The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Hunting knife with scabbard
  • Hunting knife with scabbard
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Paris, France
  • c. 1860
  • Steel, silver, wood, leather and silk, engraved, cast and chased
  • Length: 69.7 cm
    Length: 51.4 cm, blade
    Weight: 1.35 kg
    Weight: 0.432 kg, scabbard
  • Signature: 'JEANISSET'
    Inscription: 'Donné / PAR / L'Empereur / NAPOLEON III / AU / MARQUIS / D'HERTFORD' framed in palm branches
  • A707
  • European Armoury III
Commentary
History
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Hunting sword and scabbard, the entire hilt cast in silver with a representation in the round of an American Indian fighting a mountain lion, while a second lion lies at his feet pierced by an arrow, its body forming the guard. The group is signed at the back:

    JEANISSET

    Heavy blade of grey watered steel, oval in section at the ricasso, altering to diamond section, with a single deep groove off-set on either side.

    Scabbard of wood covered with black leather, the mounts of oxidized silver en suite with the hilt. The chape is fashioned in front as a broad leaf with fruit hanging on either side, the button for the frog takes the form of a bear's head modelled in the round, and has attached to it a length of thin green silk cord with a tassel. It is engraved on the back with the coat of arms of the French Empire surrounded by the collar of the Légion d' Honneur with crossed sceptres, mantled and surmounted by the Imperial crown. Below, framed in palm branches is the inscription:

    Donné
    PAR
    L' Empereur
    NAPOLÉON III
    AU
    MARQUIS
    D'HERTFORD

    Ferrule formed of four leaves with the terminal button shaped as a bunch of fruit.

    French, about 1860; the blade is Caucasian, one of many brought back by Napoleon I from his Egyptian campaign (information from M. Buttin).

    Relatively few of the works of art in Hertford House have a direct connection with the Hertford family, but this splendid hunting knife is one of the few notable exceptions. It bears an inscription on the reverse of the scabbard locket indicating that it was a gift to the 4th Marquess of Hertford from the Emperor Napoleon III, whose own passion for collecting arms and armour is said to have been inspired by the impressive Oriental arms collection of his friend.