British P1796 Infantry Officer's Sword

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British P1796 Infantry officer's sword with German (Solingen) made spadroon blade.

This is a nice example of a British sword that saw service throughout the Napoleonic wars. The P1796 is an elegant sword but was unpopular with officers because both the blade and hilt were too light for combat use. 

The 83 cm single edged spadroon blade has a broad fuller on both sides and a flat spine that terminates in a spear point. The spine has a false upper edge for the last 18 cm. The blade's edge has been service sharpened.

The blade is engraved on one side with floral designs and King George's Royal cypher below a crown. The obverse of the blade is engraved with trophies of war, the Royal coat of arms and motto and two crescent moons. The ricasso on both sides bears a diagonal striped pattern and the spine is engraved with the word Solingen.

This sword has the early pattern fixed double shell guard. Later models adopted a folding guard to make wearing it more comfortable and to reduce wear to the officer's uniform. The "D" shape knuckle bow and pommel are decorated with a foliate design, the pommel being engraved with oak leaves and acorns on shields. The gilded brass hilt and guard are in good condition and will polish nicely if desired. The blade is firm in the hilt. There is some play in the guard, which is usual for this pattern as the guard is separate to the hilt and knuckle bow.

The silver wrap on the hilt looks to have been replaced, but clearly, this was done a very long time ago as evidenced by the wear and tarnish.

Over all this sword is in good condition. The blade is bright with a nice patina and is free of rust with only very small patches of minor pitting. The engraving is clear with traces of the original gilding.

This is a nice example of an early 1796 pattern officer's sword.