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).
Exposition nationale 1880. IVe Section: Industries d'art en Belgique au XIXe siècle. Bruxelles, No. I 261.
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, 6, XV vol. XV, no 6, pp. 313–350, no. 17, 25, 26.
Napier, Robert. Collection, sale catalogue, April 11-12, May 14-18, June 4-7, 11-12, 1877 (arms and armor June 11). Christie, Manson & Woods, London, 1877. no. 3103.
Mann, James G., A. V. B. Norman, and Frank Davis. "The Royal Navy's Darkest Hour." Country Life (1964). vol. 136, p. 976.
Blair, Claude. Three presentation swords in the Vicoria and Albert Museum, and a group of English enamels (Victoria and Albert Museum Brochure 1). London, 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.