Artifact of the Day

1997.03.1

“Colichemarde” smallsword

England (London) (1771-75)

Acutely tapering, steel colichemarde blade of hollow triangular section, forte etched with strapwork-filled cartouche with scrolling foliation at ends. Silver-gilt cast hilt (Norman's type 112), with bivalve shell having strong rim on both faces. Filled with rococo shells & strapwork, bears, dogs, birds & lions. Stool is tall, with baggy sleeve, & rests on rectangular base having mitred faces. Large, thin arms of the hilt, emanating from the mouths of dog heads at the cross. Short rear quillon with dog-head terminal, opposed by tall knuckle guard swollen at center where decorated with rococo radiating flutes & scrolls. Scrolled upper terminal plugs into the basal side of pommel (Norman's type 88). This is egg-shaped, narrowed to necked base, & of near-circular section, with large, balustered integral button. Decoration of pommel en suite with shell. Grip, possibly restored, is of wood, tapers to ends, & wrapped in 3 types of silver wire. There are no "Turk's heads."