The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Smallsword with scabbard
  • Smallsword with scabbard
  • Probably William Kinman
  • Hilt- London, England; blade- probably Solingen, Germany
  • c. 1765 - c. 1770 (hilt)
  • Steel, silver, gold, silk and fish-skin, chiselled, pierced, engraved and etched
  • Length: 82.6 cm
    Width: 2.6 cm
    Weight: 0.44 kg, sword
    Weight: 0.07 kg, scabbard
  • Inscription: 'DEALTRY / ROYAL EXCHANGE' Engraved
    Hallmark: Leopard passant Standard mark for silver
    Hallmark: Leopard passart Standard mark for silver
    Maker's mark: 'W' and a second letter
  • A692
  • European Armoury III
Commentary
Further Reading
  • Smallsword, the hilt composed of a hollow, pierced, oviform pommel with turned button; wire-bound grip of oval section; knuckle-guard and two quillons chiselled to represent foliage and fruit, the quillons with lobated ends curving to join the shell-guard; escutcheon pierced like the pommel; two short branches simulating a hilt-arm, lozenge-shaped shell-guard in one piece, pierced with foliage and filigree, the whole of silver gilt, pierced and chiselled with foliage and filigree scrolls; sword-knot of stripped crimson silk and silver galoon, ending in a tassel; blade of triangular bayonet-section, etched with conventional, foliated flourishes at the hilt. The stand of the pommel and the inside of the forward arm of the hilt bear the leopard passant, the standard mark for silver, while on the inside of the forward arm are the remains of a maker's mark consisting of a capital W and a second partially illegible letter.

    The scabbard is covered with black fishskin, and mounted with a locket and chape decorated en suite with the hilt, the locket furnished with a ring, and engraved with the name:

    DEALTRY
    ROYAL EXCHANGE

    About 1765-70; hilt British (London); blade probably German (Solingen).
    Norman and Barne, 1980, pI. 134.

    Two of Dealtry's trade-cards are in the Banks Collection in the British Museum. The first is dated 1780 and reads: 'Thomas Dealtry. Swords and other Cutlery ware. At the Flaming Sword, Sweeting's Alley, Royal Exchange. N.B. Canes neatly fitted up.' The second, dated 1786, reads: 'Dealtry, No. 85 Cornhill. Makes and Sells… Swords, Arms, and Accoutrements.' There was a smallsword bearing Dealtry's name and 'Cornhill' on the chape in the Sir. J. D. Linton sale, Christie's, 17 January, 1917, lot 95.

    In the course of the 18th century the quality of English sword cutlery declined and the London cutlers petitioned the Government for the permission to import German blades free of duty. This movement was strenuously opposed by Thomas Gill of Birmingham, who made great efforts to improve the industry, and in 1783 memorialized the Lords of the Treasury that he could make blades superior to those imported from Germany. In 1786 a trial took place in which the quality of his work was triumphantly vindicated. Among 10,000 blades ordered by the East India Company, there were 1,400 German blades of which 28 were rejected, of 2,700 English blades other than Gill's 1,084 failed, but of Gill's 1,650 blades, only four failed to pass.

    The hilt-maker's mark is probably that of William Kinman, one of the leading London makers of his day. A. Grimwade records his mark under no. 3210, entered as a small worker on 31 January 1759 (London Goldsmiths, 1976, p. 572). Another mark was entered for him, or for a son of the same name, on 17 May 1782. The retailer, Thomas Dealtry, was a cutler (Grimwade, op. cit., p. 486, mark no. 2735). He had been apprenticed to John Bennet, also a cutler, on 12 March 1742, and was free of the Cutlers' Company on 29 June 1749. His first recorded mark as a small worker was entered on 28 October 1765; however, earlier marks may have been entered in the Smallworkers' Book begun in 1739, now lost. According to A. Heal (The London Goldsmith, 1935, p. 138) he is last recorded in 1799.