The Highland Broad Sword

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Thomas Rowlandson (1756-1827), Highland Broad Sword: As Practiced by the Dismounted Troops of the Light Horse Volunteers of London and Westminster ([London]: Henry Angelo, 1799). 56 x 39 cm. Graphic Arts Rowlandson 1798.11

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This large color etching with aquatint contains 150 figures drawn by Thomas Rowlandson depicting the various positions in the use of the Highland broad sword. Graphic Arts is fortunate to hold two copies, which shows us the coloring differed greatly from copy to copy. Each sheet was folded to fit into a paper slipcase measuring 17 x 14 cm.

The images depict the ten lessons (or “set play” sequences) of fencing as dictated by Henry Angelo (1756-1835) and followed by the Guards of the Light Horse Volunteers of London and Westminster. Angelo ran a fencing academy on Old Bond Street and financed the publication (which is still followed today

Later the same year, Angelo also published a training manual for cavalrymen entitled Hungarian and Highland Broadsword (Rowlandson 1798.12f). That volume includes twenty-four color plates, also designed by Angelo’s good friend Thomas Rowlandson.

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