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A FINE & IMPORTANT FRENCH GOLD-HILTED SWORD (GLAIVE) CARRIED BY FIELD-MARSHAL THE DUKE OF WELLINGTON, PRESENTED BY HIM TO LT. COL. SIR HENRY HARDINGE AS A SWORD OF HONOUR AND SAID TO HAVE BEEN MADE FOR THE EMPEROR NAPOLÉON I
A FINE & IMPORTANT FRENCH GOLD-HILTED SWORD (GLAIVE) CARRIED BY FIELD-MARSHAL THE DUKE OF WELLINGTON, PRESENTED BY HIM TO LT. COL. SIR HENRY HARDINGE AS A SWORD OF HONOUR AND SAID TO HAVE BEEN MADE FOR THE EMPEROR NAPOLÉON I
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WELLINGTON, THE NAPOLEONIC WARS AND WATERLOO, a commemoration in the 200th anniversary year of the battle of Waterloo (Lots 1-50)THE WELLINGTON-HARDINGE SWORD
A FINE & IMPORTANT FRENCH GOLD-HILTED SWORD (GLAIVE) CARRIED BY FIELD-MARSHAL THE DUKE OF WELLINGTON, PRESENTED BY HIM TO LT. COL. SIR HENRY HARDINGE AS A SWORD OF HONOUR AND SAID TO HAVE BEEN MADE FOR THE EMPEROR NAPOLÉON I

BY BIENNAIS, ORFIRE RUE ST. HONORÉ NO. 283 À PARIS, PARIS TITRE MARK OF 1809

Details
A FINE & IMPORTANT FRENCH GOLD-HILTED SWORD (GLAIVE) CARRIED BY FIELD-MARSHAL THE DUKE OF WELLINGTON, PRESENTED BY HIM TO LT. COL. SIR HENRY HARDINGE AS A SWORD OF HONOUR AND SAID TO HAVE BEEN MADE FOR THE EMPEROR NAPOLÉON I
BY BIENNAIS, ORFIRE RUE ST. HONORÉ NO. 283 À PARIS, PARIS TITRE MARK OF 1809
With 28 ¾ in. (73 cm.) slender blade decorated on each side towards the hilt with a gold faux-damascened panel with counterfeit text in the Franco-Egyptian style, also etched on each side with a panel respectively stating 'This SWORD was worn by / The DUKE of WELLINGTON / from his entering into PARIS / July 1815 to 1817' and 'FROM The DUKE of WELLINGTON / TO SIR HENRY HARDINGE / AT THE REVIEW of The PRUSSIAN ARMY / NEAR SEDAN in FRANCE / 1817', elegant gold hilt with plain surfaces with raised segmented mouldings, the outer faces slightly convex, and straight quillons each with a fine lion-mask finial, in original leather scabbard with gold mounts en suite with the hilt, the locket signed by the maker within the recess for the outer langet, and with two gold rings for suspension
Maker's mark of Martin-Guillaume Biennais (1764-1843), goldsmith to Emperor Napoléon I.
Provenance
His Grace Field Marshal the Duke of Wellington, acquired from an unrecorded source, possibly either within the period following the Allied entry into Paris on 30 March 1814 and the commencement of Napoleon's 'Hundred Days', or perhaps immediately following the fall of Napoleon, and possibly from the palace at St. Cloud.

Presented by Wellington to Lt. Col. Sir Henry Hardinge, later Field Marshal 1st Viscount Hardinge of Lahore, in 1817, and by descent to the vendor, Christie's, King Street, Trafalgar Bicentenary, The Age of Nelson, Wellington and Napoleon, 19 October 2005, lot 164.
Literature
Charles, Viscount Hardinge, Rulers of India, Viscount Hardinge (ed. Sir William Wilson Hunter), Oxford, 1891, the sword illustrated in the frontispiece portrait, Lord Hardinge’s early career in the Peninsular and Flanders (Waterloo) campaigns is also recounted in detail.

Lot Essay

This sword is of a very similar unadorned form to the Biennais silver-gilt mounted sabre carried by Wellington at Waterloo that is retained by the family and usually displayed in Apsley House, London.
Sir Henry Hardinge (178-1856) was an illustrious soldier who repeatedly distinguished himself in the Peninsular Wars. He fought at Roliça and Vimeiro in 1808, and was by the side of Sir John Moore at Corunna in 1809 when the latter was killed. Hardinge was appointed deputy-quartermaster-general in the Portuguese Army and was present at many of the key battles fought on the Iberian Peninsular. Wellington took Hardinge, by then a Lt. Colonel, onto his personal staff for the Flanders Campaign and tasked him to track Napoléon’s progress at the outset of the ‘Hundred Days’. He was appointed as Wellington’s liaison officer on Field Marshal Bl?cher’s staff, and it was whilst with the Prussians that his left hand was shattered by a stone driven up by roundshot at Ligny (16 June 1815). The subsequent amputation of his hand prevented him from being present at Waterloo two days later, however he nonetheless compiled a final and much needed report of the Prussian disposition for Wellington. After Waterloo the Duke devoted a special Gazette to Hardinge’s service and it was at the Grand Review of the Prussian Army near Sedan in 1817 that was noted at the time that Wellington took from his own side Napoléon’s sword and presented it to him. It is understood that Wellington may have acquired the silver-gilt hilted Biennais sabre from a French general during the Peninsular War and it cannot be discounted that he may have acquired this sword from the same source despite contemporary claims to a Napoleonic provenance.

Hardinge went on to serve as Governor-General of India and succeeded Wellington as Commander-in-Chief of the British Army in September 1852.

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