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A Scottish basket hilted broad sword dating to the second half of the 18th century. The sword is an interesting, and rare, transitional military form which exhibits many of the features of traditional Scottish basket hilt manufacture in the first half of the 18th century, and later military types which evolved, and eventually standardised, as the “1828” pattern. This pattern is referred to in the Order of 28th September that year and provided the Scottish military basket hilt template, with only slight changes, from then until the present day. In this respect, the sword represents the time in the late 18th century when the use and number of Scottish regiments was increasing in the British Army for service abroad.
The sword is very well made, nicely balanced and of sturdy construction. The fully formed basket hilt is built from finely executed, thick, round section bars and smoothly formed plates. The plates are pierced with hearts and circles, engraved with decorative lines and cut with fretted edges.
The arms of the guard tuck into a groove incised around the base of the pommel, the cross guard has a noticeable rake and the wristguard is formed as a flattened curl rather than as a solid cylinder, all of which are early features, as is the smooth contoured profile of the basket, and the use of heavier robust bars compared to the 1828 pattern.
The large pommel is dome shaped with four sets of triple grooved lines radiating from the pommel button on top, the central grooves being wider than those on the flanks in each case. The button is also dome shaped with a flared neck.
The shoulders of the broad, tapering, double edged, lenticular section blade sit in a groove cut into the underneath of the cross guard bar. The wooden grip is spirally grooved and covered with shagreen, bound with twisted copper wire and mounted with an iron ferrule at the base, laterally incised with horizontal lines.
The blade is 35.25 inches (89.5 cm) and overall the sword is 41.75 inches long (106 cm).
Provenance: The collection of the late Baron of Earlshall