EAA Research Consultant
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
Norman, you are really following through with impressive detective work on this, as always, and thank you for keeping us up to speed with findings. I think the assertion regarding the London Cutlers Co. is likely well founded as it seems the general research corresponding in other items presented by this firm appears reliable. I would suspect that checking in 'Southwick' would reveal more detail.
These court swords as well as the British dragoon sword (c.1760s) with same configuration blade and stamped marks of the fleur de lis do seem to have blades of common source. I am inclined to think these are Solingen blades imported and stamped in this period but it is puzzling to think that the London Cutlers would have used German blades. The fleur de lis, while also surprising to me to be a British mark, after looking further seem quite well placed after all.
According to Howard Blackmore ("Hunting Weapons") notes the prevalent use of fleur de lis in the motif on swords along with Tudor roses, cherubs and royal heads in the end of 17th into 18th. Clearly the fleur de lis was present in the upper right quadrant of the Royal Arms until 1801, and the numbers of French artisans in English commercial areas was significant.
The Cutlers Company dates back to the 15th century, and there seem of course various chronological changes in organization and markings etc. but again I am puzzled by the use of what appears a German blade stamped with a mark said to be of this company.
In a Bosley's catalog of June 4, 2008 (#924) there is a brass mounted court/hunting sword described as "Continental, 18th century". There is no image but the blade is 21.5 " long and said to have fleur de lis stamp on either side of the blade.
Since England did not export blades to the Continent, then why would a mark of the London Cutlers Co. be on a sword there?
One of the primary reasons that Solingen swordsmiths ended up in England in the early to mid 17th century was to provide England itself with the benefit of these quality blades with importing them from Germany. The German swordsmiths came into Hounslow, then after that operation ceased came the Shotley Bridge enterprise which too became defunct in the early years of the 18th century. The opposition to the import of German blades remained prevalent, though as the numbers of English makers grew, there were still agents bringing in German blades into the 19th century .
Did the London Cutlers Co. actually produce blades is my question. If so, perhaps they were copying German pattern blades, where these would be readily explained.
Anybody out there have Southwick?????