EAA Research Consultant
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Route 66
I would agree with your assessment Manolo, that this is most certainly a court epee, and diplomatic associations quite possible. It does appear French and post Napoleonic, the checked ebony grip material was popular on the grips of officers swords through the Napoleonic period, and probably later.
These non regulation, and often custom made swords are really hard to identify, at least specifically, but the courtswords typically seen up until c.1810 were of smallsword type, with pas d'ane and shellguard placed perpandicular to blade.
This downward shellguard covering the forte of the blade decoratively seems to have appeared in early 19th c. and the heraldic knights head, profuse decorative motif and the high relief scene on the shellguard seem to have later influenced other similar swords in the U.S. as well as other countries.
I checked 'Catalog of European Court Swords and Hunting Swords' by Bashford Dean, 1929, but found nothing that would help, but one Portuguese courtsword of c.1810 (#119) did have the downturned shell like this.
I'm trying to think of other resources that might have examples of these swords, but probably only auction catalogs offer possibility at this point.