A miniature enamel gem-set gold scimitar, circa 1600.

The steel blade of this exquisite little scimitar is mounted with a gold hilt and set within a scabbard decorated on a black ground with C-scrolls and set with cabochon turquoises, 6.4cm long.

The scimitar is thought to be either German or Austrian.

It came to Burghley as part of a massive bequest from Elizabeth, Countess of Devonshire (1619-1689), to her daughter Anne, Countess of Exeter (1649-1703).

The bequest is recorded in an inventory known as the 1690 Devonshire Schedule, or Deed of Gift, which lists: ‘A little Cymeter sett with Turquoise and part of the Chaine to it.’


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