Fine Antique Arms & Armour

Mid 18th Century Scottish Officer's Sporran - Probably Black Watch Ref: 12.69


Price: £2,450

Item Description:

An outstanding and rare Scottish brass mounted leather military officers' sporran dating to the middle of the 18th century in impressive original condition. The leather pouch is attached to the cantle either side by separate brass strips which trap the top edge of the leather pouch to be secured by hand-made brass pins. The spring mechanism is still in working order. The opening method is to pull upwards the brass button located on top, the shaft of which passes through the upper lip of the cantle. To the sides the extremes of the cantle parts are hinged by iron rivets now rusted and aged. The inside of the pouch retains parts of its original liner. Two iron belt hoops are applied to the rear of the cantle. The pouch is stitched together with high quality braid and a secondary pouch without a fastener is present at the back.


The front face of the pouch is decorated with a foliate embroidered pattern which retains some original silk finishing. Probably originally muli-coloured the brightness is now lost. To the top right is a shield which partly overlays the stitching in which the number 30 is present over a number 85. To the top middle of the pouch is an old collection number - M.A.7236.


The embroidery is similar to that which appears on other forms of British regimental uniform and head gear of the mid 18th century. In overall excellent condition there are two slight areas of damage where one frontal cantle pin is missing and a small part of the cantle top surface is missing due to pressure exerted over time by the internal spring during the opening and closing process of the sporran. The brass cantle measures 6 inches (15 cm from end to end).


A number of depictions of Scottish Highlanders in military uniform exist with the soldiers wearing similar sporrans of plain form. For example see "History of Highland Dress", John Telfer Dunbar, 1962, Oliver & Boyd Ltd. The high quality embroidery seen on this sporran probably indicates that the owner was an officer.

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