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Old 18th December 2020, 01:12 PM   #1
daggpil
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Default Officers sword pattern 1796 for Light Cavalry?

Hello,

I am curious about this sword and I assume it is an officers sword? The blade is plain without any fuller and the grip has a "beak".

My main focus are Swedish weapons so most of my knowledge lies in that area so what can be told about this specimen?

Best regards/Ulrik Sj÷berg, Sweden
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Last edited by daggpil : 18th December 2020 at 02:39 PM.
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Old 18th December 2020, 02:24 PM   #2
fernando
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And the pictures, Ulrik ? .
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Old 18th December 2020, 02:41 PM   #3
daggpil
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Sorry, now the pictures are uploaded!
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Old 18th December 2020, 03:04 PM   #4
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You are right about the appearance of it, with blade in the scabbard it's a 1796 pattern light cavalry saber. The blade itself is another story- it appears to be a custom job. I would be curious if etching one spot reveals the Damascus pattern. Could be a sword bladed for an officer serving in India.
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Old 18th December 2020, 05:02 PM   #5
Jim McDougall
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Very nice example (especially so to see the hanging straps still on the scabbard rings) and most definitely an officers M1796 from early 19th c.
I have one of these not often seen sabers which I acquired in London in the 70s, and is not nearly in as nice condition.

The 'stepped' back has always suggested Indian influence (this feature often seen on Indian tulwars of latter 18th c.) so I have been inclined to think of these as being for East India Co. officers.
East India company officers were supplied by certain outfitters usually in London and the blades were typically from Solingen.

The 10th Hussars had unique sabers which were in a small number ordered in 1810, and these blades, Solingen blade which had the distinct 'step'.

Wilkinson (1967, "Swords and Daggers") had one of these shown and noted the curious 'beak' . Pic attached.

While the 1796 patterns for officers had of course basic similarity to troopers sabers, the quality, variation and profoundly the fish skin grips were indicators.
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Old 18th December 2020, 05:08 PM   #6
fernando
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
...Very nice example Dmitry...

Dmitry ?
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Old 18th December 2020, 06:23 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
Dmitry ?

oops
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Old 18th December 2020, 08:52 PM   #8
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G'day Ulrik,
It is a 1796 light cavalry officer sword which is very much in the style of the sword cutler John Prosser. We will call it light cavalry, but the truth is it could also have been carried by an infantry or artillery officer as well. It closely resembles the regimental pattern sabre of the 19th light dragoons, but without any markings, we can't attribute it to that regiment. The blade will be British made and is also commonly found on British, mameluke hilted sabres as well. Here is a similar unmarked example in my collection, which differs from yours in that it has a different style hilt. This style hilt was also commonly used by John Prosser. These blades are usually around 79-80cm. How long is yours?
Cheers,
Bryce
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Old 18th December 2020, 10:40 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryce
G'day Ulrik,
It is a 1796 light cavalry officer sword which is very much in the style of the sword cutler John Prosser. We will call it light cavalry, but the truth is it could also have been carried by an infantry or artillery officer as well. It closely resembles the regimental pattern sabre of the 19th light dragoons, but without any markings, we can't attribute it to that regiment. The blade will be British made and is also commonly found on British, mameluke hilted sabres as well. Here is a similar unmarked example in my collection, which differs from yours in that it has a different style hilt. This style hilt was also commonly used by John Prosser. These blades are usually around 79-80cm. How long is yours?
Cheers,
Bryce


Hi Bryce,
With the 10th Hussar special pattern sabers in the order for officers 1810, these were also mounted by Prosser, and the blades were noted as Solingen with the 'stepped tip' and marked with the sun,moon etc. motif. If British makers were making these blades, which might they be? We Know Gill was marking his blades, as were Osborn and Wooley in this time.

It seems like there was a degree of 'experimentation' with blade profiles in this time, I know with Osborn as he developed the 1796's. and the pipebacks, yelmans and even it seems a yataghan type blade was present on at least one I've seen.

