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Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > Scottish Beaknose Basket Hilt with Quillons Reply to topic
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Kirk Lee Spencer




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PostPosted: Thu 08 Dec, 2005 8:00 pm    Post subject: Scottish Beaknose Basket Hilt with Quillons         Reply with quote

In "European Weapons and Armour," Oakeshott makes mention of :

"a hilt made in the same style as the "beaknose" hilt of the mid-seventeenth century, from a series of flat ribbon-like bars, which has a pair of long counter-curved quillons... This sword is in the National Museum of Antiquities, Edinburgh."

I was wondering if anyone has seen or has a picture of this sword. I found a beaknose sword in George C. Neumann's "Swords and Blades of the American Revolution" that has very small snouts that look like diminished quillons. I have another picture of what looks like a ribbon hilt (no beak) with large counter curved quillons (I wonder if this is the sword Oakeshott is referring to).

If you have any information on Ribbon hilts with quillons please post.

Thanks

ks



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From Neumann's "Swords and Blades of the American Revolution" Overall length 96cm, blade length 83, blade width 27mm, weight 907grams

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SBH.Mushroom.earlybasketWithQuil.jpg
Early Scottish Baskethilt with Quillons

Two swords
Lit in Edenís flame
One of iron and one of ink
To place within a bloody hand
One of God or one of man
Our souls to one of
Two eternities
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Thu 08 Dec, 2005 8:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This is likely it.

Sword, English or Scottish, late 16th century or early 17th century.



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caldwell.p185.fig89.jpg
National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland (LA[1966])
As published in Caldwell's, "Scottish Weapons & Fortifications 1100-1800"


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Kirk Lee Spencer




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PostPosted: Thu 08 Dec, 2005 9:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wow Nathan...

That was quick

Thanks

ks

Two swords
Lit in Edenís flame
One of iron and one of ink
To place within a bloody hand
One of God or one of man
Our souls to one of
Two eternities
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Adam Lloyd




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Posts: 91

PostPosted: Fri 09 Dec, 2005 2:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

thank you both for posting these excellent pics!
how do I find these books that you list?
do you have British Basket-Hilted Swords by Mazansky? i recently received it for a retirement gift and its excellent and very full of good information
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Thomas McDonald
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PostPosted: Sat 10 Dec, 2005 10:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

LA 148/1966- Basket-hilt, late sixteenth or early seventeenth century ; basket-hilt of early form, with long countercurved quillons and a broad blade with three short flutes, inscribed ANDREA FERARA. The arms of the guard fit into a groove around the middle of the pommel. The quillon terminals resemble in shape those to be found on certain swords known to be English. (N.M.A.S.)-- Text, Plate # 16, 'Scottish Swords & Dirks', by John Wallace (1970). {Mazansky A15} -- Photos 1 & 2: Ron Luciano, 2003 , 3. Thomas McDonald, 2005.

Mac



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Thomas Hoogendam




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PostPosted: Sat 10 Dec, 2005 10:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nathan Robinson wrote:
This is likely it.

Sword, English or Scottish, late 16th century or early 17th century.


Correct me if I'm wrong, but if it's a ribbon hilt, wouldn't it automaticly be a scottish hilt? It's been my understanding that the ribbon is a scots-only hilt.
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Thomas McDonald
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PostPosted: Sat 10 Dec, 2005 10:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here's a few more I snapped of that baskethilt. - Mac


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Thomas McDonald
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PostPosted: Sun 11 Dec, 2005 1:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A front view of LA 148 (Photo: A15 from Mazansky's book, page 54.)

Also from the same book, A13 (page 52) of a flat barred ribbon style hilt from a Phillip's auction (Lot # 51163, Nov. '83)
that has a forward quillon extension.

Mac



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Thomas McDonald
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PostPosted: Sun 11 Dec, 2005 5:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thomas Hoogendam wrote:
Nathan Robinson wrote:
This is likely it.

Sword, English or Scottish, late 16th century or early 17th century.


Correct me if I'm wrong, but if it's a ribbon hilt, wouldn't it automaticly be a scottish hilt? It's been my understanding that the ribbon is a scots-only hilt.


