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Early 18th Century Scottish Basket Hilted Back Sword

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Price: £4,350

Ref: 001.18

Item Description

An attractive Scottish basket hilted sword dating to the beginning of the 18th century. The sword is mounted with a fine single edged fullered blade and is nicely proportioned and well balanced in hand. The sword is a good example of the Scottish armourer’s craft in the years surrounding the 1715 Jacobite Rebellion and in fine condition.

The fully formed basket guard is comprised of finely forged and sturdy structural bars. Primary and secondary guard plates plates are mounted between these and finely pierced with circles and hearts, engraved with vertical and horizontal line decoration, and cut with fretted edges consisting of crescents and merlons. The hilt is symmetrical and well rounded in profile.

The decorative edges of the guard plates are further enhanced with the unusual feature of additional decorative merlons which protrude from both sides half way along the vertical sides of the secondary plates and towards the wrist guard from one side of the primary plates. The achievement of this feature demanded that the side panels be forged at the onset with sufficient metal to the sides to enable the merlons to be filed and cut into shape. This would require great skill form the armourer and is possibly a unique feature. The shape and style of hilt probably indicates the north of Scotland as the place of manufacture – possibly Inverness.

The pommel is dome-shaped with three sets of triple lines radiating from the  tang button on top, the central grooves being wider than those on the flanks in each case. The three upper arms of the guard are securely tucked into a groove cut around the lower half of the pommel. The hilt is tight together when in hand.

The tapering single edged blade is just under 32 inches long (81 cm). A broad, shallow fuller extends from the hilt along the middle and terminates near the tip. A second, deeper, narrower fuller extends from the hilt underneath the spine of the blade and terminates towards half way after which the blade is double edged to the tip.

The grip is of wood, spirally grooved, covered with shagreen, bound with twisted strands of wire and mounted with iron ferrules top and bottom. The hilt also retains its protective leather liner. The overall length of the sword is 38 inches (96.5 cm).

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