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Sword and Scabbard

Artist/Maker:
Warner, Andrew Ellicott ||Warner, Thomas
Place Made:
Baltimore Maryland United States of America
Date Made:
1805-1812
Medium:
silver –ivory –gilt –brass
Dimensions:
LOA 39-1/4″
Accession Number:
3127
Description:
DESCRIPTION: Silver, ivory and gilt-mounted presentation sword. Blade in half-blued original state, decorated with gilt incisions with sylized Turk’s head (French type hallmark device). Blade also inscribed “Liberty and Independence” on one side and the reverse with “1783” and an American eagle with sixteen stars below the motto “E Pluribus Unum.” The scabbard, of heavy guage copper single sheet construction, is overlaid with gold, decorated with Greco-Roman devices. The ivory carved grip is backed with gilded silver terminating in an eagle’s head with the large bulbous beak. The knuckle bow is decorated with a bust of Liberty on a feathered herm. The makers mark, “T. & A.E. WARNER,” is twice stamped on the quillon. Originally two languettes extended from the underside of the quillon, one is now missing.

BLADE: The sabre type steel blade is probably of French manufacture for export to America. The scabbard is stylistically based on a French Cuirassier officer’s sword of circa 1805.

MAKER: Thomas Warner (1780-1828) and his youger brother Andrew Ellicott Warner Sr. (1786-1870) were part of the prolific Warner family of silversmiths that worked in Baltimore, Maryland for the entire span of the nineteenth century. The family’s patriarch, Cuthbert Warner (1753-1822) moved from Pennsylvania to Baltimore and was listed in city directories as a watch- and clockmaker from 1799 until 1812. In addition to clockmaking, he provided the traditional services of a silversmith. Following in Cuthbert’s footsteps as a silversmith were his sons, Thomas, Andrew Ellicott, and John (1795-d.c.1846), as well as grandsons Joseph (1811-1862) and Andrew Ellicott Jr. (1813-1896).
Thomas Warner first appears as a silversmith in the 1803 Baltimore directory working at 64 North Gay Street. In 1805 he formed a partnership with his younger brother, Andrew Ellicott Warner Sr. and two worked together for the next seven years until Thomas joined the military to fight in the War of 1812. He joined Captain Stephen Moore’s U.S. Volunteers of Baltimore, commissioned as an ensign. The company saw action during the Great Lakes Campaign and at some point Warner was wounded and lost his left leg. He returned to Baltimore by November 1813 and advertised that he had returned to his trade. Although disabled, Warner aided in the defense of Baltimore’s Fort McHenry and North Point in 1814. After the war Warner was made Baltimore’s first city assayer under the Silver Purity Act, a post he would serve until 1823. He is credited with creating the system of marks used by the office through the 1830s. While holding the office of assayer, Warner was not allowed to practice his craft; however in 1827, a year before his death, he was listed again as a silversmith working at 9 Fayette Street.
Andrew Ellicott Warner Sr. (1786-1870) was one of Baltimore’s most celebrated silversmiths. He also participated in the War of 1812, commissioned as a captain in the Maryland Militia, and took part in the Battle of North Point in 1814. He continued to work in the partners’ former shop at 5 Gay Street until his death in 1870. Warner was a skilled craftsman and provided stiff competition for Samuel Kirk (1793-1872) during the second quarter of the nineteenth century and contributed to the popularity of silver work featuring excessive repousse ornamentation that defined Baltimore silver during most of the century.
See Gary Albert, “Silver and Gold: A Pair of Officer’s Swords Marked by Thomas and Andrew Ellicott Warner of Baltimore, Journal of Early Southern Decorative Arts, Vol. 32, No. 1 (Summer 2006), 48-52; available online: https://archive.org/details/journalofearlyso301321muse (accessed 6 June 2017) and Jennifer Faulds Goldsborough, “Silver in Maryland” (Baltimore, MD: Maryland Historical Society, 1983).

Credit Line:
MESDA Purchase Fund