Lot 69 (Weapons & Militaria, 18th May 2017)
Sold for £26,000
Fine and rare Lloyd's Patriotic Fund sword and belt of 100 Guinea value, awarded to Henry Lambert Esq. Captain of H.M.S. St. Fiorenzo, presented in 1805. The ormolu hilt of classical inspiration - the quillons formed as fasces, the knuckle bow as the club of Hercules entwined by a serpent, the pommel as the skin of the Nemean lion, the grip of finely chequered ivory, the langets cast with Naval trophies, the ormolu scabbard engraved with oak leaves on its top edge and with cast and chased elaborate Naval Medalslions on each side including Britannia with inscription 'St. Fiorenzo 1805' above, Hercules and the Hydra, the Nemean lion and open panels of Naval trophies on blue velvet inserts, two coiled serpent suspension loops - the top edge of the locket engraved 'R. Teed, Sword Cutlers, Lancaster Court, Strand' - the exterior retaining 95% of its original gilded finish - the curved single edged blade has sadly been heavily polished and now only bears faint remnants of gilding and blued finish and as a result lacks its presentation inscription but retains its engraved decoration - including 'H L' (Henry Lambert) monogram, figures of Britannia and Victory, the 1801 - 1816 Royal Arms, Naval trophies, dolphins, wreaths, etc, down its entire length. The sword is complete with its original ormolu mounted belt of blue leather faced on velvet and bullion work with interlocking buckle decorated with Britannia fighting the Hydra above 'Patriotic Fund 1803', lion's head bosses and twin suspension straps with sprung hooks. Also sold with this lot is a late Victorian ivorine plaque engraved with the missing presentation inscription - 'Presented by Messrs Lloyds of London To Henry Lambert CaptN. of H.M.S. St. Fiorenzo for his Bravery and skill in the Capture of the French National Frigate ''Psyche'' of 36 Guns and 240 Men on the 14th Feb 1805 after a close action of 3 hours 20 minutes.' Captain Henry Lambert R.N. was a British Naval hero whose real life exploits read like a Horatio Hornblower novel. A monument in St. Paul's Cathedral deservedly commemorates him as a Naval hero and his loss in battle in 1812 fighting the American frigate Constitution. A contemporary account of the action which led the presentation of the Lloyds 100 Guinea sword is as follows:- On February 13th, the thirty-six gun frigate ''San Fiorenza'', Captain H. Lambert, discovered three ships at anchor near Vizagapatam. These were the ''Psyche'', thirty-two, Captain Bergeret and two sail, her prizes, which immediately weighed and made off, pursued by the ''San Fiorenza''. After a chase of thirty-six hours, Captain Lambert came up with one of the ships, which he re-captured. Leaving a midshipman in charge of the prize, Lambert stool after the frigate and her companion, which he found had been the ''Pigeon'' but was now the ''Equivoque'' privateer, of ten guns and forty men, commanded by one of Captain Bergeret's lieutenants. Soon after eight p.m., the ''San Fiorenza'' got within gunshot of the French frigate and a hot action commenced, the ''Equivoque'' occasionally taking a part, which lasted till half-past eleven p.m., when the ''San Fiorenza'' hauled off to repair her rigging. A half an hour later, Captain Lambert bore up to renew the contest but just as he was about to re-open fire, a boat came from the ''Psyche'' to say that from motives of humanity Captain Bergeret had surrendered, although he might have continued the action much longer. On boarding the captured ship the cause of her striking was evident. Her second Captain, two lieutenants and fifty-four men lay dead on her deck and seventy officers and men were wounded. The ''San Fiorenza'' had a midshipman and eleven men killed and her master, two officers and thirty-three men wounded. Though nominally, almost of equal force, the ''San Fiorenza'' was a larger vessel than the ''Psyche'' and the weight of her broadside almost double that of her opponent. Captain Lambert's brilliant career ended when he received a mortal musket ball wound to the chest whilst commanding H.M.S. Java against the larger American frigate The U.S.S. Constitution which captured the Java in a bitter battle on 29th December 1812. He died from his wound on 4th January 1813 in Salvador, Brazil and was buried with full military honours. Sold with research and contemporary accounts of his Naval actions. Provenance: Purchased by Philip Southgate from Peter Dale Ltd. Pall Mall, London, in May 1984 - having swapped a number of guns, swords and helmets to the value of £7,000 for it
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