It is with great sadness that we inform you of the death of Fred Wilkinson, on the morning of the 21st June 2022. He leaves behind a legacy and body of work that few others within the field of arms and armour can match. He will be sorely missed but his contribution to the arms and armour community will never be forgotten
Now available from Headstamp Publishing, John E. Plimpton, “Swords of the Emperor: A guide to the Identification of Imperial Japanese Swords, 1873 – 1945”
More can be found here: Swords of the Emperor (Standard Edition) — Headstamp Publishing
Journal of the Arms and Armour Society, Vol. XXIV, No 1, March 2022
Frederick Wilkinson: An appreciation
A group of Indian war rockets, their flags, and a rocket sword presented to George IV
Abstract: A group of eighteenth century Indian war rockets, some with their flags, and a rocket sword have been identified in the Royal Collection. Some of the rockets are of the type used in India by Haidar Ali and Tipu Sultan’s army of Mysore. All were presented to George IV when Prince of Wales before 1806. Together with the war rockets their original inventory records, display history, and the earliest photograph of a rocket sword have also been found. This paper is a note on the rockets description and a discussion of their provenance. It highlights and confirms details about war rockets in India and their widespread use beyond Mysore, as well as demonstrating their importance to the King and the British military. Details of other Indian war rockets in the UK are also included for comparison.
An 18th century sword-bladed metal cased Maratha war rocket and the evolution of the use of the war rocket in India
Abstract: This article describes a newly re-discovered sword-bladed metal cased rocket thought to have been made by the Marathas. This rocket is unique as the best preserved of its kind given that it still retains its fabric cover and charge. Recent rocket finds in Mysore have increased our understanding of such rockets and have triggered others to review their holdings. These finds, their context and the sources on the manufacturing and use of metal-cased rockets outside Mysore, are summarized here. The rediscovered rocket is also analyzed with respect to these to show that it is likely to be Maratha. While Tipu Sultan’s Mysore was the most visible user of rockets in India to the
British, such rockets were not first used or invented in Mysore, they were much used by the Marathas and others. Why this earlier use was less apparent remains to be explored.
English Duelling Pistols and their Origin – A Re-examination
Abstract: During the 1760’s, the wearing of small swords by English gentlemen fell out of fashion and pistols became the weapons of choice for duelling. At first, the traditional silver mounted holster pistol was a common choice. However, by the mid- 1770’s, a distinct new, relatively plain pistol design had appeared which was being sold in cased pairs, and ultimately became known as duelling pistols. Over the ensuing centuries, a mythology developed around these pistols and how they were developed expressly for the purpose of duelling. In particular, it has been claimed that their form was determined by their function as duelling pistols. On close examination, this explanation for the genesis of what has become referred to as a true duelling pistol appears incompatible with the actual practice of duelling. It also creates ambiguity by defining these multi-purpose pistols in terms of a single use, i.e., duelling. This paper re-examines the initial development of duelling pistols in the context of the actual practice of duelling and the shift in popular fashion from rococo to neoclassicism in 18th century England. It is argued that the development of the new unique form for ‘duelling pistols’ was the result of a change in fashion, and not directly related to their end use. It is demonstrated that this transformation was introduced and championed by John Twigg and that his design became universally accepted, as expected for a popular fashion product as opposed to a purely utilitarian one.
The Earliest Assayed Sword Recorded By Thomas Price Of London, 1809-10, Awarded To Major General William Carr Beresford In 1808
Abstract: A silver-gilt mounted stirrup-hilted sabre resolved to be awarded by the British Factory at Madeira in 1808 to Major General William Carr Beresford for services to the island has come to light and revealed it to be the earliest fully-marked London Assayed token with date-letter ‘O’ for 1809-10 made by the prominent London silversmith and sword-cutler, Thomas Price of Pentonville, Parish of St James’s Clerkenwell, London. Not only is the sword the earliest assayed example by Price yet
recorded, but the design of the weapon is also an early version of a distinctive pattern designed and often used by the craftsman for orders from the royal goldsmiths and jewellers, Rundell, Bridge & Rundell, for presentation to deserving army and naval officers between c.1808 and 1816, a list of heroic tokens that now amount to twenty-two swords of honour.
International conference on arms and armour
The Armourers and Brasiers Company of London and the Arms and Armour Society
In 2022 the Armourers and Brasiers Company of London will celebrate it’s 700th anniversary. As part of the events to commemorate this occasion, the Company in partnership with the Arms and Armour Society is planning a 2-day international conference on the history of arms and armour.
The conference will be held in the Company’s historic Livery Hall in the city of London on the 17-18 October 2022.
There will be a range of speakers covering the many aspects of the history of the Company – including talks on armour, swords, small arms, cannon founding as well as on the history of the Company. We are also hope to hold a conference dinner on the evening of the 17th in Livery Hall.
So please save the date and look out for a detailed list of speakers, costs and further details.
The Journal of the Arms and Armour Society, Vol.XXIII, No.6
English Cannon-Barrelled Box-Lock Pistols of The Eighteenth Century: A Developmental and Chronological Review. Part 1: The Early Phase, ca. 1735 – ca. 1760.
