, double edged blade with one fuller and rather short, almost like an infantry sword.
Anyway, here is one that is described as "Forte-épée écossaise de la 1ere compagnie des Gardes du corps du roi marquée "Vive le Roy - 1731"
wide shell combat sword forte, where sometimes contained the arms of France, the blade bearing the inscription "Vive le Roy"."

And the look of it is surely not French, If you would find a sword like this without inscriptions on the blade, one would never think of it as French.

It is present in the French le musée de l'Empéri Ancien régime

kind regards Ulfberth

E.B. Erickson 6th April 2015 12:18 PM

Hello Ulfberth,
I'll do some speculating about that sword that you posted with the French blade: the hilt is a Scottish "Glasgow" type hilt, and I would bet that the sword was brought over to France by a Jacobite, who then had it rebladed to show his new allegiance. If only these could talk!!

--ElJay

ulfberth 7th April 2015 08:05 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by E.B. Erickson
Hello Ulfberth,
I'll do some speculating about that sword that you posted with the French blade: the hilt is a Scottish "Glasgow" type hilt, and I would bet that the sword was brought over to France by a Jacobite, who then had it rebladed to show his new allegiance. If only these could talk!!

--ElJay


Hi ElJay, that is an logical thought and keeping history in account it could very well be the case here, and were one did this there were probably more that followed.

Kind regards

Ulfberth

Cathey 7th April 2015 11:41 PM

French Basket hilt
 
Hi Ulfberth,

I concur with Eljays thoughts on this sword and was wondering if you had any more pictures of this sword you could post. It would be great to see a close up of the hilt and pommel etc.

Cheers Cathey and Rex

ulfberth 8th April 2015 09:01 AM

2 Attachment(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cathey
Hi Ulfberth,

I concur with Eljays thoughts on this sword and was wondering if you had any more pictures of this sword you could post. It would be great to see a close up of the hilt and pommel etc.

Cheers Cathey and Rex


Hi Cathey,

unfortunately not the sword is the French Museum de l'Empéri
However I did find these, only with permission, with copyright
Bertrand Malvaux dealer in antique arms France.

The Original drawings by Michel PÉTARD pour l'ouvrage de Monsieur Christian ARIÈS «Les Armes Blanches Militaires Françaises» (1966-1990, 30 cahiers).

the disctription that goes wit them is:
FORTE-ÉPÉE À L’ÉCOSSAISE D’OFFICIER de la fin du XVIIe à la guerre de Sept Ans; planche 1, TOME V, 3ème fascicule 1967.

Kind regards
Ulfberth

Jim McDougall 9th April 2015 04:28 AM

Ulfberth thank you so much for posting these amazing works by Petard!!!
This resource by Aries is hard to acquire, cost alone and not sure how many volumes in total, so very grateful for you sharing these....not to mention how intriguing it is to discover French versions of basket hilts!
I had no idea, but makes perfect sense since the Jacobite circumstances.

Cathey 9th April 2015 07:14 AM

English Dragoon Basket Hilt?
 
2 Attachment(s)
Hi Ulfberth,

I agree with Jim these are fabulous drawings, it would be great to access an English translation of what text may have accompanied them in the original book.

Now here is an Odd Basket for consideration.

English Dragoon Basket Hilt?
Date Circa 1760-1780 (18th Century) ?
Nationality British Dragoon Basket (Scottish Regiment) -Scottish Patriotic Blade
Overall Length 107.2cm (42.2 inches)
Blade length 91.4 cm (36 inches)
Blade widest point 3.687 cm (1.5 inches)
Hilt widest point
Inside grip length

Description
English Dragoon Basket Hilt? with a Scottish 36 “ (91.4 cm) back blade with two fullers, double edged for last 11 “ (28.1 cm). Along the top of the area of decoration on the blade are the words “this was the sword of the immortal saviour” below this is the Scottish Lion flanked on either side with foliage decoration then below that the words “ Wallace Regent of Scotland A.D. 1298.”

General Remarks
This sword originally came to Australia from Arbour Antiques London where it was purchased by a friend many years ago. When Arbour received the sword, the blade had been completely bent over at the hilt as if someone had sought to destroy it or at least render it useless. My understanding is that Arbour had the blade reheated and straightened and the sword restored to its current condition. Reheating the blade has removed colour from one side. The sword has a typically English Pommel but there is an area of engraved decoration that does not seem to fit with the sword serving in an English Regiment. Along the top of the area of decoration are the words “this was the sword of the immortal saviour” below this is the Scottish Lion flanked on either side with foliage decoration then below that the words “ Wallace Regent of Scotland A.D. 1298.”

