Silver and Enamel-Hilted Small-Sword
Dated: circa 1785
Measurements: overall length: 102.5 cm / 40.4 inches
The sword has a hilt of silver-gilt, the pommel and grip fluted and the pommel, grip, knucklebow, quillon terminal, sleeve and upper side of the shell all set with narrow rectangular panels of small gold stars on a dark blue enamel ground. The panels flanked by lines of brilliants except on the shell, where brilliants border the upper side.
The upper side of the shell is divided into eight cast and chased panels by borders of enamel and the lower side of the shell similarly decorated but the panels divided by eight fluted borders. The blued and gilded blade of hollow triangular section embellished with a panel of gold stars on a blue ground, contained in a wooden scabbard covered in green-dyed shagreen and fitted with silver mounts.
The use of brilliants exhibited on our sword appears typical of the best quality of late- eighteenth century French small-swords – there being a similar example of the style of decoration on a small-sword hilt in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York – the very attractive use of star-filled enamel panels is a very unusual and consequently rare feature.
Source: Copyright © 2013 Peter Finer
Truly one of the centuries best swords.
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