A Fine French Small-Sword With Chiselled Steel Hilt
Lot 26
A Fine French Small-Sword With Chiselled Steel Hilt
£2,500 - 3,500
US$ 4,200 - 5,900
Lot Details
A Fine French Small-Sword With Chiselled Steel Hilt
Circa 1780
With burnished tapering blade of deeply hollowed triangular section, each face of the forte etched and gilt with small panels decorated with stars, scrolls, and trophies of arms, all originally on a blued ground, the panel on the inner side nearest the hilt etched with the bladesmith's initials 'ICI', the bright hilt (now partly russet) of characteristic form minutely decorated in relief on a matted ground with mount cavalrymen each within a raised oval frame, a fortification under siege, standing infantrymen, variously on parade and holding, loading and firing their muskets, and taking prisoners, the edges of the double-shell guard each chiselled with foliage centred on a winged monster-head, the rear quillion terminating in a lion's head with a globe in its mouth, the knuckle-guard with monster-head terminal and decorated with running scrollwork bearing flowers and foliage above and below a central standing figure on each side, respectively of an infant drummer and an infant figure of Mars, ovoidal pommel with baluster button, and swelling wooden grip bound with steel ribbon between twisted copper wire with a copper Turk's head top and bottom, in its original vellum-covered scabbard with bright steel mounts and two rings for suspension, the locket and chape each chiselled in relief on the outer side en suite with the hilt, and on the inner side with rococo ornament
82.6 cm. blade


  • Literature:
    Hoffmeyer, cat. no. 132, pp. 111, 159, 160 and 161, figs. 28, 44 and 45

    A number of small-sword hilts decorated in comparable fashion are recorded, made of steel, silver and ivory. See Bashford Dean, Catalogue of European Court Swords and Hunting Swords, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1929, cat. nos. 87, 88, 89 and 93

    Cf. also a silver hilt by François-Alexis Carron with Parisian silver marks for 1798-1809, loaned by Stephen V. Grancsay to the exhibition of Arms and Armor at Allentown Art Museum in 1964 (cat. no. 141)
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