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Late 17th Century Silver Hilted Hunting Hanger by Thomas Vicaridge of London

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Price: £2,350

Ref: 35.14

Item Description

An attractive and rare, late 17th century English silver mounted hunting hanger by Thomas Vicaridge of London, with scabbard, in good, crisp condition. Only a few surviving edged weapons signed by this maker are known and all are of high “London” quality.

The silver knucklebow is designed with two running hounds hunting a stag. The quillon terminal is pierced with a face inside a circle over two upturned arches. The circular pommel-cap has a border of engraved foliage with the face of a cherub in the middle and a pronounced ribbed lip which forms a ferrule encasing the upper part of the staghorn antler grip. A second silver ferrule is present at the base of the grip. Both ferrules have a cut hem of decorative crescents. The curved blade has a shallow fuller which extends underneath the blunt edge for two thirds of its length after which it becomes double edged towards the point.

The knucklebow is struck with the 1697 Britannia standard mark of Thomas Vicaridge, “VI” with a crown above and a pellet below inside a shield. The date mark is indistinct. The pommel cap has a similar mark on the side. The base ferrule of the grip, however, is marked with Vicaridge’s pre Britannia standard mark which is “TV” with a crown above and a pellet below inside a shield. This mark was in use from 1682 to 1697.

Thomas Vicaridge completed his apprenticeship to Joseph Jones, a London Cutler, on 25th April 1682 when he was sworn “Free” upon completion of his term of servitude at a well attended meeting at Cutler’s Hall. Until 1697, along with other silversmiths, Vicaridge used his own mark, the letters “TV” with a crown above and a pellet below inside a shield. Two examples of this mark struck on a copper plate for reference are preserved at Goldsmith’s Hall and are identical to the marks on the sword discussed here. In 1697, with the advent of the Higher, or Britannia, Standard for silver, smiths were required to record a new punch mark bearing the first two initials of their surnames. As a result, Vicaridge recorded the mark “VI” with a crown above and pellet below inside a shield. This mark was used from 1697 onwards.

An article by Leslie Southwick published in the Royal Armouries Yearbook (vol 5 in 2000) discusses Vicaridge’s “pre” and “post” Britannia standard marks and illustrates examples of hangers and hunting swords by this smith, similar to the one discussed here, which are housed in various national collections including the Victoria & Albert Museum and the National Maritime Museum.

Figure 6, page 48, illustrates a hunting sword housed in the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich which is almost identical to the sword described here. Coincidentally, the Greenwich sword is also made up of hilt parts which pre and post-date the Britannia standard, leading Southwick to conclude that the sword could have been originally made up of earlier and later elements or refurbished. The scabbard is made of a wooden core with plain silver mounts. The core is encased in its original cloth covering, once red, now worn and split. The overall length is 22.25 inches (56.5) cm and the blade is 17.5 inches (44.5 cm) long.

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