GARDEN

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GARDEN

Postby Gordons Horse » Fri Jan 26, 2018 11:51 pm

With reference to British swords, I continue to follow a line of research on the subject of swords sold under the name of GARDEN.

The firm was widely known as Army Accoutrement Makers & Saddlers, and were involved in the sale of such merchandise as well as of firearms and swords to officers and some regiments of the EIC and Indian Army.

The four main trading names and addresses are as follows:

- Garden 200 Piccadilly London (Hugh Garden)
- Garden & Son 200 Piccadilly London (Hugh & Robert Spring Garden)
Hugh Garden he died 1851, his son carried on.
- Robt. S. Garden 200 Piccadilly London (Robert Spring Garden)
- Robt. S. Garden 29 Piccadilly London (Robert Spring Garden)

Would be most grateful to hear from anyone who has a sword or swords sold by this firm, with a view to getting specific details of the type of sword (hilt & blade), Patent hilt etc., as well as specific details of how the swords are marked, as in which trading name and address, and whether or not they have a number or name, or both stamped on the back edge of the blade.

Thanks,

Gordon
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Re: GARDEN

Postby Richard » Sun Jan 28, 2018 6:22 am

Hi Gordon

I used to have a P1796 LC officer's sword with B&G blade by John Garden of 203 Piccadilly. I'm away at the moment but will post details when I get home (next week)

Richard
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Re: GARDEN

Postby Gordons Horse » Sun Jan 28, 2018 9:02 am

Richard wrote:Hi Gordon

I used to have a P1796 LC officer's sword with B&G blade by John Garden of 203 Piccadilly. I'm away at the moment but will post details when I get home (next week)

Richard


Thanks Richard, early one to add to the list.

Cheers,

Gordon
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Re: GARDEN

Postby Matt Easton » Mon Jan 29, 2018 11:55 pm

I have a rare gymnasium sabre 1864 pattern marked to Garden and have a friend with a Garden cavalry sword to a named Mutiny officer, if I recall correctly.
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Re: GARDEN

Postby Gordons Horse » Tue Jan 30, 2018 6:43 am

Hi Matt,

Knowing the specific details of blade and hilt type would be appreciated, also than manner in which these swords are marked. Thanks.
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Re: GARDEN

Postby Gavin Locke » Thu Feb 01, 2018 7:01 am

Hello, I own a Garden 1821 light cavalry officer pattern with a patent hilt and owned by J D Woollcombe. He served in the artillery and was involved in the suppression of the Indian mutiny. Blade is 35” and in poor condition but has the following markings.
Garden & Son 200 Piccadilly London at the forte.
Proof disc with ‘proved’ and a fleur-de-lis.
The word Garden stamped on the back edge of the blade at the hilt.
The name Woollcombe stamped on the back edge of the blade about 5” from hilt.
No number.
Hope that helps.
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Re: GARDEN

Postby Gordons Horse » Thu Feb 01, 2018 8:49 am

Hi Gavin,

Many thanks indeed, it certainly does help, most encouraging, and have a few questions in terms of the blade, and then the hilt.

1. Can you tell if the blade is etched with the East India Company crest on one side, and Artillery naming on the other; or is it just etched with the VR cipher and Crown on both sides?
2. Is the blade etched with the word PATENT above the Garden name and address, or above the proof mark?
3. Does the fuller in the blade come to a stopped end (with ricasso), or does it just taper out near the proof mark?
4. Is the Proof mark on the present side or the reverse side?
5. What style of etched decoration is around the proof mark.
6. How wide is the blade at shoulder?
7. Is the Garden name on the back edge of the blade "double" stamped at all?
8. Is the GARDEN name on the back edge stamped in fairly large clear capital letters, or are they smallish with the G slightly dominant.

Regarding the hilt.
1. Is the thumb-rest chequered?
2. Is the pommel stepped, or domed and chequered?
3. Are the grip plates pressed leather or composition?
4. Is the wire binding silver or copper, and are the twisted wires fairly fine and of equal size?

Very much appreciate your response.

Gordon
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Re: GARDEN

Postby Gordons Horse » Thu Feb 01, 2018 5:08 pm

Gavin Locke wrote:Hello, I own a Garden 1821 light cavalry officer pattern with a patent hilt and owned by J D Woollcombe. He served in the artillery and was involved in the suppression of the Indian mutiny. Blade is 35” and in poor condition but has the following markings.
Garden & Son 200 Piccadilly London at the forte.
Proof disc with ‘proved’ and a fleur-de-lis.
The word Garden stamped on the back edge of the blade at the hilt.
The name Woollcombe stamped on the back edge of the blade about 5” from hilt.
No number.
Hope that helps.
Gavin


Hi Gavin,

Further to my other questions, is there any evidence of a Sanskrit inscription on the blade at forte?

Gordon
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Re: GARDEN

Postby Gavin Locke » Fri Feb 02, 2018 7:40 pm

Hi Gordon,
Here you go.

