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Smallsword and Scabbard

A work made of steel, two gold alloys, gilding, brass, parchment, and wood.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of steel, two gold alloys, gilding, brass, parchment, and wood.


c. 1785


Cutler: Thomas Prosser (English, 1774-1795)

About this artwork

In the late 18th century brilliant-cut steel beads became highly fashionable. The style, which may have originated in England, quickly spread to the French and Russian courts. These beads were set into walking sticks, buckles, buttons, and hilts like this fine example made by Thomas Prosser, an eminent cutler in Bloomsbury, London.

The decorations added a bedazzling effect as flickering candlelight reflected off the hilt in dimly lit rooms. Caricatures from the period lampoon this flashy style by showing a lady overcome by the bright light emitting from a gentleman’s cut-steel accessories.


On View, Gallery 239


Applied Arts of Europe


Thomas Prosser (Craftsperson)


Smallsword and Scabbard


England (Object made in)


Made 1775–1795


Steel, two gold alloys, gilding, brass, parchment, and wood


101 × 10.2 cm (39 3/4 × 4 in.)

Credit Line

Pauline Seipp Armstrong Fund, through prior acquisition of the George F. Harding Collection

Reference Number


IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

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Extended information about this artwork

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