The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Scottish dirk with scabbard, knife and fork
  • Scottish dirk with scabbard, knife and fork
  • John Moyes
  • Edinburgh, Scotland
  • early 19th century
  • Iron or steel, wood, bone, silver, cairngorm and leather, engraved, inlaid and carved
  • Length: 48.7 cm
    Length: 33.1 cm, blade
    Weight: 0.375 kg
    Length: 19.7 cm, knife and fork
    Weight: 0.056 kg, knife
    Weight: 0.042 kg, fork
  • Maker's mark: 'MOYES' Stamped
    Maker's mark: 'MOYES'
  • A735
  • European Armoury III
Commentary
  • Scottish Highland dirk and scabbard, the hilt having a swelling grip of characteristic form fashioned of one piece of dark wood, possibly ivy-root or bog-oak, the entire surface carved with 'Celtic' interlacing strapwork, the intervals filled with small bone inlays. The pommel is mounted with silver and set with a large cairngorm. On either side of the arch-shaped termination is a small silver shield, that in front embossed with a lion's mask, while that on back bears traces of a now illegible monogram.

    The broad blade is back-edged to within six inches of the point. A single groove close to the back edge has been set in a sunken margin with a wavy inner edge. The back is channeled along its length with two fine grooves. On the left side the blade is stamped with the name of the cutler, ‘Moyes.’

    The scabbard is made of light coloured wood, possibly walnut, with silver mounts. The entire surface is carved with interlacing 'Celtic' ornament, the outlines emphasized with black stain. A knife and fork are contained in two pockets in front, one above the other; the handles, of the same wood as the hilt of the dagger, are carved with similar ornament and are similarly capped with silver and set with a cairngorm. The blade of the knife is also marked ‘Moyes.’ The silver mounts are engraved en suite with the hilt of the dagger.
    Also included is a waist-belt of brown leather with a silver buckle like that of the sword belt of A696.

    On the belt is a frog, to which the scabbard is attached by two silver chains.
    British, Edinburgh, early 19th century.

    Provenance: see note under A696 here.

    John Moyes, the maker of this blade, is recorded at 11 Nicholson Street, Edinburgh, from 1793 to 1796, and at College Street from 1797 to 1823/4. He is described as 'cutler and surgical instrument maker'. His signature also occurs on the blade of the byknife of the dirk presented to the future George IV by Sir John Sinclair of Ulbster as Colonel of the Rothesay and Caithness Fencibles, on 13 May 1800 (Windsor Castle, 1904 cat., no. 34).