Attributed to James Morisset British
Signed AT, probably for Simon Augustin Toussaint British
This hilt is closely related to a number of English snuffboxes and other small gold objects set with Neoclassical enamels in grisaille. The enamel with Hercules strangling the Nemean Lion (on the reverse of the grip) is signed AT, probably for Augustin Toussaint, a miniaturist and enameler. Toussaint was the nephew of the goldsmith James Morisset, who made two enameled presentation swords in the Metropolitan Museums' collection (26.145.315, 42.50.35). Unlike the presentation swords, however, this example is much freer in design and more lavish in ornament. The enamels are copied after English engravings of Classical cameos and gems.