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This superb British 1803 Pattern rifle infantry officer's sword is etched with initials JW and the family crest in the form of leopard's head cut through its left side with a scimitar, the crest of the Wadmore family, to which it was granted in 1602. The sword belonged to James Wadmore, captain of the St.Pancras Volunteers, a London-raised infantry regiment.
James Wadmore was born in 1782 to a humble old noble family. Family name Wadmore originated from the Old Miclehead, Lancashire family Watmough. James entered into land-surveying trade as a young man, and became very wealthy through land deals and inheritance. He became a well respected London collector of paintings, and eventually amassed a collection which was unrivaled in his day. It contained paintings by Veronese, Leonardo Da Vinci, Caracci, Ruysdael, Rembrandt, Van Dyke, and, notably, several very large paintings by Turner. Upon his death, Christie's sold his collection of paintings and engravings for a remarkable sum of money by contemporary standards. Many of Wadmore's paintings are now in the best museums of the world.
Captain Wadmore's service with the St.Pancras Volunteers fell upon the years of Napoleonic Wars. He enlisted as an ensign, and eventually became the captain of the regiment, and its de facto commander. The sword, made by Henry Osborn, features a superbly decorated 72 cm long blade. The quality and detail of the blade etchings is second to none. Magnificent and crisp decorations run from the ricasso all the way to the foible, on both sides of the blade. With its original tassel and sword knot in the St.Pancras regimental colors, in its original gilt scabbard, the sword is an amazing testament to the work of one of the best British cutlers of the Napoleonic period.