Sword thumbnail 1
Sword thumbnail 2
+9
images
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Jewellery, Rooms 91 to 93 mezzanine, The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery

This object consists of 3 parts, some of which may be located elsewhere.

Sword


From around 1640, light swords with short, flexible, pointed blades appeared in response to new fencing techniques that emphasised thrusting at speed. They were worn increasingly with civilian clothes as ‘small swords’, offering a means of self-defence but largely denoting status for the well-dressed gentleman.

Small swords were items of male jewellery. By the 1750s, their elaborate gold and silver hilts, mounted with precious stones and fine enamelling, were the products of the goldsmith and jeweller rather than the swordsmith. They made fitting rewards for distinguished military and naval service. With their blades tucked away inside scabbards, it was their ostentatious and expensive hilts that carried their thrust.

This sword is decorated with the arms of James Hartley (1745-99) and the arms of The East India Company and is inscribed: 'Presented to Lt. Colonel James Hartley in Testimony of his brave & gallant Conduct by The Honble East India Company 1779'

James Hartley received this sword after saving the British army from destruction in India during the Mahratta Wars. The sword cost £105 and James Morisset, one of London's most celebrated makers of enamelled gold dress-swords and boxes, was commissioned to produce it. Morisset's swords were influential. With its urn-shaped pommel, this is one of the first to be produced in the Robert Adam style.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 3 parts.
(Some alternative part names are also shown below)
  • Sword
  • Small Sword
  • Scabbard
  • Case
Brief Description
Presentation small sword and scabbard with gold and enamelled hilt and mounts, by James Morriset, London, 1781-82
Physical Description
Presentation small sword with sheath and case. The gold hilt is enriched with transluscent enamels by James Morisset of London, the shell guard is inscribed 'Presented to Lt. Colonel James Hartley in testimony of his brave & gallant conduct by the Honble East India Company 1779'. The decoration on the hilt includes the arms of Lt. Col. Hartley and of the East India Company
Dimensions
  • Length: 105cm
  • Width: 10cm
  • Depth: 7.3cm
Object history
This sword is decorated with the arms of James Hartley (1745-99) and the arms of The East India Company and is inscribed: 'Presented to Lt. Colonel James Hartley in Testimony of his brave & gallant Conduct by The Honble East India Company 1779'.



From the Carrington-Pierce Collection.



Historical significance: Presented to Lieutenant Colonel James Hartley by the Honourable East India Company for saving the army from annihilation during the First Maratha War (1775-82).
Historical context
From around 1640, light swords with short, flexible, pointed blades appeared in response to new fencing techniques that emphasised thrusting at speed. They were worn increasingly with civilian clothes as ‘small swords’, offering a means of self-defence but largely denoting status for the well-dressed gentleman.



Small swords were items of male jewellery. By the 1750s, their elaborate gold and silver hilts, mounted with precious stones and fine enamelling, were the products of the goldsmith and jeweller rather than the swordsmith. They made fitting rewards for distinguished military and naval service. With their blades tucked away inside scabbards, it was their ostentatious and expensive hilts that carried their thrust.



James Hartley received this sword after saving the British army from destruction in India during the Mahratta Wars. The sword cost £105 and James Morisset, one of London's most celebrated makers of enamelled gold dress-swords and boxes, was commissioned to produce it. Morisset's swords were influential. With its urn-shaped pommel, this is one of the first to be produced in the Robert Adam style.
Summary
From around 1640, light swords with short, flexible, pointed blades appeared in response to new fencing techniques that emphasised thrusting at speed. They were worn increasingly with civilian clothes as ‘small swords’, offering a means of self-defence but largely denoting status for the well-dressed gentleman.



Small swords were items of male jewellery. By the 1750s, their elaborate gold and silver hilts, mounted with precious stones and fine enamelling, were the products of the goldsmith and jeweller rather than the swordsmith. They made fitting rewards for distinguished military and naval service. With their blades tucked away inside scabbards, it was their ostentatious and expensive hilts that carried their thrust.



This sword is decorated with the arms of James Hartley (1745-99) and the arms of The East India Company and is inscribed: 'Presented to Lt. Colonel James Hartley in Testimony of his brave & gallant Conduct by The Honble East India Company 1779'



James Hartley received this sword after saving the British army from destruction in India during the Mahratta Wars. The sword cost £105 and James Morisset, one of London's most celebrated makers of enamelled gold dress-swords and boxes, was commissioned to produce it. Morisset's swords were influential. With its urn-shaped pommel, this is one of the first to be produced in the Robert Adam style.
Bibliographic References
  • Hayward, J.F. Swords and Daggers. London: HMSO, 1963
  • North, Anthony, An Introduction to European Swords, Victoria and Albert Museum, London 1982, p. 40, No. 82
Collection
Accession Number
M.39:1 to 3-1960

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record createdMarch 25, 2004
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