Artifact of the Day

1999.02.1

Smallsword

England (perhaps Birmingham and Burslem) (about 1790)

Norman's type 112 hilt with long, acutely tapered blade of hollow-ground, triangular section. Blade blued for half its length from the hilt, identically decorated faces with etched & gilded trophies, figures & candelabra. Blade insulated from the hilt with a restored white leather washer. The hilt of hard, cut steel, brightly burnished.The elements have alternate rows of plain fillets & faceted beads of spheroid and ellipsoid form. The asymetrically C-shaped knuckle-guard is faceted. The grip tapers to its ends. Ovoid pommel, with tall, faceted neck & button. The sleeve is tall and of rectangular section, with convex sides. The arms of the hilt are feeble and crescentic, linked to the guard and the recurving rear quillon which is finished in a circular terminal of beads.The shell guard is pierced, with an undulating beaded edge. The plate is plain on the underside, and formed as network of faceted beads on iron wires within. The interior of the shell is inlaid with four blue with white elliptical relief plaquettes. Similar plaquettes are mounted on the grip &knuckle-guard faces at mid-height , and pommel faces front and rear. It is possible to identify a number of the neoclassical themes depicted on the plaquettes. See Additional Notes for detailed description of the imagery depicted.