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Old 8th October 2021, 10:27 AM   #1
Radboud
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Default A peculiar 1796 Pattern 'Spadroon'

I have an interesting sword coming my way, it is a 1796 Heavy Cavalry dismounted service sword. But instead of the regular double-edged spadroon blade, this sword has been mounted with a backsword blade that is marked 'Andrea Farara'.

From what I have seen the sword does not appear to be an out of period frankensword. The scabbard fits well and looks period made. Also, the sword would have been three times more valuable if it was in a basket hilt, as the blade is in very good condition.

I'm thinking that this is a family blade put in a dress hilt, either for a superior officer or a heavy cavalry officer that didn't want to risk losing a family heirloom on the field of battle. As always this is pure speculation and all comments are welcome.

Video: 1796 Pattern HC Dismounted Service Sword
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Old 8th October 2021, 06:25 PM   #2
Jim McDougall
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This is an absolutely beautiful sword, and it does not seem we see many of these. The video is excellent as well, as it shows how well this sword responds to handling, it seems very well balanced.

The term spadroon is always confusing as it derives from Italian and German fencing styles using lighter swords, but in England became a fashionable term used for single edge officers swords in 1780s into early 1800. It seems that mostly it is used for stirrup hilt straight sabers of the 'five ball guard' type. These were used 1780s into early 1800s, and became the model for French swords of the type as well as the American eagle head pommel swords into 1820s.

The blade appears to be of the regular cavalry backsword forms used from 1770s to 1790s. Obviously of course the ANDREA FERARA markings are spuriously added, but in degree following the convention of that makers named applied to Scottish basket hilt blades in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Only physical handling and close up forensic examination can say if the sword and blade are homogenous, but as well balanced as it appears being handled I think optimistically. My only concern is the unusual application of the Andrea Ferara marks.
This does not appear to be a heirloom blade from the early basket hilts of the early part of the century, but the notion of adding this marking might well suggest a Scottish officer of cavalry unit.
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Old 8th October 2021, 07:02 PM   #3
Radboud
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Hello Jim,

Thank you for the comments, when the sword arrives I’ll measure it and add the results to this post with photos. However, according to the vendor it does not balance that well with the blade being heavy for the hilt.

Regarding the Andrea Farara markings there seems to be a lot of variation on these as they were being added to blades for the Scottish market by Solingen makers by the time this one was made. However I have seen photos of two basket hilt broadswords dating to the mid 18th C. That have a similar shape and markings with the Xs and the name across two sides (with the same orientation).

I’m fairly confident that this blade is a few decades older than the hilt the only thing that concerns me in that regard is that it is in very good condition without many of the usual age blemishes.
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Old 8th October 2021, 07:12 PM   #4
Jim McDougall
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Radboud View Post
Hello Jim,

Thank you for the comments, when the sword arrives Iíll measure it and add the results to this post with photos. However, according to the vendor it does not balance that well with the blade being heavy for the hilt.

Regarding the Andrea Farara markings there seems to be a lot of variation on these as they were pretty much all spurious, being added to blades for the Scottish market by Solingen makers by the time this blade was made. However I have seen photos of two basket hilt broadswords dating to the mid 18th C. That have a similar shape and markings with the Xs and the name across two sides (with the same orientation).

Iím fairly confident that this blade is a few decades older than the hilt the only thing that concerns me in that regard is that it is in very good condition without many of the usual age blemishes.
The balance issues as you have noted sound more in line with what I would have expected, and I think I was more impressed with actually seeing it in person, but not in the necessary holding postures.
The ANDREA FERARA blades for Scottish markets began appearing early in the 17th century and remained pretty standard up until Culloden (1746).
After that the only 'Scottish' swords were those made for the British army Highland regiments, as they had been produced in garrison towns since early 1700s.
Naturally the ANDREA FERARA blades were from Solingen and that mark became a kind of 'brand' to Scottish clients, however they did occur on English blades as well (I have a 'mortuary' c. 1642 with Ferara blade).

I share your concerns on the remarkable condition, as well as the character of the Andrea Ferara despite its following earlier configurations.
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Old 8th October 2021, 07:31 PM   #5
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Here is a photo of the markings from one of the swords I mentioned earlier:
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Old 8th October 2021, 07:38 PM   #6
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Here are the photos the vendor sent me of the markings plus a couple of the sword
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