1831P Victorian Scottish Black Watch Officer's
Basket Hilt, sold
In aged condition, the blade mostly excellent except for some
battle nicks, this is the 1831 Pattern 42nd Regiment of Foot (Royal
Highlanders, Black Watch) of one of its most important officers.
This is the 1831P sword of Edward George Grogan, one of the Black
Watch's most important officers. He used it between the 24th July
1852 when he was commissioned as an Ensign (second lieutenant) in
the Black Watch, and the 4th December 1885 at which date he gained
the rank of Major in the same regiment and when he bought an 1857P
Scottish field officer's sword, which we also acquired (see
Grogan's 1857P). This sword was carried and used by him in various
engagements including at Ashantee in 1874 (a battle honour for the
42nd Royal Highlanders) where he was wounded, and where it is believed
the nicks to the blade occurred.
Edward George Grogan went on to command the 1st Battalion of the
Black Watch (as a lieutenant colonel) in the Boer War, eventually
attained the rank of colonel, was the father of Brigadier General
George William St George Grogan VC CB CMG DSO, who won his Victoria
Cross during World War 1.
The blade is marked one side to the 42nd Royal Highlanders, as
the Black Watch was then known, and the other side with the Grogan
family crest and motto "honor et virtus " and the initials
"E E Y"; we do not know who "E E Y" was but
obviously was the family friend or possibly member who bought this
sword for Edward George Grogan's commissioning in 1852, as was common.
Of course, the blade is also etched with the Egyptian Sphinx and
battle honours for the 42nd Regiment of Foot.
The sword is clearly mid 19th Century given the rounded bars of
the hilt. The hilt itself is at an angle; this is clearly a bespoke
and original feature, not some later damage, to make the sword more
effective at yielding and thrusting, which standard straight up
basket hilts were notoriously bad at. We must say, the angular hilt
does allow the sword to be wielded much more effectively and held
almost like a cavalry sword for thrusting.
The 32 inch Claymore blade is in very good condition indeed, the
etching very crisp, except for the 4 nicks to the forward edge of
the blade, and the ricasso area which has rusted while in the scabbard.
The blade bears the tri-feathers of the Prince of Wales plus the
exclusive maker's name "C Smith & Son 5 New Burlington
London", who had a warrant for the then Prince of Wales, the
future King Edward 7th.
Like the ricasso, the hilt and scabbard has suffered in poor storage
conditions the test of time, though they are sound. The hilt has
a deep patina (but no pitting), the wooden ferules used to achieve
a solid grip within the angular hilt have mostly perished, the fishskin
grip is actually quite good, but with missing small patches, the
twisted grip wire bindings are mostly there (the upper section held
with some later wire), incredibly the crimson with royal blue edged
leather insert is still there, very aged but lovely to have. The
enormous period pommel is bespoke to allow the angular hilt. The
blade is firm in the hilt, but the grip wobbles a little through
the perishing of the ferrules. The steel scabbard has lost is ball
chape at the end and is well aged with multiple dings, no doubt
some period. The original scabbard interior wooden lining slats
are long perished, so the sword is loose in the scabbard. But oh
well, you can hold this mighty sword of one of the Black Watch's
most important officers and imagine that day at Ashantee in 1874.
Because of the original owner with firm provenance, this sword
is a solid and most evocative investment. Further / full sized images
available upon request. Please quote item number D62 (754)