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).
Christie, Manson & Woods. Celebrated Assemblage of Works of Art and Vertu, Known as the Shandon Collection, Fourth Portion. London: Christie, Manson & Woods, 1877. no. 3103.
Exposition Nationale, Ive Section, Industries D'art En Belgique, Antérieurs Au Xixe Siècle: Catalogue Officiel. Bruxelles: Typographie Ve Ch. Vanderauwera, 1880. no. I 261.
Dean, Bashford. Catalogue of European Court Swords and Hunting Swords: Including the Ellis, De Dino, Riggs, and Reubell Collections. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1929. p. 56, no. 117, pl. LXXXV.
Davis, Frank. "The Royal Navy's Darkest Hour." Country Life 136 (April 23, 1964). p. 976.
Blair, Claude. Three Presentation Swords in the Victoria and Albert Museum, and a Group of English Enamels. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1972. p. 47, no. 18.
Norman, A. V. B., and C. M. Barne. The Rapier and Small-Sword, 1460–1820. London: Arms and Armour Press, 1980. p. 207.
Nickel, Helmut. "Arms and Armor from the Permanent Collection." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 49, no. 1 (Summer 1991). pp. 39, 64, ill.
Southwick, Leslie. "New Facts About James Morisset and a Revised List of His Known Works, With Others by his Successors John Ray and James Montague." The Journal of the Arms and Armor Society 15, no. 6 (Sept. 1997). pp. 328–29, no. 25.
Smith, Robert Douglas, and Stuart W. Pyhrr, ed. ICOMAM 50: Papers on Arms and Military History, 1957–2007. Leeds: Basiliscoe Press, 2007. pp. 171–206, figs. 25–28.
Wood Stephen. "... in Defence of the Commerce of Great Britain ... A Group of Swords Presented to Officers of the British Royal Navy in the 1790s." In ICOMAM 50: Papers on Arms and Military History, 1957–2007, edited by Robert Douglas Smith, and Stuart W. Pyhrr. Leeds: Basiliscoe Press, 2007. pp. 171–206, figs. 25–28.