I have difficulty believing that an English soldier would dare carry a blade in the memory of William Wallace, or that a Scot serving in an English regiment would take such a risk. According to Pat Tougher “Scottish Sword and Shield” This sword is an odd one. The pommel and the basket appear to be English dragoon 1760 thru to 1780. The blade he feels is older, possibly a pickup form the battle of Culloden, 1746. He advised that there were many English troops who picked up swords after the battle and kept them as they were better than what they had. Pat has a few in his possession. Unfortunately with no writing on them.

Haydn Vesty, Australian Waterloo Sword Collector, believes it is a 1745 Etched Patriotic Blade, for an Officer in Scottish Dragoon Guards regiment, which were part of the British Cavalry.

I still think it would be either a very brave or rather stupid Scott to carry such a thing in an English regiment.

Cheers Cathey and Rex

E.B. Erickson 9th April 2015 02:50 PM

Hi Cathey,
That is an odd one. If it weren't for the etching one would just ID it as an English cav/dragoon sword. What I really find unusual is the reference to Wallace.

Haydn Vesty's hypothesis seems like it would work, but are there any other examples of this type of etched motto on a sword from the 1700s so we can verify his opinion?

Here's another hypothesis: there was a revival of interest in all things Scottish in England in the first half of the 1800s (I'm not sure I've got the date right). Perhaps the blade was etched at that time. So you'd have a good baskethilted sword from the 1700s with later commemorative etching. But again, are there similar etched designs dating from the Scottish revival?

Just rambling. --ElJay

Jim McDougall 9th April 2015 06:46 PM

I personally echo Eljay's comments, this type of blade is indeed of 18th century English dragoon style, and of course Cathey's observations on the hilt as English and period are spot on.

There is an old 'axiom' that I have seen issued by Anthony Darling (I believe) which says loosely if it isn't a broadsword (meaning double edged, the term was used for both SE and DE in the 18th c.) then it isn't Scottish.
This seems to hold true as the dragoon swords produced for the British regiments were in accord with accepted military standards using single edged backsword blades.
It is a truly romantic notion that this blade might have come from the tragedy at Culloden, wielded by a patriotic Scot, but unfortunately not likely.
This tragic day was of course furthered by the disrespectful and patently heinous act of dismantling the broadswords of fallen Scots there, and using some of them in a garish garden fence.

As Eljay has well noted, the style of etching and likely even the content seem to correspond to the heightened awareness and revival of things Scottish in the Victorian era. In these times of course there was great attention to Scottish lore, history and fashion . Even the Royals would wear kilts etc. and in the military, officers in particular were rightfully proud of their Scottish heritage.
The '45 was a century or more in the past, and Scottish heritage was not only flaunted but a mark of prestige.

I think this blade more likely decorated later, though the blade seems of the period of the hilt. Despite the fact it is a sword of troopers grade in the hilt, it does not seem unlikely that an officer in a British cavalry unit might have had this sword beautifully inscribed reflecting the pride of the true Scots and their heritage.

E.B. Erickson 10th April 2015 12:28 PM

Hi Jim,
If Darling said that, then I'd have to disagree with someone considered an authority. Take a look at most of the swords produced by Walter Allan: backswords are in the majority. And how about the Scottish Turcael?

Just to get a sampling of how many back versus broadswords one finds in a Scottish context, I got out my copy of "Culloden; the Swords and the Sorrows". Out of 50 Scottish baskets shown, 20 have backsword blades. That's 40%. And, consider the blades that have Scottish patriotic mottos ("Prosperity to Scotland and No Union"; "God save King James") that date from the early 1700s: they're all backsword blades (well, the ones I've seen are, but I imagine there's a broadsword out there somewhere).

Concerning English cav/dragoon swords, the backsword does predominate in the 1700s, but there are still broadsword blades in an English cavalry context. In "Culloden", sword 1.52, while not a baskethilt, is an English cav sword. I think that one of these is in Neumann as well. And while the troopers mainly received back blades, the officers could do what they pleased, so you do find their swords with broadsword blades. Maybe later I'll get out Mazansky and do some tallying!

--ElJay

Jim McDougall 10th April 2015 05:45 PM

Great Eljay!! Here I thought I had this all figured out!!!:)
I would have to dig a bit to find those words cited, but after your beautifully supported rebuttal, I would hate to tarnish whoever it was who wrote them.

Naturally, with arms as with most things, there are countless exceptions for every rule and I must admit that most desperate attempts at neatly and concisely cataloguing, classifying and rigidly identifying certain forms are usually pretty futile. I will say however that Oakeshott, Norman and Mazansky did set some pretty reliable 'guidelines'. Even Norman however steered clear of blades due to the constant flux of trade blades and refurbishing using incongruent blade forms during the often extending working lives of sword hilts.

Thank you for the clarification, which clearly reflects the tremendous knowledge you have on these swords gained through decades of experience. Nicely stated, and it's great having your posts here!!!