Hi Thomas

Sorry, I just noticed your question !

The fact that this hilt looks alot like the one in the portrait of Edward Lyttleton of Longford, 1568, is probably the reason some may have suspected an English origin to it .
Claude Blair, in his article "The Early Basket Hilt in Britian", wrote quite a bit about this sword/portrait and believes the hilt to be of Scottish make ! (no one say an Englishman can't own a Scottish hilted sword, or viceversa, 'eh)
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Thomas Hoogendam




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PostPosted: Mon 12 Dec, 2005 3:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thomas McDonald wrote:
Thomas Hoogendam wrote:
Nathan Robinson wrote:
This is likely it.

Sword, English or Scottish, late 16th century or early 17th century.


Correct me if I'm wrong, but if it's a ribbon hilt, wouldn't it automaticly be a scottish hilt? It's been my understanding that the ribbon is a scots-only hilt.


Hi Thomas

Sorry, I just noticed your question !

The fact that this hilt looks alot like the one in the portrait of Edward Lyttleton of Longford, 1568, is probably the reason some may have suspected an English origin to it .
Claude Blair, in his article "The Early Basket Hilt in Britian", wrote quite a bit about this sword/portrait and believes the hilt to be of Scottish make ! (no one say an Englishman can't own a Scottish hilted sword, or viceversa, 'eh)


It is ofcourse very possible for an Englishman to own a Scottish hilt. I just found it very confusing that a type of hilt that is sofar believed to be only scottish was titled as English OR Scottish hilt. But I can see how ownership could lead to a mistake in the actual origin of the sword. I suppose that some might find it odd that an Englishman would have a Scottish-made hilt, and would therefor automaticly asume it is an English-made hilt.
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Mon 12 Dec, 2005 3:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Many of these things were made and used on the border areas. They're often mated to imported German blades. They were used by people on both sides of the border. Given all this, I'm hesitant (and apparently authors are, too) to say that they're strictly Scottish.
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Thomas McDonald
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PostPosted: Mon 12 Dec, 2005 5:30 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thomas Hoogendam wrote:
It is of course very possible for an Englishman to own a Scottish hilt. I just found it very confusing that a type of hilt that is sofar believed to be only scottish was titled as English OR Scottish hilt. But I can see how ownership could lead to a mistake in the actual origin of the sword. I suppose that some might find it odd that an Englishman would have a Scottish-made hilt, and would therefor automaticly asume it is an English-made hilt.


* "The Edinburgh sword (LA 148) came originally from the collection -- or more probably the armoury -- of the Dukes of Abercorn, who belonged to the old Scottish family of Hamilton, which suggests that, if at least, may be Scottish. The Lyttleton sword and its accompanying dagger are, however, much more sophisticated products and the style of decoration is certainly not Scottish in inspiration. In fact, the damascening on the pommels of the two weapons, with its illustrations of hounds and Christmas-tree-like plants, is reminiscent of the work of the Spanish damascener Diego de Caias and his presumed pupil Damianus de Nerve or Nerven. The former is recorded as working for the French and English Courts respectively during the periods 1535-42 and 1542-c.1550.
It would be interesting to know if Edward Lyttleton ever visited Scotland, and had an opportunity to acquire the sword there, but unfortunately, I have been unable to discover any detailed information about his career. He was nicknamed 'Long Edward', was the second son of John Lyttleton of Frankley, Worcestershire (ob. 1532) and was probably born about 1522, and was buried at Albrighton on 28 September 1592."

-- Edited text from : The Early Basket-Hilt in Britian, by Claude Blair.
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Thomas McDonald
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PostPosted: Mon 12 Dec, 2005 8:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lyttleton Portrait, with hilt reconstruction, & LA148.
-Combined plates from: 'The Early Basket-Hilt in Britian', by Claude Blair.
* As pictured in David Caldwell's book "Scottish Weapons & Fortifications 1100-1800"

Mac



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Thomas McDonald
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PostPosted: Mon 12 Dec, 2005 9:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A couple more quillioned ribbon hilts .... Mac

1.) Hilt, Scottish, possibly mid-17th century. -Geoffrey Jenkinson Collection
1:43, Culloden The Swords & the Sorrows, National Trust For Scotland, 1996.

