French 1795-1804 Infantry/Naval Officer’s Sword
Straight blade with concave triangular cross-section, heart-shaped guard, ferrule and knucklebow with quillon, helmet-shaped pommel, all of gilt brass. Copper wire-bound grip.
The lower portion of the blade has gilded engraving of banners and foliage, and dulled bluing around it.
This smallsword is probably from the late Directory to Consulate period – the Consulate being the four years between the fall of the Directory government in the coup of Brumaire in November 1799 and the ascension of Napoleon Bonaparte to Emperor of France in 1804. It was carried principally by infantry officers, but also by some French naval officers, evidenced by the example surrendered to Lord Nelson by Rear-Admiral Blanquet du Chayla after the Battle of the Nile in 1798, now in the Guildhall museum, illustrated in Swords for Sea Service by May & Annis (plate 98).
The wire grip binding is all intact. There is some movement to the shell guard. Some patination and pitting to the blade. No scabbard.