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Wilkinson Sword Patterns and Blade Rubs - Including Index and Details, 1844-1954
by Robert Wilkinson-Latham
* RECOMMENDED *
Wilkinson Sword Patterns and Blade Rubs - Including Index and Details, 1844-1954 follows the design scheme of other books by Pooley Publishing; paperback format, black and white images, and a cover with a relevant image (in this case, the etching studio at Wilkinson) and the Pooley Sword logo in the background.
The first portion of the book is basically an annotated scrapbook of Wilkinson designs including etchings, special patterns (both proposed and realized), and other design sketches. The general format is that the left-hand page is illustrated with an image or several images, and the right-hand has notes and commentary on the images. This format works quite well and was very easy to follow. This section of the book gives the reader exlcusive information and images, and leaves one with the sense that he/she has insider information that will come in handy someday while browsing eBay or an antique arms fair. This section is also tremendous fun for anyone interested in the evolution of Victorian officers' swords, design minutiae, and the individual tastes of officers of both British and Indian armies. I imagine there will be more to see upon subsequent readings!
The next portion is an index of specific design orders including special patterns, presentation swords, special equipment (remember that Wilkinson was an outfitter and could provide an officer's entire kit), etc., along with the year purchased and sometimes the name of the buyer. This section could be immensely useful for the collector who is researching his/her presentation sword--it may just be featured in the index.
Finally, there is a short section on the head etchers at Wilkinson through the years. It is nice to read a bit about some of the artists behind the designs we see on our swords.
I understand that it was quite challenging to reproduce many of the images due to their condition, and the effort put into replicating the pages and scraps from the design books should be applauded. I would love to see these images in full color, but I imagine that such an undertaking could be cost prohibitive--if not for the publisher, than perhaps for the average reader. I would rather have the images in black and white than not have them at all!
Wilkinson Sword Patterns and Blade Rubs - Including Index and Details, 1844-1954 was truly a pleasure to read, and I am sure I will return to it frequently as a reference and for the pure enjoyment I took from viewing the designs. I highly recommend it to collectors of British military swords of the Victorian era and later and to anyone interested in sword design and decoration.
Updated Jan 9, 2009 :: 1 of 1 members found this review helpful