A Fine Ormolu-Mounted Officer's Sword Presented To Captain George Silvertop By The Bywell Yeomanry In 1818
Lot 126
A Fine Ormolu-Mounted Officer's Sword Presented To Captain George Silvertop By The Bywell Yeomanry In 1818
Sold for £17,500 (US$ 28,208) inc. premium

Lot Details
A Fine Ormolu-Mounted Officer's Sword Presented To Captain George Silvertop By The Bywell Yeomanry In 1818 A Fine Ormolu-Mounted Officer's Sword Presented To Captain George Silvertop By The Bywell Yeomanry In 1818
A Fine Ormolu-Mounted Officer's Sword Presented To Captain George Silvertop By The Bywell Yeomanry In 1818
By Prosser, Maker To The Prince Regent, No. 9 Charing Cross, London
With curved blade (areas of surface rust) double-edged towards the point, etched and lightly gilt along one side with trophies of arms, garlands of palm and laurel, a cavalryman on horseback, crowned 'GR' cypher and 'B.V.C.' within a garland of palm and laurel above crossed banners and a kettledrum, and along the other with the presentation inscription between a martial trophy and a fasces within a garland of palm and laurel, the forte with the maker's details in full on both sides, cast and chased hilt comprising langets each with spherical terminal and Medusa's head mounted below a rectangular reeded quillon-block, quillons formed as dog's heads, one with scrolled knuckle-guard issueing from its mouth, the knuckle-guard formed as branches of oak bound with ribbon, fluted grip pierced with branches of oak against fishskin on both sides, and writhen tapering pommel, in original scabbard en suite with the hilt, the pierced central panels within ribboned borders, foliate chape, suspension mounts each with a lion-mask on both sides and roped suspension ring, locket engraved with maker's details on one side, and retaining virtually all its original gilding
82 cm. blade

Footnotes

  • The presentation inscription reads: 'This Sword Presented As A Testimony Of Respect And Esteem By The Bywell Yeomanry Cavalry To Captain Silvertop Their Late Commander 1818.'

    George Silvertop was born in 1775 at Benwell House near Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. In 1801 he inherited the estate of Ministeracres from his father and at the onset of the Napoleonic Wars he was appointed Captain Commandant of the Derwent Rangers. Disbanded in 1801, he was appointed Captain Commandant of the Bywell Yeomanry Cavalry when war resumed in 1803. It was on the disbandment of this troop that he was presented with the sword offered here which was valued at one hundred guineas

    In 1814 he travelled abroad and was granted an interview with Napoleon on Elba, later publishing an account of the meeting. On his return to England, having gained a reputation as a man of high character and ability, he was selected by the Cabinet under Lord Liverpool as the medium of private communication between Britain and the See of Rome on matters affecting the conditions of British Roman Catholics. As a member of a prominent Catholic family he played his part in campaigning for Catholic emancipation and was the first Catholic to be appointed a High Sheriff (of Northumberland) since the reign of William III. He was offered a seat in Parliament but refused although he served as a magistrate and Poor Law Guardian. He died on 20 February 1849

    Offered with Frank Dobson, The Life and Times of George Silvertop of Ministeracres, 2004

    For more information regarding John 1 Prosser see Leslie Southwick, London Silver-hilted Swords ..., 2001, pp. 199-200; and for a sword by the same maker with a similar hilt see Leslie Southwick, The Price Guide to Antique Edged Weapons, 1982, p. 116, fig. 304
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