Pattern 1796 Light Cavalry Saber (Officer)

18th C. English
Oakeshott Collection, Catalogue Number: OC044

A particularly beautiful example, this sword is one of two Pattern 1796 Light Cavalry Saber in the Oakeshott collection. It is in very good condition, and retains its original scabbard and sword knot.

Created in an attempt to help standardize swords among British cavalry units, the form of this sword represents a departure from the previous attempt in the Pattern 1788. The sword has a heavily curved blade ending in a broad, thin tip. It was designed to mimic Hungarian Sabers at the time, in an effort to improve handling and cutting capabilities. The hilt is composed of a straight grip ending in a curved pommel, with a simple stirrup hilt.

A closer look at the grip shows it is wrapped in shark-skin, which in turn is bound with wire. The backstrap runs from the crossguard up and around the base of the pommel, where it meets the stirrup. The stirrup has a simple cutout where a sword knot can be attached. The crossguard has one quillon protecting the thumb, as well as two rounded langets.

The blade is highly decorated, with a blued background ending in scroll work towards the first third of the blade. Over the bluing is a series of intricate gilt details, including a collection of arms, a Royal Cypher, Royal Coat of Arms, and a mounted cavalryman with his saber drawn.

The fuller ends several inches before the tip, resulting in the final section of the blade being exceptionally broad and narrow, perfect for large cutting motions.

The scabbard is of a simple metal construction, with two suspension rings allowing for easy mounting of the sword.

Often sabers were worn with a sword knot attached to either the front or the back of the guard. These would be a loop of cloth, cord, or leather several inches long, terminating in a weighted end. When slipped over the hand, this would help reduce the likelihood of losing the weapon in the ever changing environment of combat.

This particular sword knot is composed of a long leather thong, weighted with a leather ball and tassel. There is also a small leather ring slipped around the thong to allow the knot to be tightened around the wrist.

This sword differs from the Trooper Variant of the Pattern 1796 Light Cavalry Saber, with a lighter blade and more ornate construction.

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