A fine and important dress sword for the Royal Company of Archers
Scottish Weapons, Smallswords
A fine and important dress sword for the Royal Company of Archers by Charles Webb, almost certainly made for the occasion of the visit of King George IV to Scotland in 1822. The blade is etched with the figures of Britannia and Hope together with martial trophies, flowers and foliage. The gilt brass hilt is engraved with foliage overall, and with star bursts on both faces of the boat shaped shell guard which has raised edges, the pommel is fluted. The grip is bound with twisted silver wire, and the hilt is fitted with a fine quality dress knot of crimson and gold riband with a bullion tassel beneath a green velvet bolster embroidered with the thistle and GR in gold bullion. Contained in its black leather scabbard with gilt brass mounts signed WEBB Manufacturer Piccadilly LONDON, engraved with extensive foliage, and with roped hanging rings both with edges decorated with a key pattern, a shell shaped frog stud on the locket. The gilding remains in mint condition. Provenance: Fettercairn House, Kincardineshire Scotland. Probably the sword of Sir John Stuart Forbes (8th Baronet) succeeded 1806. See L. Southwick "London Silver Hilted Swords" 2001 p 54 for an account of Charles Webb. On 5th April 1820 the company was appointed "Gold Lacemen in Ordinary to George IV. The design for this sword derives from Germanic military smallswords (degen) and is almost identical to a type adopted by the Life Guards c.1820 for Full Dress, see B. Robson "Swords of the British Army" 1996 p.134No 120
Blade length 30½" (77.5cms) Overall length 36½" (92.cms)
In 1822 King George IV became the first reigning British Monarch to visit Scotland since the Act of Union in 1707. The Royal Company of Archers offered its services as body guard to the king which was accepted. Thus began a tradition of royal patronage with the Company acting as the monarch's body guard in Scotland, a service which continues to the present day, meriting the title "King's (Queen's) Body Guard for Scotland". On 5 April 1820 the maker Charles Webb was appointed "Gold Laceman in Ordinary to George IV".