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Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > Basket hilted broadsword and Dirk of Culloden period Reply to topic
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Peter Lyon
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Location: New Zealand
Joined: 20 Nov 2006
Reading list: 39 books

Posts: 235

PostPosted: Wed 24 Jun, 2020 10:46 pm    Post subject: Basket hilted broadsword and Dirk of Culloden period         Reply with quote

Hi everybody, I have been approached to do an interesting commission (via Weta Workshop) for the actor Graham McTavish, and would like some help from those who know Scottish weaponry better than I do.

He is wanting a historical type of basket hilted broadsword (or possibly a backsword) and a matching dirk. To be historically accurate (with some personalised touches), sharp, correctly weighted and balanced, and with an aged finish. McTavishes fought at Culloden in 1746, so he wants something that could have been used by a McTavish at Culloden. Since these are to have some aging, I am thinking of sword and dirk that fit the style of 1680-1720, and would already have had some "life" by 1746. Also, since the McTavishes came from Argyle, they might have bought swords from makers in Glasgow; I know there were styles and "schools" in different manufacturing centers, which could help pin down the look for this commission.

Ideally, there might be extant swords and dirks that were captured from, or surrendered by, McTavishes at or after Culloden in collections somewhere. Any examples out there?

I have Neumann's "Swords and Blades of the American Revolution" to give me a start on general designs. Looking at books available there are several that could be useful, but I would appreciate hearing from people who have copies:

Mazanskey, British Basket-hilted Swords: A Typology of Basket-type Sword Hilts - very expensive, though I can download a pdf of it easily enough.

Martyn, The British Cavalry Sword from 1600.

Withers, Scottish Basket-hilted Swords of the 17th and 18th Century.

Withers, The Scottish Sword 1600-1945: An Illustrated History.

Any museums or particular people I should be talking to? I'm contacting Bob Savage at RA Leeds to see if can help, but other leads would be good too.

Still hammering away
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Norman McCormick





Joined: 17 Jan 2007

Posts: 120

PostPosted: Thu 25 Jun, 2020 5:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Peter,
I would also contact the Arms and Armour curator at Kelvingrove Museum in Glasgow. They have a number of period basket hilts and dirks on display and many more in storage. I have always found them to be helpful.
Regards,
Norman.
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Chad Arnow
myArmoury Team


myArmoury Team

PostPosted: Thu 25 Jun, 2020 7:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter,
I'd recommend the book "Culloden: The Swords and the Sorrows." It's a catalogue of an exhibition commemorating Culloden and includes swords, dirks, and targes. I scanned through quickly and didn't see any listed as being linked to a McTavish, but it's a good book to check out.

Happy

ChadA

http://chadarnow.com/
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Mike O'Hara




Location: New Zealand
Joined: 10 Jul 2010
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Posts: 116

PostPosted: Thu 25 Jun, 2020 1:24 pm    Post subject: Scots swords         Reply with quote

Hi Peter

I have Withers' books and John Wallace Scottish Swords and Dirks plus a couple of others that might be useful.

Happy to loan them to you and just up the road as well!

Regards

mike

MIke O'Hara
Location: Plimmerton, New Zealand
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David Wilson




Location: In a van down by the river
Joined: 23 Aug 2003

Posts: 798

PostPosted: Thu 25 Jun, 2020 2:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I second Culloden: The Swords and the Sorrows. The other books previously mentioned are also great. There are several collections in the UK and North America that may have resources available as well, though I couldn't begin to tell you which ones off hand.

You might also consider dropping Vince Evans a line, since he's done a lot of first-hand research in several museums and collections in the UK and could steer you toward some great sources of information.

David K. Wilson, Jr.
Laird of Glencoe

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Mike O'Hara




Location: New Zealand
Joined: 10 Jul 2010
Likes: 1 page

Posts: 116

PostPosted: Thu 25 Jun, 2020 5:21 pm    Post subject: Scots swords         Reply with quote

Hi Peter

I have Withers' books and John Wallace Scottish Swords and Dirks plus a couple of others that might be useful.

Happy to loan them to you and just up the road as well!

Regards

mike

MIke O'Hara
Location: Plimmerton, New Zealand
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Jesse Belsky
Industry Professional



Location: Durham, NC
Joined: 12 Aug 2007

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 176

PostPosted: Thu 25 Jun, 2020 7:30 pm    Post subject: McTavish Basket         Reply with quote

Hey Peter, you may have already come across this, but it sold at auction recently.

https://bid.antonycribb.com/m/lot-details/index/catalog/18/lot/6092?uact=2&aid=18&lid=6141&current_page=23

The language they are using to describe it seems suspiciously vague on the dating front. It doesn't look "period" to me, having spent a good bit of time staring at Scottish basket hilts in the last year or so as I got into building them, but I'm not any kind of expert. If it is really "Battle of Culloden period", it's an outlier both structurally and aesthetically, but there is a ton of variation outside the more expected styles....
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Peter Lyon
Industry Professional



Location: New Zealand
Joined: 20 Nov 2006
Reading list: 39 books

Posts: 235

PostPosted: Thu 25 Jun, 2020 11:19 pm    Post subject: Re: Scots swords         Reply with quote

Mike O'Hara wrote:
Hi Peter

I have Withers' books and John Wallace Scottish Swords and Dirks plus a couple of others that might be useful.

Happy to loan them to you and just up the road as well!

Regards

mike


Thanks for the offer Mike, I will take you up on that. I've replied to your message.

Still hammering away
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