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A very nice aristocratic French silver hilted small sword dating to the years preceding the French Revolution. It is a nicely balanced example mounted with a double shell guard hilt and a fine hollow ground triangular section blade engraved with foliate panels at the hilt. The sword is an example of the high standards of design and execution required of the 18th century Parisian silversmith as well as an example of one of the most effective duelling weapons of the late 17th and 18th centuries in France.
The shell guard is skillfully chiselled with flowing designs in raised relief comprised of floral sprays, foliage, tendrils and pierced panels of intricate latticework. Each shell both on the convex and concave sides is engraved with a leafy foliate border. Each is centred with an oval panel containing stands of arms in raised relief on the outer convex sides and sprays of flowers on the inner concave sides. Both sides of the panels are pierced with a lattice of flower heads.
The ecusson, pas d’ane rings, knuckle bow, quillon and pommel are decorated in the same sumptuous manner with leafy foliate designs, stands of arms and musical instruments. The designs attest to the martial stature of the owner, most likely a member of the military, whilst simultaneously announcing his cultural and artistic merits. This balance of qualities was important to achieve success and standing at the French court of pre-Revolutionary France. The date stamp is represented by a letter “F” with an open crown above in raised relief inside a shield on the forward pas d’ane ring.
The grip consists of a wooden rectangular section baluster-shaped core spirally wrapped with bands of flat silver strip separated by contra twisted roped silver wire and mounted with silver woven “Turk’s Heads” top and bottom. The stiff blade tapers acutely to its point and is enhanced with engraved panels of foliate scrolls near the hilt on both sides.
Condition: the sword is in fine condition overall. The hilt and grip show little wear and no noticeable damage. The hilt retains its original pleasing shape, there are no repairs or damage and the engraving is generally crisp. There is slight blackened age staining to a few small parts of the blade, which is straight and undamaged. The sword is well balanced in hand.
The blade is just over 33 inches (84 cm) long and overall the sword is 40 inches (101.5 cm) long.