Lot 255: Presentation sword, belt and Freedom scroll The City of London to Sir David Milne 1816,
Fine AntiquesPlatinum House
March 26, 2003
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Presentation sword, belt and Freedom scroll
The City of London to Sir David Milne 1816,
the sword mounted in ormolu, the grip probably in gold, a straight-bladed sword of spadroon type in an ormolu-mounted scabbard with dark blue velvet panels; the pommel is formed as a bearded and crowned head, probably intended to represent Neptune or Poseidon; the knucklebow is formed of a cable and blocks and incorporates an oval decorated with the sword and mace of the City, in Saltire; the straight quillon is formed as a fasces, the stepped langets decorated with mythical sea creatures and terminating in acanthus leaf and pineapple finials; the polished grip bears, in relief, the Arms of the City of London and those of Sir David Milne, and having pendant from them the badges of the KCB and the Dutch Royal Military Order of William; above and below the Arms are naval trophies and crowns; the grip ferrules are formed of oak-leaves and acorns; the straight, 31" (79cm) blade is blued and gilded for its entire length, the decoration incorporating the Arms of the City, female figures allegorical of Fame and of the City, trophies of arms and the presentation inscription WOOD, MAYOR. A COMMON COUNCIL HOLDEN IN THE CHAMBER OF THE GUILDHALL OF THE CITY OF LONDON ON THURSDAY THE 26TH DAY OF SEPR.1816. RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY, THAT THE FREEDOM OF THIS CITY WITH A SWORD OF THE VALUE OF ONE HUNDRED GUINEAS BE PRESENTED TO REAR ADMIRAL SIR DAVID MILNE, KNIGHT COMMANDER OF THE MOST HONOURABLE ORDER OF THE BATH, IN TESTIMONY OF THE ESTEEM & GRATITUDE OF THIS COURT FOR THE ZEAL BRAVERY & TALENT DISPLAY'D BY HIM IN THE VICTORIOUS ATTACK UPON ALGIERS BY THE FLEET UNDER THE COMMD. OF ADML. LORD VISCT. EXMOUTH, ON THE 27TH OF AUGUST LAST. WOODTHORPE;
the scabbard is of wood, sheathed in ormolu, with dark blue velvet in three openwork panels on either side, each panel being partially filled with ormolu trophies of arms, the upper part of the scabbard is struck on either side with two ovals enclosing a depiction of Hercules defeating the Lernaean Hydra, each oval being surmounted by a scroll bearing the name IMPREGNABLE and with naval trophies above and below, the middle part of the scabbard is struck on either side with ovals enclosing the figure of Victory and with naval trophies above and below, the lower part of the scabbard is struck on either side with naval trophies and the sword and mace of the City, in Saltire within an oval wreath, engraved into the top rear of the scabbard, at its throat, a panel enclosing the retailer's name and address: R. TEED / Drefs Sword Maker / to the PATRIOTIC FUND / Lancaster Court / STRAND LONDON; the scabbard's suspension rings are formed as sea serpents and the scabbard terminates in a sphere enclosed by acanthus leaves (note the knucklebow has a small section detached from its upper end);
belt of dark blue leather, 1 ¼" (3.2cm) wide, decorated with a central band of dark blue velvet 1" (2.3cm) wide bordered with a line of gold wire and sequins and embroidered with oak-leaves and acorns in gold wire; two slings of similar form with (detached) ormolu buckles and swivels; the belt's clasp terminals and sling buckles formed in ormolu as lions' masks, the ormolu clasp in the form of an interlaced serpent.
Scroll conferring Freedom of the City of London,60cm x 55cm, in handwritten and illuminated vellum; on a central panel, the inscription taken from the Minutes and Reports of the Common Council for 26th September 1816 - the same inscription as appears on the blade of the presentation sword; the inscription bears the names of Henry Woodthorpe, Junior, Principal Clerk to the Town Clerk, and of "J Huxley Sculpt", the border surrounding the panel is illuminated in gold and colours with depictions of the Arms of the City, of the Lord Mayor Matthew Wood, of the City Chamberlain Richard Clark and of Sir David Milne, as well as with the badge of a KCB, a figure of Fame, a rod of Aesculapius, the City Mace and naval trophies.
Estimate £ 25,000-30,000
Milne's Arms in this instance are those granted to him following his knighthood and recorded in the London Gazette 30th August 1817 (pp 1854-55); Milne was created a Knight Commander of the Dutch Royal Military Order of William in October 1816.
The procedure for awarding Sir David Milne the Freedom of the City and the sword began officially on 26th September 1816, when the Common Council met and unanimously decided to reward both Milne and Lord Exmouth with swords and Freedoms (Exmouth's sword, currently in the Royal Naval Museum, Portsmouth, was to be to the value of 200 guineas). The swords and Freedoms were presented to both men on 31st January 1817, on which occasion they were admitted to the livery of the Worshipful Company of Ironmongers. On 23rd January 1817, it was ordered "That Mr Chamberlain do pay unto Mr Richard Teed the Sum of One Hundred and Five Pounds for his Bill, for providing a rich chased Sword for Sir David Milne, in pursuance of the order of the 26th day of September last". Later in 1817, he having died in 1816, Teed's estate was paid, as was "...James Boudon Clerk of the Chamber...for designing Writing & Emblazoning the honorary Freedoms to Admiral Lord Viscount Exmouth and Rear Admiral Sir David Milne...": Boudon received £110 and 8 shillings for his work.
Richard Teed (1756-1816) was responsible for the manufacture and supply of the swords presented by the Patriotic Fund to deserving sailors and soldiers during the Napoleonic Wars, 1803-14. This accounts for a similarity of reference between the decoration of the Milne sword and that of the different grades of swords presented by the Patriotic Fund: for example, the langets and quillon, the decoration of the scabbard and the style of belt.
Only two other swords similar to that presented to Milne are known, one of which is the gold-mounted sword awarded by the City to Vice-Admiral Sir John Duckworth KB in 1806 and now in the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich. The Duckworth sword, of 200 guineas' value, is similarly mounted to the Milne sword but, while its mounts were made by Teed, the sword was supplied by the retailer Robert Ritherdon. The other sword, also in the National Maritime Museum, is a gilt-mounted one presented to Sir Thomas Staines in 1810 by the Gentlemen of the Isle of Thanet; this sword appears, like the Milne one, to have been supplied and made by Teed. For further information about Richard Teed and his work, and also about the Duckworth sword, see articles by Dr Leslie Southwick in the Journal of the Arms and Armour Society, Vol. XI pp47-55, Vol. XII pp223-284 and 291-311 and Vol XIII pp173-220.
Minutes and Reports Common Council 1814-16 p126.