1803 Grenadier Officer Sword

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1803 Grenadier Officer Sword

Postby Bryce » Tue May 10, 2016 2:30 am

G'day Guys,

Is it just me (it probably is) or is this form of 1803 by Osborn and Gunby one of the most attractive fighting swords of the Napoleonic period. The sword weighs 900 grams with an 81cm blade. The blade is more curved than the standard 1796 pattern light cavalry sword and lacks the flared tip. It is blue and gilt (though faded) and decorated with "Osborn and Gunby Warranted", 1801-1816 coat of arms, standing Britannia, union flowers, trophys of arms etc. The knucklebow has the flaming grenade of the grenadiers. I love this combination of lion head pommel with gaping jaws and the curved blade. A very similar sword is pictured on page 112 of "Robson".

For comparison, the sword below is a pre 1803 infantry officer sword with standard 1796 light cavalry blade. This is the sword of Captain Hugo Arnot of the Royal Regiment of Foot.

Cheers,

Bryce
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1803 Osborn and Gunby.jpg
Hilts.jpg
Left.jpg
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Re: 1803 Grenadier Officer Sword

Postby Will Mathieson » Tue May 10, 2016 4:44 pm

Both of these swords are great examples, the open mouthed lion heads do add to them. Is the officers name engraved on the backstrap ?
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Re: 1803 Grenadier Officer Sword

Postby Bryce » Wed May 11, 2016 2:11 am

G'day Will,

Unfortunately the 1803 sword isn't named. The other pre 1803 sword has Captain Arnot's initials, family crest and motto on the blade.

Cheers,

Bryce
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Grenade.jpg
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Re: 1803 Grenadier Officer Sword

Postby Richard » Wed May 11, 2016 2:19 pm

Bryce wrote:G'day Guys,

Is it just me (it probably is) or is this form of 1803 by Osborn and Gunby one of the most attractive fighting swords of the Napoleonic period. The sword weighs 900 grams with an 81cm blade. The blade is more curved than the standard 1796 pattern light cavalry sword and lacks the flared tip. It is blue and gilt (though faded) and decorated with "Osborn and Gunby Warranted", 1801-1816 coat of arms, standing Britannia, union flowers, trophys of arms etc. The knucklebow has the flaming grenade of the grenadiers. I love this combination of lion head pommel with gaping jaws and the curved blade. A very similar sword is pictured on page 112 of "Robson".

For comparison, the sword below is a pre 1803 infantry officer sword with standard 1796 light cavalry blade. This is the sword of Captain Hugo Arnot of the Royal Regiment of Foot.

Cheers,

Bryce


Beauty is in the eye of the beholder ....
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Re: 1803 Grenadier Officer Sword

Postby Bryce » Wed May 11, 2016 9:42 pm

OK, it is just me. Something about the proportions and curve of that blade seem "just right" to me.

Cheers,

Bryce
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Re: 1803 Grenadier Officer Sword

Postby Will Mathieson » Thu May 12, 2016 4:38 am

Unfortunately my 1803 sword the lions head does not have a lower jaw so no open mouth or teeth. I find blade curvature and width varies in this pattern along with pommels.
Etched "Warranted" on the blade, no names or wording.
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Re: 1803 Grenadier Officer Sword

Postby Richard » Thu May 12, 2016 5:44 am

Bryce wrote:OK, it is just me. Something about the proportions and curve of that blade seem "just right" to me.

Cheers,

Bryce


Bryce
I don't think you're alone. Probably its just me who doesn't get particularly excited about this pattern.
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Re: 1803 Grenadier Officer Sword

Postby Matt Easton » Thu May 12, 2016 1:41 pm

FWIW I really like the look of the 1803 pattern, especially more unusual variants. But for fighting on foot I'd prefer a more protective guard, preferably of steel. Still, it's a massive improvement on the spadroon!
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Re: 1803 Grenadier Officer Sword

Postby S.J.White » Sat May 14, 2016 4:01 am

By contrasts the French seemed almost fixated on brass hilts with seemingly few complaints about their ability to stand up to repeated contact. And here's what is interesting ... if brass was so catastrophically bad, surely they (The French) would have made the transition ... and yet they didn't, in spite of many wars and conflicts. So ... is brass really all that bad after all?
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Re: 1803 Grenadier Officer Sword

Postby Matt Easton » Sat May 14, 2016 10:08 pm

Brass is fine if it's thick enough. 1803 hilts tend to be on the flimsy side and don't offer much coverage. I've seen dozens with broken hilts (and even more 1796 spadroons with broken hilts), but don't recall ever seeing a French 1822 or 1845 with a broken brass hilt (though they are frequently loose on the tang!).
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Re: 1803 Grenadier Officer Sword

Postby Bryce » Sun Oct 09, 2016 11:15 pm

G'day Matt,

Granted, many 1803 hilts are very flimsy, but this particular example has one of the heaviest hilts I have seen. (I would still rather have steel protecting my hand).