1. Can you tell if the blade is etched with the East India Company crest on one side, and Artillery naming on the other; or is it just etched with the VR cipher and Crown on both sides?
The blade is pitted and stained but as far as I can make out there is no crest or cypher. Apart from the makers inscription and a small section of foliage decoration above it the sword is plain apart from the GARDEN and J D Woollcombe stamps.
2. Is the blade etched with the word PATENT above the Garden name and address, or above the proof mark?
Neither
3. Does the fuller in the blade come to a stopped end (with ricasso), or does it just taper out near the proof mark?
Tapers out near the proof mark
4. Is the Proof mark on the present side or the reverse side?
Present side
5. What style of etched decoration is around the proof mark.
There might be the faintest of decoration in a circle around the proof mark but it is hard to say - certainly not heavily etched if ever there at all.
6. How wide is the blade at shoulder?
1 1/4"
7. Is the Garden name on the back edge of the blade "double" stamped at all?
No.
8. Is the GARDEN name on the back edge stamped in fairly large clear capital letters, or are they smallish with the G slightly dominant.
Fairly large clear capital letters.
Further to my other questions, is there any evidence of a Sanskrit inscription on the blade at forte?
No.
In summary (even allowing for the pitting) it appears the blade only had decoration around the Garden name and address and the stamps and proof mark.

Regarding the hilt.
1. Is the thumb-rest chequered?
Yes
2. Is the pommel stepped, or domed and chequered?
Domed
3. Are the grip plates pressed leather or composition?
Composition
4. Is the wire binding silver or copper, and are the twisted wires fairly fine and of equal size?
No wire left
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Re: GARDEN

Postby Gavin Locke » Fri Feb 02, 2018 7:52 pm

Few more photos
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Re: GARDEN

Postby Gordons Horse » Fri Feb 02, 2018 10:14 pm

Hi Gavin,

Thanks for your effort in preparing this reply, very interesting indeed. Given the service history of the gentleman concerned, do you hold an opinion a regards the purchase date of the sword?

Gordon
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Re: GARDEN

Postby Matt Easton » Sat Feb 03, 2018 9:03 am

I've always wondered if Garden were actually making their swords. Or perhaps just the hilt fittings and etching. To me this blade looks very similar as Reeves examples I have and if I had to bet money on it I'd guess that this is a Reeves blade from about 1855. But I'd love to hear any more up to date information on Garden's operation.

I'll try and get a photo of my Garden 1864 pattern gymnasium sabre today.
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Re: GARDEN

Postby Gavin Locke » Sat Feb 03, 2018 10:19 am

Hi Gordon,

Regarding purchase date I would estimate between 1855 and 1861. My friend Matt thinks the grip material (composite) suggests a date after 1855. According to Bezdek, Garden moved to 29 Piccadilly around 1862 (although you may well know more about the dates).
At this point J D Woollcombe was either a captain in the Bombay Artillery or potentially brevet major in 1858.
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Re: GARDEN

Postby Matt Easton » Sat Feb 03, 2018 6:58 pm

Without setting up proper lighting this is about the best I could manage in the light available this evening:

Image

Image

Image

Image

It is etched on one side:

"R S Garden
29
Piccadilly
London"

And on the other side:

"Practice
Sword"

Unfortunately due to the patina and feint etching it is very difficult to photo.

Regards,
Matt
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Re: GARDEN

Postby Matt Easton » Sat Feb 03, 2018 7:01 pm

This is the 1864 pattern gymnasium sabre incidentally, so I presume it dates to 1864-1877. I have a few others, but none by Garden - the others are Mole, Wilkinson and unmarked.
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Re: GARDEN

Postby Gordons Horse » Sat Feb 03, 2018 11:36 pm

Hi Matt,

The practise sword is a good one, as the pattern dates it more less to the period circa 1864, and before Garden vacated 29 Piccadilly. I presume it has nothing stamped on the back edge of the blade.

Regards,

Gordon
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Re: GARDEN

Postby Matt Easton » Sun Feb 04, 2018 9:05 am

Hi Gordon,
It does have something - numbers. But they are irregularly placed and I cannot see them all. I think I can make out a 28, then a gap, then something else. Definitely no GARDEN stamp unfortunately.
Regards,
Matt
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Re: GARDEN

Postby Gordons Horse » Sun Feb 04, 2018 9:23 am

Matt,

A high resolution image of the numbers would be useful, I would like to have a go at trying to figure out what it is.

Gordon
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Re: GARDEN

Postby Richard » Sun Feb 04, 2018 10:04 am

Hi Gordon

As a matter of interest, where did you get your listings for Garden? The company is not mentioned in Southwick so I assume May & Annis? The earliest listing in May & Annis is John Garden at 203 Piccadilly from 1793 to 1819 and, as I said above, I used to have a sword that I believe was retailed by that company (I say retailed because if not listed in Southwick, then I believe Garden was not a maker).

