Claude Martin (1735-1800) was born in Lyons, the son of a cooper. He served with the French army (1752-60), but deserted in India to join the British East India Company's forces. In 1776, now promoted to Captain, he was appointed superintendent of artillery and arsenals to the Nawab of Oudh, and in 1779 established the Lucknow Arsenal as a manufactory of arms, employing European and native armourers, eventually becoming a Major-General in 1796. A number of firearms produced there under his supervision survive, including those in the Royal Armouries, Leeds, and the National Army Museum, Chelsea, but this is the only known sword probably made there. It is perhaps the 'Curious Sword Silver Mounted' listed in his post-mortem inventory of 1801
Martin amassed great wealth which he spent on philanthropy and patronage of the arts, among the artists working in India he patronised being Chinnery, Renaldi and Zoffany (he is depicted in the last-named's 'Colonel Mordaunt's Cock-Match', now at Tate Britain, London). Today he is principally remembered for the three schools he founded (in Lyons, Lucknow and Calcutta) all bearing the name he gave them, 'La Martinière'
See Blackmore, op. cit., and W.E Andrews, Major-General Claude Martin, Lucknow, 1942