The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Hunting sword with scabbard
  • Hunting sword with scabbard
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • France, possibly Dieppe
  • c. 1780 - c. 1899
    c. 1780 (hilt)
    19th century (blade)
    19th century (scabbard)
  • Steel, gold and ivory, etched, chiselled and gilded
  • Length: 58 cm
    Width: 5.2 cm
    Weight: 0.72 kg, sword
    Weight: 0.6 kg, scabbard
  • A705
  • European Armoury III
Commentary
History
Further Reading
  • Hunting sword and scabbard, the sword’s hilt made entirely of steel. Handle or grip of one piece, rectangular in section and pistol-shaped, surmounted by a turned button, and pierced on the under side with two holes to hold a tassel; very short guard with scroll-shaped ends; the whole chased with trophies of dead game and hunting accoutrements, branches of palm and laurel, bands of conventional flowers and vines, with festoons of ribbon, chiselled in low relief on a ground of matt gold; broad, slightly curved, single-edged blade, the back of square section, the surface entirely etched with festoons of dead game, flowers and fruit.

    Scabbard of ivory mounted with a locket, chape and ferrule of steel chased and gilt like the hilt, the locket bearing the eagle of Jove holding a laurel wreath in its beak and furnished with two rings for suspension, a spring-catch, and a button to engage the hanger. The surface of the ivory is finely carved in relief with an intricate composition of hounds bringing down wild boar, a lion, bear, wolf, stag, fox and hare. The back is plain except for the Arms of France modern, a bâton peri en bande surmounted by a coronet of a French prince du sang, the arms of the house of Bourbon-Condé.

    Provenance: ? Berthon sale, Paris, 16 December, 1867, lot 65.

    The style of the weapon is of the period of Louis Henri de Bourbon, prince de Condé (1692-1740), the last of the line.

    Examined with C. Blair (2 September 1963), when it was concluded that the blade was 19th-century, the ivory-work possibly Dieppe, 19th century, the sheath mounts also possibly 19th century, and certainly of less good quality than the hilt which is probably about 1780. Not necessarily a fake; probably a good old hilt remounted when it had once again become fashionable.

    Exhibited: Musée Rétrospectif, 1865, No. 4519 (M. Berthon).

    For the sources of the decoration of the hilt see de Bellaigue and Norman, Connoisseur, CLVII, pp. 16-20.