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Edward Lovatt




Location: UK
Joined: 01 Aug 2009

Posts: 15

PostPosted: Thu 01 Nov, 2012 7:28 am    Post subject: swords with inscriptions         Reply with quote

I would like to know if a sword with an inscription that names and dates a battle can be assumed to have been in said battle. ie a trophy or belong to a former family who had strong provenance that the sword was used in such a battle. My main reason for asking is I have come across a sword in Charles Whitelaws Scottish Arms Makers (plate 3 fig 4) that has the incription "culloden muir 16th of April 1746" inscribed on its pommel along with a scottish thistle emblem. This I belive is quite rare as most swords of this type (basket hilt 1700s) tend to have no markings beyond blade or hilt maker (with the exception of jacobite rhyming blades). The sword in question has the marks WA over S on the hilt and is belived to be those of walter allen of stering 1732 - ? The hilt is of convention type but of high quality . Just want to clarify likely provenace for the battle at culloden moore.


Many thanks Ed

with hope (spe)
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Doug Lester




Location: Decatur, IL
Joined: 12 Dec 2007

Posts: 164

PostPosted: Thu 01 Nov, 2012 9:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think that a safe attitude would be to assume nothing. There is a possibility that the sword was at the battle and inscribed as a memorial to it. It is also possible that the sword was not at the battle but was inscribed to commemorate it. It is also possible that the sword had nothing to do with the battle and was inscribed to supply a false provenance. If it were me, I would take it to a competent sword appraiser.

You have to be very careful with such purchases. Here in the US the market is flooded with counterfeit Civil War swords, especially Confederate Officers' swords, which are more rare and valuable than Union swords.
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Neil Melville




Location: Scotland
Joined: 27 Oct 2009

Posts: 181

PostPosted: Thu 01 Nov, 2012 10:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Ed,
I notice that Whitelaw does not comment on the authenticity or otherwise of the inscription, but since he was the first real expert on Scottish basket hilt swords I think we can accept the sword itself as genuine. So I would guess that the most likely explanation is that the sword was taken as a trophy by a Government officer and inscribed to commemorate the occasion. Since the sword is now in either Glasgow Museum or the National Museum in Edinburgh (the Milne-Davidson Collection was split between the two and I am not sure which one has this sword) the question of taking it to an 'appraiser' does not arise. Hope this helps.
Neil

N Melville
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Edward Lovatt




Location: UK
Joined: 01 Aug 2009

Posts: 15

PostPosted: Thu 01 Nov, 2012 12:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Many thanks for both replies,

Neil your comments have put me on the right track. It would be good to locate the museum the sword is in. as additional images beyond the whitelaw pic would help me. I hope to commission a reproduction of a possible sword, used at culloden by the fraser lovat clan, and this sword is the best candidate.so. far in a three year search.

If any other members could help on this It would be very much appreciated.

Ed

with hope (spe)
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