Best
Jim
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Old 19th December 2020, 12:54 AM   #10
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G'day Jim,
You are right that the original batch of 10th Hussars' swords used Solingen blades like my example below. Later examples had the flat, unfullered blades like the sword in this thread. In his earlier period Prosser used imported Solingen blades where a fullered blade was required, but I think the unfullered blades must have been made by him. You can find early examples which have Prosser etched on the blade.
Cheers,
Bryce
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Old 19th December 2020, 04:46 PM   #11
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Hi Bryce,
There seem to have been a number of variations in blades in the original 27 sabers for the 10th Hussar group made in 1807 for the Prince of Wales to present to his officers, and according to the amazing research by Richard Dellar, these were indeed German blades.

My example of 10th Hussar, in keeping with the 'historic' condition of many of my swords (deplorable by most collector standards) is in rough shape, and it appears someone tried to restore the grip. I got this about 1979, but back then not much was known about these except perhaps by Geoff Worrall. Claude Blair and J.P.Puype wrote on them but I dont think it was until later in the 80s.

In talks with Richard Dellar we agreed this 'could' be one of the original 27 as it seems like a Solingen blade with 'hollowed' face. As it seems to have been in somewhat 'relic' condition, and the blade has lost any evidence of the kind of occult motif (as seen on yours). I was under the impression that the Prince had a number of German blades from his earlier sabers which he had Prosser use to create these unique sabers.

I have a hard time (as most seem to) delineating makers from cutlers.
Cutlers I have always thought were 'assemblers' of swords but used blades from 'makers'. It seems by 1816, Prosser was using Runkel blades, which seems logical as Runkel had been a supplier in London of German blades for some time. He was not a maker but typically signed his name on them.
I see Prosser listed among the names of others who did make blades, but it would seem this was mostly as 'suppliers' of swords fully mounted.

It seems to have been a long standing practice in England to bring in unfinished blades from Germany and grind and polish them prior to mounting. Most cutlers had engravers to decorate the blades in accord with the cutlers designs. As many cutlers also had other professions, especially as jewellers, many probably engraved their own.

I see what you mean on these notably flat blades being later in the first quarter 19th c. but it is truly a puzzle on where they came from. The established makers in England would not have produced a flat unfullered blade, nor would Solingen, so I suppose it would be feasible that cutlers might have found metalworkers that might have forged them.
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Old 20th December 2020, 02:53 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryce
G'day Ulrik,
It is a 1796 light cavalry officer sword which is very much in the style of the sword cutler John Prosser. We will call it light cavalry, but the truth is it could also have been carried by an infantry or artillery officer as well. It closely resembles the regimental pattern sabre of the 19th light dragoons, but without any markings, we can't attribute it to that regiment. The blade will be British made and is also commonly found on British, mameluke hilted sabres as well. Here is a similar unmarked example in my collection, which differs from yours in that it has a different style hilt. This style hilt was also commonly used by John Prosser. These blades are usually around 79-80cm. How long is yours?
Cheers,
Bryce

Hi, it measures 79 cm! Br/Ulrik
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Old 21st December 2020, 11:30 AM   #13
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My P1796 LC officer's sabre has a very similar design of hilt to yours, though a much more standard 1796 blade. The blade on mine is by JJ Runkel Solingen, and the presence of post 1801 Royal Arms dates the sabre from 1801-7.

I think the Royal Arms also suggest the owner was a regular officer rather than EIC.
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Old 21st December 2020, 05:54 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jezcott
My P1796 LC officer's sabre has a very similar design of hilt to yours, though a much more standard 1796 blade. The blade on mine is by JJ Runkel Solingen, and the presence of post 1801 Royal Arms dates the sabre from 1801-7.

I think the Royal Arms also suggest the owner was a regular officer rather than EIC.



Nice example!
I think you are right, the royal arms typically did signify regular officers while EIC were inclined to have motif of the Company primary in blade decoration. According to David Harding the EIC did not mark edged weapons with the familiar bale mark (other than bayonets which were part of the firearms and these of course were marked).

