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Presentation sword and sheath

  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1834-1842 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Widdowson & Veale (manufacturer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Steel, enamel, engraved, ennamelled and set with lapis-lazuli

  • Museum number:

    107-1891

  • Gallery location:

    On display at the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers Regimental Museum, Enniskillen Castle, Northern Ireland , case IR []

A presentation sword rewards a soldier for his valour. It is not a utilitarian sword but is symbolic of the honour and esteem held for the recipient. Presentation swords are often elaborately decorated with precious metals and engraved with an inscription that commemorates the battle at which the soldier demonstrated his bravery and courage. This is an English military presentation sword which was commissioned especially to commemorate the courage and bravery of Major Thomas Charlton Smith who maintained his post at Port Natal (later Durban) against an overwhelming force from the 24th May to 26th June 1842". It is engraved with a figure of Victory, the British Lion, the Royal monogram and on the hilt with a representation of Saint George and the dragon on one side and a lion fighting a leopard on the other.

Physical description

Presentation sword and scabbard. Steel, with lapis lazuli handle and gilt metal mounts.

The blade is engraved on one side with war trophies, a figure of justice, floral decoration, and the inscription "presented to Major T. C.Smith, H.M. 27th Regt Inniskillings, by British subjects of the Cape of Good Hope to express their sense of his indominitable bravery in maintaining his post at Port Natal against an overwhelming force from the 24th May to 26th June 1842". The other side is similarly engraved with a figure of Victory, the British Lion, the Royal monogram, and floral decoration.

The hilt is engraved with fine arabesques, and has a representation of St George and the dragon on one side, and of a lion fighting a leopard on the other, on a ground of translucent blue enamel. The pommel is in the form of lion's head.

The scabbard is covered with red velvet. The mounts are engraved with fine arabesques and war-trophies, and have a shield of arms in enamel, a castle, and the monogram 'TCS" on a translucent blue enamel ground. The scabbard is also chased with groups of fruit.

Made by Widdowson & Veale, Sword Cutlers to H.R.H Prince Albert, 73 Strand, Westminster.

Place of Origin

London (made)

Date

ca. 1834-1842 (made)

Artist/maker

Widdowson & Veale (manufacturer)

Materials and Techniques

Steel, enamel, engraved, ennamelled and set with lapis-lazuli

Dimensions

Length: 37.75 in

Object history note

Major (afterwards General) T Charlton Smith was an uncle of R H Soden Smith, Esq, at whose decease W.M. Biden Esq, (one of his executors) inherited this sword and the two medals (108&109-1891).

Given by the Executors of the late R H Sodon Smith Esq, per G.H. Read, Esq., British Museum.

Historical significance: Widdowson & Veale were Goldsmiths, Jewellers & Sword Cutlers to His Royal Highness Prince Albert. The sword was exhibited at Masterpieces of the International Exhibition, 1862

Historical context note

The battle of Conglella at Port Natal was between emigrant Dutch farmers and the British military.

Descriptive line

Steel, gilt metal mounted with lapis-lazuli, London, ca.1834-42, made by Widdowson and Veale

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

J.B. Waring, Masterpieces of Industrial Art and Sculpture at the International Exhibition, 1862, Vol 1, London, Day and Son, 1863. ill. pl 57. fig.1

Subjects depicted

Victory; Dragons; Lion (animal)

Categories

Arms & Armour; Metalwork; Ceremonial objects

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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