The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Sword
  • Sword
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Toledo, Spain
  • 1787 - 1797
  • Steel, copper, russeted
  • Length: 111.7 cm
    Width: 3.6 cm
    Weight: 1.22 kg
  • Inscription: 'San Josef Feby. 14 1797' In cursive lettering
    Incised mark: 'O / C. : T. 1787 :' 'O' above 'T.'
    Incised mark: Crowned 'R : C S (in monogram) III'
    Incised mark: 'V'
  • A695
  • European Armoury III
Commentary
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Sword, the hilt composed of a flattened spherical pommel with button and cap of one piece; wire-bound grip reinforced with four vertical bars; short diagonally-curved quillons of circular section; semi- hilt-arms, knuckle-guard and solid cup-guard, the later, of cutlass type, is produced to join the knuckle-guard and has a diagonal slit on the forward side; the whole of plain russeted steel.

    The cup is inscribed in cursive lettering:

    San Josef Feby. 14 1797

    The straight blade of flat hexagonal section boldly incised along the forte:

    C. : O/T. 1787 :

    and on the other side:

    Crowned R :CS (in monogram) III

    The ricasso incised with the letter V.

    Spanish (Toledo), dated 1787.

    The inscription commemorates the Battle of Cape St. Vincent, when the Spanish fleet of 27 sail of the line was signally defeated by Admiral Sir John Jervis with 15 sail of the line on 14 February, 1797. The San Joseph (112 guns) was boarded by H.M.S. Captain, under command of Captain Horatio Nelson, R.N., who had previously captured the Spanish flagship and who received the swords of the Spanish officers on the deck of the San Josef.
    The crowned monogram and Roman numerals refer to King Charles III of Spain (1759-88).

    There was a sword of similar type in the Keasbey Collection bearing the same mark and dated 1786 (sold, New York, 1924, lot 236). This type of sword is frequently met with and appears to have been a standard service pattern.

    This is in fact a Spanish regulation cavalry sword of 1796 (B. Barceló Rubí, El armamento portatil Español (1764-1939), una labor artillera, 1976, No. 4).