I'm not sure if such an early example is of interest? and anyway I'm also not 100% sure that it really is a Garden and I wouldn't to lead you up the garden path (groan ....). Anyway, a photo below (poor quality because its a photo of old prints). I think it dates from about 1812-13 (no evidence for that, just based on style). The blade has B&G decoration both sides as you can see but its all just stands of arms, foliate/floral swags and sprays, i.e. no Royal arms, no GR cypher, no Britannia, no cavalryman, etc. Also, there is no makers name in evidence whatsoever. However (and I'm sorry I don't have a photo of this),acid- etched on the quillon within a cartouche is '203' in large characters. I have always thought that this is the 203 in 203 Piccadilly and hence John Garden but of course it could be something entirely different (what though ....).

Richard
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Re: GARDEN

Postby Matt Easton » Sun Feb 04, 2018 6:37 pm

Hi Gordon,

It stopped raining for long enough today for me to get some pics outside with the proper camera.
Here you go - looks like 7? 28 2 2 to me:

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Here are my selection of 1864 gymnasium swords (article coming) - the Garden one is second from the top:

Image

Regards,
Matt
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Re: GARDEN

Postby Gordons Horse » Sun Feb 04, 2018 6:43 pm

Hi Richard,

John Garden was advertised as an Army Accoutrement Makerat 203 Piccadilly however, I've found no evidence as yet to suggest that he sold swords. Without the name GARDEN on the sword it would be really difficult to prove that 203 was actually indicative of his address, although that line of thought is not unreasonable.

Of the examples I've seen which are all Victorian, some have normal style etching with the Royal cipher and crown, and the Garden name and address; some just have the Garden name and address and no Royal cipher etc., and some have completely plain blades with no etching or proof mark.

However, those with the plan blades still have the GARDEN name punched on the blade; therefore it would seem very unusual for a merchant to go to the trouble of 'etching' a number on a hilt but not his name.

My analysis of the subject to date suggests that the name GARDEN was always applied to the blade, and that includes blades that are otherwise completely plain.

Having said that, I've not seen any pre-Victorian examples bearing the Garden name or other identifiable markings, so I can't make any specific comment on pre-1800 swords that may? have been sold by John Garden.
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Re: GARDEN

Postby Gordons Horse » Sun Feb 04, 2018 7:55 pm

Matt,

First comment I would make is the fact that these edge markings or often poorly stamped (a bit irregular), and on that account there may be more than one number striking, or a poorly double struck number or name. I'm also considering that there may have been another 2 at the end of the first three numerals, which would make the number 7282

If you separate the two right side numerals from the 728? and turn them up-side down, they look very much like 7, when compared to the first part.

I have the feeling that there may be the remains of name GARDEN stamped on the right side of the number towards the hilt, close to the side of the back edge; even on blades in far better condition than this, the punched Garden name is at times almost illegible and not positioned precisely.
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Re: GARDEN

Postby Gordons Horse » Sun Feb 04, 2018 9:16 pm

Matt,

In your opinion, how long was the 1864 Pattern - Practice Sword in vouge or use?

Gordon
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Re: GARDEN

Postby Matt Easton » Sun Feb 04, 2018 9:39 pm

Hi Gordon,
I don't *think* that there is any sign remaining of a 'GARDEN' stamp on the back of the blade. Not to say that it was never there, but I cannot see any trace now.

In regards to how long the 1864 pattern practice sabre was being made, it's difficult to say with any certainty - I have a Garden, a Mole and a Wilkinson shown above, together with one that is totally unmarked and the other which did also have an etched panel on the blade but which is now totally obscured (my guess would be Wilkinson though). So it's clear that various makers were producing them to an almost standard pattern. But they seem to have been purchased by regiments and gymnasiums in an ad hoc manner - they certainly weren't dished out to all regiments and I think most were probably private purchase.

Alfred Hutton makes reference to practice sabres in the 1880s and 90s, first recommending Wilkinson and later recommending Pillin (sponsorship?!), but what Hutton shows in his manuals looks like a Hungarian/Austrian practice sabre in design, not like these regulation ones.

The 1864 ones are pretty rare to come across and every time I find one, I buy it, for research/documentation purposes. I suspect that the 1864 pattern went out of vogue in the 1880s and certainly in 1895 a new model officially replaced it (to coincide with the new Infantry Sword Exercise of 1895 and new infantry sword - an essay of mine on this topic here: http://www.fioredeiliberi.org/antique-s ... 1892-1897/ )

Regards,
Matt
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Re: GARDEN

Postby Gordons Horse » Sun Feb 04, 2018 11:17 pm

Hi Matt,

Always difficult trying to pick the difference between the remains of a marking on worn of rust pitted surfaces.

The end year for discussion on your Garden marked practice sword is 1877, and as you have a broad knowledge of practice swords, types and dates, I gather your opinion would be, that it could have made at any time between 1864 and 1877, whilst Garden was still at 29 Piccadilly.

Any further comment on numbers.

Regards,

Gordon
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