This is a special and rare item of military history. It is a sabretache, most likely for regimental ceremonial (full dress) use rather than in service. It has the typical shape and form of these items with intricate gold bullion decoration on black baize framed with a wide gilt ribbon. This is then attached to a leather frame which has its complete leather pouch at the back and three leather straps with brass buckles at the top for attachment to longer leather straps coming from a belt. The decoration on the front is of raised bullion and is full of symbolism. At the top is the crest which is the representation of the Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom with the words in Latin, ‘HONI SOIT QUI MAL Y PENSE’ (interpreted as ‘May he be shamed who thinks badly of it’ or as ‘Shame be to him who thinks evil of it’). Below this are the words ‘DIEU ET MON DROT’ (‘God and my right’). Below this is the word ‘UBIQUE’ (‘Everywhere’) and below that sprays of oak leaves with a central feature of a cannon and further words below, ‘QUO FAS ET GLORIA DUCUNT’ (“Where Right and Glory Lead’) . In 1833, the Gunners were granted these two mottos. This is therefore confirmation of this item being associated with the British Royal Artillery Regiment. The flap at the back is held in position by an additional tab and button and when lifted reveals a pocket. Both the pocket and the back of the item are marked for Joseph Lyons, Army Contractor et. One of these has a stamp for this maker at the address of 12 & 13 Artillery Place, Woolwich and both are signed, presumably by the owner, H McLeod R.A. The condition of this item shows use and age. Some of the gold bullion thread is rubbed but it is still mainly possible to read the words. The leather straps at the top show wear and the pouch at the back, although all present, is fragile with some splitting of the leather. There are two moth nips on the baize which can be seen in the images. Despite this, this sabretache is a rare survivor and of historical significance. The history of the sabretache: The sabretache apparently derives from the traditional Hungarian horseman’s flat leather bag. They became popular in the early 18th century and then became worn by the Hussar Cavalry. The name sabretache came from the word ‘TACHE’ meaning pocket. Its purpose was to hold delivery orders and despatches. They continued to be popular until the end of the 19th century but some regiments still wear them for ceremonial occasions. Length without straps 14 ins (35.5cm), width 11.75 ins (30cm). Weight 980 grams. This item appears in my book, “Antique Boxes, Inside and Out” on page 206.
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