English smallsword hilts in gold or silver-gilt, set with colored enamels, were the specialty of the London goldsmith James Morisset. The majority were created for presentation to British naval officers during the Napoleonic wars. This example is inscribed on the underside of the shell: "The Committee of Merchants of London presented this sword to Lieutenᵗ John Burn for his active and spirited conduct on board His M.S. the Beaulieu during the late mutiny at the Nore in 1797. Hugh Inglish Esq., Chairman."
Ex .coll.: Shandon (Napier).
Norman, A. V. B., and C. M. Barne. The Rapier and Small-Sword, 1460–1820. London: Arms and Armour Press, 1980.
Nickel, Helmut. "Arms and Armor From the Permanent Collection." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 49, no. 1 (Summer 1991). pp. 39, 64, ill.