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    Sale 5854

    Arms & Armour

    18 June 2009, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 78

    AN EXTREMELY RARE HIGHLAND SCOTTISH TWO-HAND SWORD (CLAIDHEAMH MOR)

    CIRCA 1580

    Price Realised  

    AN EXTREMELY RARE HIGHLAND SCOTTISH TWO-HAND SWORD (CLAIDHEAMH MOR)
    CIRCA 1580
    With characteristic German broad flat blade cut with a shallow short fuller on both sides at the forte, retaining traces of an orb inlaid in latten on one side, and the ricasso struck on both sides with three marks within a linear frame terminating in a pair of 'eyelash' stamps, strongly formed downward-slanting faceted quillons with pierced quatrefoil terminals, a pair of slender tapering langets issuant from a pair of raised shoulders below a tubular collar, and the tips of the langets with traces of characteristic simple linear engraving (the grip a 19th century addition)
    37½in (95.2cm) blade


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    Provenance: By family tradition, The Hereditary Sword of The Marquesses of Ely. The line descended from The Tottenhams of Barrington, Cambridgeshire, of which John, settled in Ballyduffe, Co. Wexford, Ireland before 1632. The line continued to Charles Tottenham of Tottenham Green (M.P. for New Ross 1727-1758, High Sheriff and Mayor of Wexford). Thence to the Rt. Hon. Sir Charles Tottenham, created Baron Loftus of Loftus Hall, Co. Wexford and created 1st Marquess of Ely in 1800.

    The present family line continueing through the Loftus-Ely branch and the sword descending from the 7th Marquess to the present owners.

    For a discussion of Highland Scottish two-hand swords of this distinctive type see the guide of The London Park Lane Arms Fair, Spring 2009, Tony Willis, Three Claymores from Warwick Castle. The present sword compares most closely to that described in the article as Warwick III. It is also comparable to another in The National Museum of Scotland (LA 89).

    The Loftus-Ely sword was presumably acquired by the family in Ireland, presumably in either the 18th or 19th century but also possibly through their 17th century antecedents.

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    Pre-Lot Text

    THE PROPERTY OF THE DESCENDANTS OF THE MARQUESSATE OF ELY