Cheers,

Bryce
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Re: 1803 Grenadier Officer Sword

Postby Bryce » Tue May 30, 2017 2:26 am

G'day Guys,

MichaelDLong recently had a pristine example of this sword for sale. Looks like someone bought it. I still think these are great swords. Wish I had a scabbard for mine.

Cheers,

Bryce
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Re: 1803 Grenadier Officer Sword

Postby Bryce » Sat Jun 16, 2018 2:16 am

G'day Guys,

I recently acquired another one of these. This time with a scabbard. These Osborn and Gunby 1803's are consistent enough and different enough from most other forms of this sword, to warrant having their own designation, ie. "The Osborn and Gunby 1803 Pattern Infantry Officer's Sabre". They have a 32 inch, fullered blade with more curve than a 1796 light cavalry pattern, but with less curve than the shorter,very curved, unfullered blades you often see. The knuckle guard is also thicker than most other versions of this sword and the lion head pommel has its jaws open. This one also has GG stamped on one ricasso.


Cheers,

Bryce
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Osborn and Gunby 1803 GG stamp.jpg
Osborn and Gunby 1803s.jpg
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Re: 1803 Grenadier Officer Sword

Postby sword335 » Sat Jun 16, 2018 9:18 am

Nice to see this pattern with undamaged hilts. So often the guard has been flattened but both of these have that graceful curve which makes them so attractive. Well done.

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Re: 1803 Grenadier Officer Sword

Postby Brimage » Thu Jun 21, 2018 7:55 am

Hi Bryce

Put me down as a fan of the 1803, I must be I have just counted and now realise I have 7 of them, all slightly different. I will attempt to remember to do a group picture of them to post on the weekend. One of mine has the GG stamp at the top of the blade and I was told by a Napoleonic collector that this meant Grenadier Guards, however I am yet to find a reference to confirm this. The makers and or retailors of mine are Osborn, JJ Runkel, Reddell and Tarrant.

Cheers Cathey and Rex
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Re: 1803 Grenadier Officer Sword

Postby Bryce » Thu Jun 21, 2018 10:44 pm

G'day Cathey,
Good to see there are a few of us who appreciate these swords. Please post some photos of your 1803's.
In regards to your 1803 with the GG stamp, it will be the Osborn you mentioned. If you take a look at the G or GG stamp sticky above, you will see these are some sort of inspection stamp used by Osborn and then Osborn and Gunby. The Grenadier Guards weren't named this until after Waterloo in 1815, whereas Osborn marked swords can be found with the GG stamp made well before this date.
Cheers,
Bryce
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Re: 1803 Grenadier Officer Sword

Postby Brimage » Sat Jun 23, 2018 7:23 am

Hi Bryce

Here they are, 8 in total if you count the American one at the bottom.

Cheers Cathey and Rex
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Re: 1803 Grenadier Officer Sword

Postby Bryce » Sat Jun 23, 2018 9:34 pm

Thanks Cathey, great swords.
Looks like Osborn may have been using the same blade on his 1803's as my examples above, prior to joining with Gunby. Mowbray, who appears to be the source of the theory that a G stamp on the Ricasso meant it had been manufactured by Gill, also put forward the theory that the GG stamp was used by Osborn and Gunby to distinguish their swords from Gill's. Plainly this is not the case as there are plenty of Osborn marked swords with GG stamps and also Osborn and Gunby marked swords with a single G.

Your second Runkel 1803 has an interesting blade. It appears to be flat, but with a short, narrow fuller just under the spine. I don't think I have ever seen one like this before.


The 1803 by Tarrant looks to have the same blade as Osborn's. There isn't a sneaky G stamp hiding on the ricasso of this sword is there?


Cheers,

Bryce
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Re: 1803 Grenadier Officer Sword

Postby Brimage » Sun Jun 24, 2018 2:11 am

Hi Bryce

I have checked the Tarrant, which sadly is significantly in better shape on one side than the other, and no G visible. I don't have any reference for Tarrant in my database and would be most grateful if someone could provide details of this firm, when they where is business etc. I am assuming they where outfitters or cutlers not makers.

Cheers Cathey and Rex
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Re: 1803 Grenadier Officer Sword

Postby Bryce » Mon Jul 02, 2018 2:59 am

G'day Cathey and Rex,

I have had a look for Tarrant with no joy so far. There was a firm of Lawyers in London called Tarrant and Co. Are there any more clues on the sword such as an address?

Cheers,
Bryce
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Re: 1803 Grenadier Officer Sword

Postby Brimage » Fri Sep 07, 2018 11:47 am

Hi Bryce

With regard to the Tarrant Sword, I have had another look at it and the address on the sword is Tarrant No 1 Strand London.

With regard to the GG mark, I found the reference in Robson's that probably had my friend feel so sure it stood for Grenadier Guards. The reference is on page 150 and whilst it states marked GG (Grenadier Guards) it also says "this title was not awarded until 1815". So the paragraph is somewhat misleading and no doubt the source of much debate.

Cheers Cathey and Rex
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