I have seen officers swords with hilts incorporating EIC lion, and of course as with officers in general, the decoration with EIC devices etc.
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Old 21st December 2020, 06:02 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryce
G'day Jim,
You are right that the original batch of 10th Hussars' swords used Solingen blades like my example below. Later examples had the flat, unfullered blades like the sword in this thread. In his earlier period Prosser used imported Solingen blades where a fullered blade was required, but I think the unfullered blades must have been made by him. You can find early examples which have Prosser etched on the blade.
Cheers,
Bryce



Bryce, I wanted to ask your opinion on my 10th Hussar example. It is in such rough condition in comparison to yours and other examples I have seen. The brass of course is as expected, not corroded, but the silver POW feathers on each side are with broken ends. The blade has deep pitting and as evidenced the grip seems a not particularly well done replacement.

I am wondering if this may have been a battlefield pick up, as it does seem that the 10th officers did take these on campaign, contrary to beliefs they were simply dress sabers. While it does seem this one did experience some 'exposure' and perhaps slight damage in situ, it possibly was retrieved a reasonable time after the events so did not reach the dramatic 'relic' condition.

Best
Jim
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Old 21st December 2020, 08:27 PM   #16
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G'day Jim,
It is possible. There is evidence that these sabres were used in battle, rather than just kept for dress use. To achieve the level of distress that your sabre has it is likely that it has been exposed to the elements for a length of time. Several 10th Hussar officers were killed in combat, so it is possible that some of these were lost on the battlefield. The blade of your sabre does look like it could have been part of the original batch ordered by the Prince. Major Frederick Howard who was killed at Waterlooo would have had one of the original sabres. Who knows...?
Cheers,
Bryce
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Old 22nd December 2020, 09:55 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryce
G'day Jim,
It is possible. There is evidence that these sabres were used in battle, rather than just kept for dress use. To achieve the level of distress that your sabre has it is likely that it has been exposed to the elements for a length of time. Several 10th Hussar officers were killed in combat, so it is possible that some of these were lost on the battlefield. The blade of your sabre does look like it could have been part of the original batch ordered by the Prince. Major Frederick Howard who was killed at Waterlooo would have had one of the original sabres. Who knows...?
Cheers,
Bryce



Hi Bryce,
Thank you so much for those valuable insights, which mean a lot considering that the extent of knowledge you possess after the tenacious research you have done on the British sabers of this period.
It is extremely validating to know that a sword I acquired decades ago which was apparently dismissed by other collectors because of its condition and lack of scabbard may prove to have inherent historic value.

Back in 1979 when I got this, there was not a great deal of knowledge on these 10th Hussar sabers, and I only knew from the pictures in Robson (1975). It was only for that distinct and intriguing classification that I bought it.

Clearly, we can never really know if this example was in fact a battlefield relic as we have agreed is possible, the evidence in its condition is compelling that it well could be. The breakage of the plumes on the POW feathers in both of the guard cartouches suggests very rough exposure whether in combat or post combat damage as from being on the field and perhaps trod upon.
The severe blade corrosion and evidence of original grip covering being gone also suggest a period of deposit in battleground circumstances.

To know that there is enough evidence from the blade's general appearance in its profile to suggest it may be of the originally ordered group is pretty exciting as this would put this in the pre Waterloo period. Clearly this strengthens the plausibility of its possible presence with one of the officers of the 10th either in campaigns in Spain or optimistically at Waterloo.

Of these 10th Hussar sabers, from my understanding, there are only actually about near 20 at best surviving, from the 83+ (including the original 27) that would have been produced up until superceded by the 1821/22 model sword for light cavalry officers.

While this is of course digressing a bit from the saber in the OP, it is relevant to the discussion in reviewing this example as similar type and the kinds of disposition that may apply in investigating these sabers.

Thank you again Bryce!!!

Cheers,
Jim
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