Presentation Sword

Presentation sword, thought to be a replica of the sword presented to Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson (1758-1805), by the Captains of the Fleet after the Victory of the Nile on the 1st August 1798. The hilt of the sword consists of a gilt crocodile forming the pommel and grip, along with a gilt knuckle-bow. There is a ring on the pommel in order to accommodate a sword knot. There is a nearly flat, single shell and an oval shield on the knuckle-bow, which are now plain, any original enamel or engraving having been rubbed away. On the obverse and in the centre of the grip there is an oval shield decorated with coloured enamel depicting ships of the line in action. The panel on the reverse of the shield is engraved with the words 'VICTORY of the NILE, 1st of August, 1798.'

The straight, double-edged steel blade has a diamond section, which becomes hexagonal towards the point, and the blade is also damascened in blue and gold for 318mm from the hilt, after which point it consists of plain undecorated steel. Engraved on the obverse of the blade, near the hilt are the Royal arms contained within a shield with a crown above, along with the Latin motto 'Honi soit qui mal y pense' that is engraved around the shield. The Latin motto 'Dieu et mon droit' is engraved below the shield. Engraved above this on a longitudinal panel, and also on the reverse of the blade is the inscription 'For my Country and King.' The sword has a black leather scabbard, with two gilt lockets and rings and gilt chape. The ring of the mid locket is missing. Engraved on the reverse of the top locket are the words 'RUNDELL & BRIDGE. Jewellers. No. 32. LUDGATE HILL.' The scabbard is 60mm longer than the blade and may not be the original one.

This sword is in all probability a replica of the one presented to Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson (1758-1805) by the Captains of the Fleet after the Victory of the Nile on the 1st August 1798. It is believed that some of the Captains, if not all of them, had copies made of the sword for themselves and that this sword is one of those copies. This sword when it passed from the Museum in the Royal Naval College to the National Maritime Museum came with a label inscribed with the words 'Nelson's Sword Crocodile Hilt enamelled with Battle of Nile Blade Inlaid with silver and engraved 'MY COUNTRY AND KING.' Purchased with other swords at Windsor Castle by the late J. Bridge, Esq. after the death of George IV and purchased by Ponncey of Edward J. Bridge, Esq., Manor House, Piddletrenthide.' However Nelson's Nile sword was stolen in 1900 so this sword is a one of the copies of the sword made for one of the Captains of the Fleet after the Battle of the Nile. This sword appears to have been purchased for the Royal Collection at Windsor Castle, thence passing by purchase to Mr Edward Bridge, and, at some later date, found its way to the Royal Hospital, Greenwich, which in 1873 became the Royal Naval College.

Object Details

ID: WPN1094
Collection: Weapons
Type: Presentation Sword
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Rundell & Bridge
Places: Royal Naval College; Windsor Castle Piddletrenthide Greenwich Hospital
Events: French Revolutionary Wars: Battle of the Nile, 1798
Date made: 1798
People: Nelson, Horatio; Esq, late Edward J. Bridge King George IV Royal Collection Trust
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Greenwich Hospital Collection
Measurements: Hilt: 178 mm; Grip: 114 mm; Blade: 787 x 32 mm
Parts: Presentation Sword

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