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British 1899 Pattern Gymnasia Training Sword

£350.00
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British 1899 Pattern Gymnasia Training Sword 2
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British 1899 Pattern Gymnasia Training Sword 12
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British 1899 Pattern Gymnasia Training Sword 14
British 1899 Pattern Gymnasia Training Sword 15
British 1899 Pattern Gymnasia Training Sword 16
British 1899 Pattern Gymnasia Training Sword 17
British 1899 Pattern Gymnasia Training Sword 18
Description

Straight single-fullered training blade, its single ‘edge’ blunt and with a rounded tip. Steel bowl hilt with circular pierced holes, diamond-shaped strengthening piece attached by two rivets at the shoulder, steel chequered grip and backstrap, integral pommel with tang button and incised cross-hatching.

The blade is stamped at the ricasso with ‘MADE IN GERMANY’.

Increased emphasis on refined sword training in the British Army in the second half of the 19th century produced two types of practice sword. The first were simply blunted versions of cavalry swords, usually made from obsolete patterns and used for practicing moves against targets, while the other were ‘gymnasia’ swords: based on traditional fencing sabres these were more suitable for sparring and competition, with protective clothing and masks.

The first gymnasia sword was introduced in 1856 and had a long service life until the straight thrusting blade was introduced to infantry officer’s swords from 1892 – this was different enough from its predecessors to require a new model in 1895. The Army officially adopted the fencing system of the Florentine swordsman Ferdinand Masiello as its new ‘Infantry Sword Exercise’ in that year, and the new gymnasia model was accordingly Italian in its hilt style but with a blade imitating that of the British officer’s sword.

This example is the subsequent third model, the ‘Sword, Practice, Gymnasia, Pattern 1899’. This model moved even closer towards the Italian fencing sword, and as Matt Easton notes in his monograph on the gymnasia swords, it might actually have been a full adoption of an existing Masiello type. It was lighter with a perforated guard and narrower blade, still the same length as the officer’s sword but not as closely imitating its weight and form. This example is a slight variation in that it has an all wood grip, whereas most examples have wire-bound shagreen over wood.

A few nicks to the blunt ‘edge’, some pitting at the tip of the blade. Patination to the outside of the guard and the backstrap. The wood grip has no cracks and is firm in the hand, light handling wear to a couple of the chequered diamonds.

 

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