''Death or Glory''
This very unusual cigar cutter was almost certainly a special commission for the 17th Lancer Regiment in commemoration of the Charge of the Light Brigade at the battle of Balaclava on the 25th of October 1854, during the Crimean War. The British troops of the Light Dragoons under General Lord Cardigan (known as the 17th Lancers from 1876 onwards). Totalling 636 men, they were mistakenly given the fatal orders to launch an offensive upon the opposing Russian forces, in defence of the allied sea port of Balaclava. This, now legendary but fatal act of espirit de corps, resulted in six servicemen receiving the Victoria Cross, the highest decoration for gallantry in the face of the enemy awarded to British servicemen.
Bente Gundestrup, Det kongelige danske Kunstkammer 1737, Nationalmuseet og Bente Gundestrup 1991. A comparative ivory model of a skeleton, housed in a wood architectural case forms part of the collection, illustrated page 448.