Michael G. Spencer
The top-hammer box-lock cannon-barrelled pistol is a quintessentially English flintlock firearm of the eighteenth century. From its first appearance, probably shortly after 1730, to its demise around 1790, it underwent a number of constructional and stylistic changes which provide a guide to the dating of any individual piece. The purpose of this article is to describe the developmental sequence and to fix this chronologically as far as is reasonably possible.
The Black Sea yataghans.
This paper identifies a rare and distinctive group of yataghans, associated with the Laz of the Black Sea coast around Trabzon, and the manufacture of weapons for them in Daghistan, and the impact on the region of the Circassian genocide.
A young general by van Dyck and pieces of Italian armours decorated in the Jorg Sorg style: on description and attribution.
The article is focused on a group of the pieces of Italian armours decorated in the Jorg Sorg style, the decorative pattern of which is represented in the Portrait of a young general by Anthony van Dyck, in the series of canvases Jerusalem Delivered by Domenico Finoglia at Conversano, in the portraits of Duke of Arcos and of Count Potocki. The group consists of 70 pieces of armour in total or 3 composite armors and 26 separate pieces of armor dispersed throughout the world. In the article the author attempts to unite all objects decorated in the pattern in question known today (some of them are introduced into scholarship for the first time) and to systematize this large group of pieces dividing them into several subgroups by their authenticity, the quality of their etching, the variation of their pattern and their relationship to one another.
The Manufacturing of Manton’s Pattern 1833 Carbine lock, a late Ordnance flintlock, and Lovell’s Pattern 1842 Percussion lock, the first purpose-designed Ordnance percussion sidelock.
David Williams and David Harding
Recent work has revealed the significant steps that were made in the interchangeable manufacturing of flintlock musket locks in Britain between 1809 and 1817, and which built on Henry Nock’s earlier work on his enclosed screwless lock. This note uses experimental object study to
examine the manufacturing and interchangeability of subsequent key Nock-influenced designs of Ordnance flint and percussion locks, to help to understand the British position before the step changes in technology that were applied in the manufacture of the Pattern 1853 Rifle Musket. The objects studied include a unique lock Pattern made in 1845 to guide manufacturing. The note shows that Manton’s Pattern 1833 Carbine lock, although using large numbers of gauges in its manufacture, was not interchangeable. The Pattern 1842 lock, which again used many gauges in its manufacture, while not interchangeable was highly standardised and made at close to interchangeable standards, with specific allowances to permit explicit management of metal-to-metal fitting, and at a high “West End” level of quality. The detailed changes in its design suggest that it provided an important platform for learning, thus contributing to the successful Pattern 1853 lock design. The present work also suggests that the fits, in engineering jargon, at which interchangeability was achieved should be more closely examined.
Arms and Armour: History, Conservation and Analysis
This book brings together papers giving new insights into the history, science and interpretation of important objects. It has been written by curators, conservators and scientists who have worked with European and Oriental arms and armour from the world’s finest collections.
This book also recognises the influence that David Edge has had on the field of arms and armour.
Preface and acknowledgements
History of arms and armour
1 The 1520 foot combat armours of Henry VIII: design, technology and meaning
Keith A. Dowen
2 Cloth of steel: elements of a Landsknecht armour in the Wallace Collection
3 Henry VIII’s Italian armour of 1544: a metallurgical note on alterations and improvements by the Royal Workshops at Greenwich
Simon Metcalf and Alan Williams
4 A lance rest from a Spanish royal garniture in the Wallace Collection
Alvaro Soler del Campo
5 The remains of a rare Tibetan shaffron
Donald J. La Rocca
Conservation and display
6 Mannequins for armours: a conservational and aesthetic challenge
7 Six armours of the National Museum of Finland
8 Pierced metalwork on Iranian vambraces and their cleaning
9 Analysis: Viking-era swords investigated by medical X-radiography and CT scanning: a new pommel classification and the assessment of blade geometry
Robert A. Hill
10 The helmet of the Black Prince analysed by neutron diffraction
David Edge, Francesco Grazzi, Antonella Scherillo and Alan Williams
11 Shah Jahan and Mughal steel: recent studies on Indian blades by neutron diffraction
Arthur Bijl, David Edge, Francesco Grazzi, Antonella Scherillo and Alan Williams
12 Indo-Persian axes and the faking of wootz
David Edge, Richard Furrer, Francesco Grazzi, Antonella Scherillo and Alan Williams
13 Fakes and their detection by analysis
14 Metal woodscrews during the flintlock years: West European metal woodscrews from 1650 to 1830: an archival and metallurgical study
Publisher’s price £49.50 plus P&P, discounted price to UK and Rest of the World Arms and Armour Society members and friends £40.00 plus postage and packing. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your discounted copy.
Copies will be available on on the 3rd October 2021 at the 103rd London Antique Arms Fair, RAF Museum, Hendon, London NW9 5LL.
Available in the US at $67.50 plus postage and packing via the Oakeshott Institute and to US Arms and Armour Society members at a $10 discount using the code AASOC2021 at https://www.arms-n-armor.com/discount/AASOC2021?redirect=%2Fproducts%2Farms-armor-history-conservation-and-analysis-essays-in-honour-of-david-edge
Edited by Society members Alan Williams and Keith Dowen.
Published in association with Archetype Publications and supported by the Oakeshott Institute. Partially underwritten by the North fund.