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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Thu 01 Apr, 2010 12:01 pm    Post subject: Single-edged British basket-hilted swords         Reply with quote

I'm looking for historical examples of single-edged British basket-hilted swords. (backswords)

Does anyone have full-length photos showing the entire sword with blades of this type? I'm looking for historical antiques, not reproductions. I'm particularly interested in the first example which has two fullers.

I haven't looked at all (no searching, no looking in books, nothing) and am posting here to the community first. Bad form, but I'm at work and am hoping to reach out and save me the legwork. Happy





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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Thu 01 Apr, 2010 1:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A few from RA-Leeds:


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Timo Nieminen




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PostPosted: Thu 01 Apr, 2010 1:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The are some in H. J. S. Withers, The illustrated encyclopedia of swords and sabres, Annes,2008. The examples are, I think, from the Royal Armouries.

A couple in (no author/editor) Knives and swords: a visual history, DK, 2010. Again, the Royal Armouries is their main source (as it says on the cover, "Featuring material from Weapon, which was DK and heavily RA). Not as many, and the full-length photos are small.

Martyn doesn't have full-length shots.

Haven't looked elsewhere.
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Thom R.




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PostPosted: Thu 01 Apr, 2010 1:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sean beat me to it on the RA sword

Here are some 18th c British Baskethilted backswords in full length - I am assuming by British you mean not Scottish?



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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Thu 01 Apr, 2010 2:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks so far everybody! Great Stuff....

To clarify, I mean "non-continental" when I said "British".

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Jonathan Hopkins




PostPosted: Thu 01 Apr, 2010 2:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Like Timo, I recommend HJS Withers' Illustrated Encyclopedia of Swords and Sabres, as well as George Neumann's Swords and Blades of the American Revolution and Richard Bezdek's Swords and Sword Makers of England and Scotland. I will try to take some halfway decent photos of the blade on my c.1740-50 basket hilted backsword.
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Steve Grisetti




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PostPosted: Thu 01 Apr, 2010 4:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thom R. wrote:
.... I am assuming by British you mean not Scottish?


Actually, Britain or Great Britain is an island. The political regions of Britain are Wales, Scotland and England

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Jack W. Englund




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PostPosted: Thu 01 Apr, 2010 4:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Harvey J.S Withers - " The Scottish Sword 1600 1945" - Has a Number of Pictures of Brit, Lowland, etc "Baskets. ( both Broad Sword & Back Sword.) Showing full Blades.

Jack
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Roger Hooper




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PostPosted: Thu 01 Apr, 2010 4:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm not sure if this is a backsword, but it is an English basket.


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William Goodwin




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PostPosted: Fri 02 Apr, 2010 12:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

from our trip to the Baltimore Antique Arms Show a couple week-ends ago...

friend Will G. with a single edge basket-hilt


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Neal Matheson




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PostPosted: Fri 02 Apr, 2010 12:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

from my research trip to the armouries (leeds)

An incredible sword

not the best of images I didn't get too many with the whole sword or without peoples faces in them.


from the galleries


hope they help
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Kjell Magnusson




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PostPosted: Fri 02 Apr, 2010 2:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There's a pair of them to be seen over at http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=11394
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Michael Harley




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PostPosted: Sat 03 Apr, 2010 5:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This one from the latest Hermann Historica catalouge:

"An early English basket-hilted sword,

circa 1590/1600. Single-edged blade with a double-edged point, double fullers close to the spine, inscribed with "FERARA", the ricassso bears a bladesmith's mark (circle with rays). Iron basket hilt, spherical pommel, blackened wooden grip with helical iron wire winding. Patinated surface, pitted. Blade length 90 cm, total length 103 cm"



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Jack W. Englund




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PostPosted: Sat 03 Apr, 2010 8:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael Harley wrote:
This one from the latest Hermann Historica catalouge:

"An early English basket-hilted sword,

circa 1590/1600. Single-edged blade with a double-edged point, double fullers close to the spine, inscribed with "FERARA", the ricassso bears a bladesmith's mark (circle with rays). Iron basket hilt, spherical pommel, blackened wooden grip with helical iron wire winding. Patinated surface, pitted. Blade length 90 cm, total length 103 cm"


Unless my "old eyes" are "deceiving" me, that Blade was well used ( looks to have been "sharpened a few times )

Jack
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Thom R.




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PostPosted: Sat 03 Apr, 2010 11:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Steve thanks for the geopolitical history lesson WTF?!

Nathan - the reason why I asked is I have this suspicion that ElJay is about to make you another beautiful hilt based on early 17th c English baskethilts like the RA sword you posted. But I am still unsure as to whether you are asking for swords with hilts made in GB or swords with hilts and blades both made in GB. Most of the blades posted so far are hilts made in England or Scotland on blades imported from the continent.

We have many threads on Scottish baskethilted swords here at mA, but unfortunately a lot of the pics are from Tom MacDonald and those links are now broken. Those of us with an interest in those swords should do so thread necromancy and get some more photos of Scottish baskethilts posted.

Full length shots in books are actually rare, Wallace even doesn't show the entire sword. There are a bunch of full length shots of 18th c baskethilts in Neumann (which is a big reason why Swords and Blades of the American Revolution is so valuable), and a few in Bezdek. There are full length shots of swords in the book Swords and the Sorrows. But they are generally of a later period than the RA sword you posted.

If you are interested in English made blades of the 17th c, then its the blades made at Hounslow we are primarily talking about. Bezdek among others, has a good chapter on the history of sword making at Hounslow. Prior to Hounslow most blades were imported. For example, Bezdek mentions the records of Benjamin Stone, a sword cutler in England, and founder of the Cutler's Company at Hounslow in the early 17th c. Prior to Hounslow, to fill an order for swords for Buckingham's expedition to La Rochelle, he used 350 blades from Venice and 450 blades from Solingen. His earlier records show that he used blades imported from Milan, Venice, Toledo, Solingen, Prussia and Amsterdam.

As for blade type, many of the backswords I have seen from the 17th c are simple wedge cross sections with single, double or even treble narrow fullers. Short ricassos, sometimes the fullers extend into the ricasso, sometimes not. Sharpened false edges. However there is a fair amount of variety. Stones patented blade in the early days of Hounslow had a broad central fuller and was used on a number of Mortuary hilted swords in the mid 17th century. In the 18th c, much more complicated backsword geometries become more common, with various combinations of narrow fullers and a broad central fuller. Also Birmingham becomes a more important place for sword manufacturing in the 18th c.
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Jonathan Hopkins




PostPosted: Sat 03 Apr, 2010 12:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here is my English basket hilt c.1740-50 with triple fullered Andre Ferara blade.


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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Sat 24 Apr, 2010 1:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you again to all those who have shared examples in this topic.

Here are two additional ones.



Backsword, hilt of pierced iron, made by a member of the Allen family of Stirling, circa 1730
The Trustees of the Victoria and Albert Museum





Backsword, circa 1730, pierced iron hilt, signed Thomas Gemmill of Glasgow. The blade reads Pro Deo Fide et Patria
The Trustees of the Victoria and Albert Museum

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