Fine Antique Arms & Armour

Scottish Infantry Officer's Three Quarter Basket Hilted Broad Sword Ref: 064.16


Price: £2,395

Item Description:


A very scarce Scottish Infantry Officer's three quarter basket hilted broad sword dating to the middle of the 18th century.


This rare sword type was probably developed as a result of the Duke of Cumberland's review of his army in the mid 18th century where he made known his view on the full basket hilted sword - in that he was not in favour because they were cumbersome and men could not properly salute with them. He evidently favoured more European sword hilt forms.


This sword is a rare surviving compromise in that the secondary rear and additional rear guard bars plus one of the frontal main panels present on more usual basket hilt designs which protect the inside of the hand when the sword is held in the right, have been regarded as superfluous and removed from the design. A flowing circular bar which curls downwards from the pommel and curves into the cross guard near the wristguard is a unique design feature which indicates a lot of thought went into the appearance and functionality of this new hilt form rather than simply being formed by the removal of a few bars.


The guard bars of the basket are fluted on the outside with a wider groove to the middle flanked by narrower incised lines in "Glasgow" manner. The bun shaped pommel with integral button is typical of other British military baskets of the time. The arms of the guard are forged onto a ring into which the base of the pommel sits. The original spirally grooved grip is covered with shagreen, bound with copper wire and mounted with iron ferrules top and bottom.


The 31.5 inch (80 cm) plain double edged blade tapers to its tip and has a single shallow fuller either side extending some  8 inches (70 cm) from the hilt down the middle. The condition of the sword is good overall with some minor pitting both sides towards the blade tip. The overall length of the sword is 37.5 inches (95 cm).


For further examples see Cyril Mazansky, British Basket Hilted Swords, 2005, Boydell Press, pages 227 & 229.


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