Apr 17, 2020

Court Sword

Court Sword

c. 1790

Steel; silver hilt, polished and faceted; blade partially blued and gilded

Overall: 99.7 cm (39 1/4 in.); Blade: 82.9 cm (32 5/8 in.); Guard: 8.3 cm (3 1/4 in.)

Weight: 440 g (15.52 oz.)

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John L. Severance 1916.1095

Did you know?

The blue color on the blade was achieved by adding heat to the metal.


The hilt of this sword is finely finished with cut or faceted steel burnished to resemble cut stones. The neoclassical urn shape of the pommel was especially fashionable in England after 1780 up to the turn of the century. The upper portion of this blade is blued and gilded to provide a feel of great luxury. By the end of the 1700s, civilians no longer regularly wore swords nor used them as weapons. The court sword (or "small" sword as it was known in England) had become a piece of costume jewelry to be worn only with court dress or by military officers in dress uniform. The hilt and often the upper part of the blade became lavishly decorated as is illustrated by this example.

See also

Contact us

The information about this object, including provenance, may not be currently accurate. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@clevelandart.org.

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

All images and data available through Open Access can be downloaded for free. For images not available through Open Access, a detail image, or any image with a color bar, request a digital file from Image Services.