This sword was presented in 1814 by passengers on board the packet ship the 'Duke of Marlborough' to Mr William Macdonnell, the ship's Master.

Its inscription records that it was awarded for gallant conduct under his Captain, John Bull, in action against the British Royal Navy frigate the 'Primrose' in a wartime friendly fire incident in the Bay of Biscay in March 1814. As with other swords of the Napoleonic War period it is decorated with appropriately nationalistic and heroic symbolism such as a British lion-head pommel and engravings of Neptune and the Labours of Hercules.


Private collection; Bonham's.

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