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image MP21

Sword, epée à clavier (originally with scabbard, now lost)

Steel with mother of pearl

Museum number: MP21

Curatorial note

This epée à clavier with a ornately decorated guard and mother-of-pearl grip is said to have been presented by Napoleon to one of his officers. The ornate designs on the guard which feature what appears to be an imperial eagle bear a strong resemblance to those on many of the epées illustrated in J. Lhoste’s book Les Epées Portées en France (Paris, 1997). The sword is of unknown provenance and although it is probably French it could conceivably be of German or American manufacture. The earliest record of the sword is in the 1837 inventories which describe it as “A Sword and Scabbard presented by Napoleon Buonaparte to one of his Officers”. It is not known how or when Soane originally acquired the sword. The scabbard is not in the Museum’s collection.

Exhibition history

Peace Breaks Out! London and Paris in the Summer of 1814, Sir John Soane's Museum, London, 20 June - 13 September 2014

If you have any further information about this object, please contact us: worksofart@soane.org.uk