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A Fine Scottish Basket Hilted Sword of “Glasgow Style” Dating to Circa 1730

A Scottish basket hilted sword dating to the second quarter of the 18th century. This is an imposing and well balanced weapon of fine quality workmanship and represents the highest standard of the Scottish sword making craft during the two decades before the last Jacobite Rebellion in 1745. It is mounted with a broad double edged blade and retains its scabbard.

The main structural bars of the guard are of flattened rectangular section. These are decorated on the outside with an incised longitudinal groove along the middle with a narrower groove on each side. Similar decoration is applied to the pommel. This style of decoration was developed by sword makers in Glasgow towards the end of the 17th century and continued until the third quarter of the 18th.

The Glasgow style of hilt decoration is distinctive and represents the highest quality output of Scottish sword makers at the time. Filing the bars in this manner was a time consuming and demanding task reserved only for the best hilts.

One of the most well known Scottish sword makers of the period was John Allan who was trained in Glasgow and in the early 18th century moved to Stirling to set up his business there. His son Walter followed him into the trade. The broad cone shaped pommel of this sword and the pierced designs cut into the guard panels is reminiscent of some surviving swords punched with the maker’s initials of these two men. It is therefore probable that this sword was made in Stirling.

The basket hilt of our sword has been intentionally forged to appear slightly asymmetrical when viewed from the front with the basket appearing slightly swollen to the right compared to the left. This is another mark of quality indicating that the hilt was made for a right hand user.

The pommel has a ribbed button on top from which three sets of triple grooves radiate. The spaces between are filled with chevrons of similar “Glasgow” type.

The grip is formed with a spirally grooved wooden core covered with shagreen and bound with silver wire. Ribbed silver ferrules are also mounted onto the grip top and bottom. The hilt retains its leather liner and washer beneath. The guard arm terminals tuck securely into a groove cut around the lower part of the pommel.

The sword retains its original stitched leather scabbard tooled with geometric patterns on the outside and original iron mounts.

The tapering double edged blade is 34 inches (86.5 cm) long and of fine quality. It was most likely made in a workshop in Solingen in Germany. A single shallow fuller extends down the middle of the blade from the hilt on each side for 6 inches (15 cm) after which it is of lenticular section to its tip. Inside the fullers each side a Running Wolf is incised flanked by the word ANDRIA in a frame on one side near to hilt and FARARA on the other with various cross shaped dots. The running wolf is repeated a little distance beyond the end of the fuller. Overall the sword is 40 inches long (just under 102 cm).

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