Fine Antique Arms & Armour

Officer of British Regiment of Horse Back Sword Circa 1730 to 1770 Ref: 14.14


Price: £3,650


Item Description:


An English basket hilted horseman's back sword dating to the middle of the 18th century. The basket is pierced with triangles and circles to the main front and side panel guards which are also finely fretted at the edges with chevrons and merlons. The flattened bars are decorated with a central groove flanked by incised lines. Two main front guard panels are present on the more usual military basket hilts of the 18th century but in this "horseman's" design one of these has been replaced by an oval ring.


Distinctive features of the "Englishness" of this hilt, compared to the more usual Scottish basket hilts of the period, include the presence of two additional guard bars lying above and below the main frontal guard plate giving additional strength to the hilt structure. The arms of the guard are also forged onto an iron ring into which the base of the pommel sits. The hilt is similar to one illustrated in "World Swords 1400 - 1945" by Harvey JS Withers, Jupiter Military Publishing, 2006, page 39. It is also similar to swords described in "Officers Basket Hilted Swords of the Royal Horse Guards" by Anthony Darling, Men at Arms, 1991.


Of particular note is the silvered finish to this hilt. Much of the silvering remains and would have given the sword a flamboyant appearance in its day. It can be assumed from this that the sword belonged to an officer.


The pommel is decorated with four sets of lines which radiate from the pommel button, each consisting of a shallow groove flanked by a narrower groove either side, similar to the decoration present on the main bars of the hilt. The original grip is of wood which retains its shagreen cover and wire binding with a "Turk's Head" at the top and an iron ferrule at the base.


The robust blade is single edged with a shallow wide fuller extending underneath the spine for circa three quarters of its length after which it becomes double edged. A second fuller running underneath this extends for nearly the full length of the blade. An armourer's mark is present in one of the fullers though now illegible.


Blade length just under 33 inches (83.5 cm). Overall length  39 inches (99 cm).


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