A good example of a British 1803 Pattern Infantry Officer’s Sword – Grenadier Officer. This is a classic British Napoleonic infantry officer’s sword that would have been carried by an officer in a Grenadier company. By 1800, this type of curved sabre had already been unofficially adopted by many light infantry officers, and it was only a matter of time before official recognition came in 1803. It is one of the most attractive of British pattern swords and has numerous subtle variations in design, most notably to the royal cypher on the knuckle-bow and the lions-head pommel. The knuckleguard can also feature either a bugle or flaming grenade above the royal crown, denoting use by both grenadiers and rifle companies. Its curved, cavalry type blade borrowed much from the eastern scimitar, and it quickly enjoyed quite a vogue amongst officers returning from the recent Egyptian campaigns. Although apparently unsuited to fighting on the ground (its curved blade would have been more effective when slashed from the saddle), style over substance seems to have won the day. Lieutenant William Smith of the 77th Foot (Middlesex Regiment) carried this pattern as he “hewed and slashed his way through the enemy” before succumbing to his many wounds at the Battle of Ciudad Rodrigo in the Peninsular War. The sword comprises a gilt brass lionshead hilt that is very finely detailed and the grip is covered with fishskin and copper twistwire – some losses. What makes this sword an attractive example is the numerous etching to the blade that includes the royal cypher of King George III, royal coat of arms, extensive foliage, classical figures, stands of trophies and winged victory. The sword is maker marked to Osborn and Gunby (Birmingham) at the blade forte. Blade with appropriate age wear. No scabbard. Blade length is 28 inches (33 inches overall).
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