Small Sword

Small Sword

c.1750-1760

after a design by Jean-Baptiste Oudry

(French, 1686-1755)

Steel, gilt and russeted, copper, wood

Overall: 105.4 cm (41 1/2 in.); Blade: 87.9 cm (34 5/8 in.); Guard: 7.9 cm (3 1/8 in.)

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John L. Severance 1916.1094

Fun Fact

Although fully functional, this sword was used more for show—a perfect accessory for a fashionable gentleman having his portrait painted.

Description

The hilt, pommel, and guard of this sword are richly chiseled in low relief against a stippled gold background with animals (dogs, a stag, ducks) that appear to be adapted from paintings by Jean-Baptiste Oudry (1686–1775). An elegant court sword such as this was an important accessory to a gentleman's attire, yet remained functional—it could be withdrawn for an impromptu duel.

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