2-4.) Scottish, early 17th century, West Highland style.
Plate 52, b-c, 'European Swords & Daggers in the Tower of London. A.R. Dufty, 1974.



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Thomas Hoogendam




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PostPosted: Mon 12 Dec, 2005 9:56 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nathan Robinson wrote:
Many of these things were made and used on the border areas. They're often mated to imported German blades. They were used by people on both sides of the border. Given all this, I'm hesitant (and apparently authors are, too) to say that they're strictly Scottish.


I just checked in my copy of Mazansky's, which has a nice section with Ribbon-beaknose hilts, where he talks about these hilts coming mostly from the West-Highlands, and how they are most likely pure scottish. But then again, Mazansky's is about the only good book available in the Netherlands that goes deeper into the British baskethilts, so perhaps he's the only one that thinks so. Happy

And like I said earlier, it's not the question of ownership I'm doubting. Like you said yourself, they were USED by people on both sides of the border. I'm wondering about place of construction. Take for example a nihonto. A true nihonto is made in Japan. If it was ordered by an englishman, it wouldn't make it a sword of english origin. Who's to say he didn't order this sword from a well known smith in Scotland, who's work he thought was good? Although we're talking about different centuries know, I think that a Waller Allan hilt would be admired just as much back then as they are now. Just like we all have a certain craftsman who's work we appreciate more then others, so did the people back then have too.

So perhaps Lyttleton did indeed travel to Scotland himself and aquired the sword there. However, even if owned by an Englishman, the hilt itself would still be Scottish.
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Thomas McDonald
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PostPosted: Mon 12 Dec, 2005 10:43 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I shot this one, back in October, at the Hunterian Museum, Glasgow .

Mac

Photos: T. McDonald, 2005.

8. Basket-hilt sword
Said to have been used at Culloden. Scottish, Late 17th/Early 18th century.
* The blade is stamped with the mark(s) of Johannes Wundes, Solingen, 1560-1610 - Mac



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Last edited by Thomas McDonald on Mon 12 Dec, 2005 2:46 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Henrik Bjoern Boegh




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PostPosted: Mon 12 Dec, 2005 12:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello all!
Excelent thread, and excellent photos!

I don't have Wallaces' book at hand, so I'm not sure of this, but doesn't he mention also that the ribbon hilts generally were of West Highland make???

Cheers,
Henrik

Constant and true.
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Thomas McDonald
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PostPosted: Mon 12 Dec, 2005 6:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Basket-hilt, c. 1600 (LA 119)
-Plate 15. John Wallace, 'Scottish Swords & Dirks', 1970.

* I took a few good shots of this one, at the Culloden Visitors Center, and noticed that this photo in Wallace's book has air-brushed out part of the tang (sum 3/8") that sticks out beyond the capstan nut !

- Mac



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E.B. Erickson
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PostPosted: Mon 12 Dec, 2005 8:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here's a couple more for the thread.

The left hand hilt has had its quillons removed, but you can see that it's a ribbonhilt version of the SW11 pattern. Interesting that this one has some engraving as well.

The one on the right is another example of the "short quillon" ribbon; also Sw11 pattern.

As to nationality, I think that the earlier, long quillon versions are English. When the Scots adopted the ribbon construction is a good question. Certainly by the middle of the 1600s (?) there's portrait evidence of the Scottish ribbonhilt, but these don't show the earlier short quillon types. The Tower has one of these with a curved blade engraved "Edwardus Prinz Anglie" which I suppose you wouldn't expect to see on a Scottish weapon. Ribbonhilts, Sw11s, and thin bar English hilts all show up on English colonial sites in America from the first part of the 1600s, which raises the possibility that these are all English in origin, and not Scottish. But this is only a hypothesis, and it doesn't automatically exclude the possibility that the short quillon ribbons are Scottish in origin.

I guess that last paragraph muddled things nicely!

--ElJay



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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Mon 12 Dec, 2005 8:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Based on what I've read, which admittedly generally come in small passages in multiple places, I have the same opinion, ElJay.
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