~ Rare 1803 Pattern Flank Infantry Officer’s Blue & Gilt Sabre And Scabbard ~
This is a rather rare piece, this pattern was used for only 19 years before being replaced in 1822 due to standardisation of army swords.
Few of the 1803 pattern swords look the same as each officer was allowed to commission their sabre to their own specifications obeying only general guidelines regarding the blade length and shape.
Flank officers worked on the sides of the main column with the grenadiers, light infantry or rifles. In order to maintain mobility they preferred the shorter sabre.
The 1803 pattern replaced the 1780s Infantry Officer’s Spadroon sword which was considered inadequate for the flank companies who more often experienced hand-to-hand encounters.
This company Officer’s sabre has the George III Royal Cypher and crown on the gilded brass basket and a lions head pommel.
The basket is fitted with a loose ring for hanging the sword knot.
The upper half of the blade is blued and decorated with gilt areas including the King’s cipher beneath the crown on one side and a stand of arm on the other.
The grip is made of wired black ray skin.
The sword comes with its brass scabbard fitted with two suspension rings.
There are no manufacturers marks.
~ Dimensions ~
The blade length is approx. 29 inches (73.7 cm) and the overall length is approx. 34 inches (86.4 cm).
The scabbard length is approx. 30 inches (76.2 cm).
The set weighs 1.5 kg.
~ Condition ~
The blade is in good condition for its age and use. It preserves most of its bluing and its engravings are still visible, as clearly shown in the images.
There is some minor amount of surface rust, age darkening and a few minor nicks to the edge.
The basket has lost most of it gilt. The grips remain undamaged and well preserved.
The brass scabbard is in good order, no major dents or splits. The sabre draws smoothly from it.
~ Postage ~
UK postage is £22 or the sword can be collected from our shop in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.
~ The 1803 Pattern ~
By the late 1790’s curved bladed infantry sabres started appearing, in many shapes and sizes. In 1803 the Horse Guards took steps to standardize this inconsistency. Britain was at war with France, so many manufacturers were contracted with rush orders, producing countless variations of the 1803 Pattern Infantry Officer’s Sword (1803P), with blades between 31 to 32 inches (785 to 810 mm), and wealthy officers had them modified. All officer’s swords of the era could be as ornate as the owner could afford. Most had the plain effective curved blade of a light cavalry sabre, without engraving, and well fullered, while others were ridiculously curved, useless, crafted flat, then etched and decorated in vibrant blue and gold gilt. Likely many officers possessed a couple plain sabres for combat, and a decorated show-piece for parades. Grips were usually fashioned with shagreen or tanned leather over wood, bound with twisted steel wire, but ivory, bone and polished wood were also made. The scabbards were generally leather with decorative hardware, and often with hanging rings and a frog fitting, so it could be worn suspended from a waist or shoulder belt. In the 1822 dress regulations mandated the introduction of a new sword, to replace the 1803 flank officer’s sabre and the spadroons.