A Silver-Hilted Small-Sword made for a Child, in the Rococo Fashion, together with Scabbard c. 1770-80

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Item ref: 4152

  • Provincial North-western Europe, possibly Dunkirk
  • Iron alloy (steel), silver
  • 63.5 x 6.5 cm


Private collection, United Kingdom

A similarly diminutive sword with a very closely comparable silver hilt is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. That example is struck with Paris silver marks for 1758-59. The rococo styling of both of these solid silver hilts is almost identical, but in the instance of our provincially marked hilt it is clear that by circa 1770-80 it had been made in the image of the earlier Paris fashion.

The quality of the present hilt is nonetheless delightful, a perfect emulation of an adult sword of the period. The blade is entirely functional, if hopefully not purposeful. As is well-known from the portraiture of the period, children were dressed as miniaturised adults and boys would naturally be required to carry a sword as a reflection of their parents’ position in society.