All the best,
Jim

Cathey 11th April 2015 07:29 AM

The question of blades
 
Hi Guys

I went back to my file of correspondence with the Baron of Earlshall, and noted that this sword was one he requested additional pictures of for his book back in 2007. The Baron dated the sword and blade 1745-65, he also thought the engraving may have been added around 1790. I still query the sanity of anyone having this particular inscription added to a blade they intended to carry in a British regiment. William Wallace was after all executed as a traitor to the English King, not something easily forgiven. Also, there had obviously been an attempt to destroy the blade when it surfaced in England, so evidently someone was far from happy about it.

Having seen the French basket hilts posted I began to wonder if this sword was actually carried by an Ex-Pat Scott living in France after Culloden. I believe Scots fought on both sides of the Culloden campaign, perhaps this one became Patriotic after he had left the country, sadly we will never really know.

With regard to Darlings comment “if it isn't a broadsword then it isn't Scottish” has probably been taken out of context. Jim as you say the word broadsword is often applied to blades that are actually backswords. I suppose it’s a bit like calling a basket hilt a claymore, when claymores where actually two handed swords.

In the end I concur with Eljay, the Scots had both Broadsword Blades and Backsword blades, and as most of these where imported they have no real relevance to whether a sword is Scottish or English. Generally I usually look at the pommel, if it is the common bun shaped it is likely English. Then of course there are all the other variations Spiracle, Cone shaped, flat bun etc. I have just popped a letter in the post to the Baron; hopefully he will confirm a publishing date for the first volume of his book soon.

While I have your attention Eljay, a while back you posed a question of Sword forum, when did the S disappear from the SH stamped in the Fox mark on Harvey blades, did you ever find the answer?

Cheers Cathey and Rex

Ibrahiim al Balooshi 11th April 2015 02:23 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cathey
Hi Guys

I went back to my file of correspondence with the Baron of Earlshall, and noted that this sword was one he requested additional pictures of for his book back in 2007. The Baron dated the sword and blade 1745-65, he also thought the engraving may have been added around 1790. I still query the sanity of anyone having this particular inscription added to a blade they intended to carry in a British regiment. William Wallace was after all executed as a traitor to the English King, not something easily forgiven. Also, there had obviously been an attempt to destroy the blade when it surfaced in England, so evidently someone was far from happy about it.

Having seen the French basket hilts posted I began to wonder if this sword was actually carried by an Ex-Pat Scott living in France after Culloden. I believe Scots fought on both sides of the Culloden campaign, perhaps this one became Patriotic after he had left the country, sadly we will never really know.

With regard to Darlings comment “if it isn't a broadsword then it isn't Scottish” has probably been taken out of context. Jim as you say the word broadsword is often applied to blades that are actually backswords. I suppose it’s a bit like calling a basket hilt a claymore, when claymores where actually two handed swords.

In the end I concur with Eljay, the Scots had both Broadsword Blades and Backsword blades, and as most of these where imported they have no real relevance to whether a sword is Scottish or English. Generally I usually look at the pommel, if it is the common bun shaped it is likely English. Then of course there are all the other variations Spiracle, Cone shaped, flat bun etc. I have just popped a letter in the post to the Baron; hopefully he will confirm a publishing date for the first volume of his book soon.

While I have your attention Eljay, a while back you posed a question of Sword forum, when did the S disappear from the SH stamped in the Fox mark on Harvey blades, did you ever find the answer?

Cheers Cathey and Rex


Salaams Cathey, After getting slightly tied up in knots chasing non existent potential Irish hilt makers....which of course there aren't any...I then became drawn into a debate with myself about European Baskets....and then the inevitable twist which is the Schiavona.

I have my own theory on how this sleight of hand; ..The Irish Basket Hilt name came about based upon the fact that Scottish mercenaries to Sweden in the early 17th Century(1611) consisting of 800 such fighters were called Irishmen and that the trend continued but on the appearance of the basket hilt the term migrated to the hilt misnomer Irish Basket Hilt...simply by association...but a wrong one.

What I have discovered ...and it is understandable how the Earl has accumulated such a vast series of books and how difficult it must have been to stop taking notes/researching and start making the books! (and I will be after a copy of the collection soon as it comes out) is how convoluted the whole story is as it rolls out...In studying the Jacobite rebellion it becomes clear how many weapons were being supplied to the rebels and how many were sunk either by storm or by the English Navy and that a lot of these weapons came from /were collected by.. the French...who probably got them from Solingen ! or somewhere else...

What I found for beginners like me was a very reasonable account on Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basket-hilted_sword and an excellent set of resources at the end including excellent photos at external links . and although these are from Scottish Museum sources it doesn't matter...I hope this helps.

I think it sets the balance and helps the beginner view the entire puzzle as it comes together.

Regards,
Ibrahiim al Balooshi. :)


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