An English Silver-Mounted Hunting Sword, dated 1752

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Item ref: 5031

  • England, London
  • Steel, silver, staghorn, leather.
  • 83 cm (overall length)

The present blade includes on both sides the emblem of an armoured arm emerging from a cloud, a falchion grasped in its gauntlet hand. Popular with sword cutlers and heralds, the emblem in this form alludes to the strength of heavenly protection extended upon the righteous. It is followed by maxims differing over the respective sides.

Below this device on one side is a renaissance warrior with drawn sword and in regal stance upon a globe. The allusion is the subject of Wither’s lengthy and flowery explanation (his book is dedicated to Charles II) but in essence it refers to the global power and influence of a king who is prepared to both listen to his subjects’ petitions and to take his sword to foreign realms as required. Beneath the figure is the medieval knightly motto which remained much used in the 18th century: ‘RECHTE FACIENDDOO NEMINEMEN TEMEAS’ (sic), in translation: ‘By doing right, (I) shall fear no one’.

On the opposite side is the same warrior king, now portrayed in combat. In appropriate accompaniment are the inscriptions: ‘REGERE SUYPSUM’: ‘To Control Himself’ and: ‘SUMMAS EST SAPIENTIA’: ‘Nobility and Wisdom’.

The silver maker’s mark on the hilt comprises the cursive letters N C (or E), a pellet between.

Another hunting-sword of this type, with comparable silver hilt, scabbard locket and staghorn grip, is in the Royal Armouries, Leeds (IX. 854). That hilt bears the mark of the London silver maker John Carmen II and the date letter for 1750/51. The hilts and scabbards of each of these two examples are notably similar, both in the fine quality of the workmanship and the closeness of their detail.