The iron hilt with birds head pommel, shaped knuckle guard from the forward cross guard terminal joining the beaked pommel in a leaf spray, remains of koftgari work, earlier slender watered steel Sind curved single edge Damascus blade with long gold inscription on both sides of the blade, translated ‘Sword of Akbar, presented to Major Robert McPherson by the King of Delhi for his dedicated service to His Majesty Akbar 1817’, the wooden scabbard with two steel hanger mounts and steel chape, faded green velvet cover embroidered with panels of scroll work with its matching sword belt in the European manner, comprising of a buckle of Meena work inset with dark blue and green enamel and a series of enamel white metal mounts with flower heads of blue enamel, of a type from Jaipur, the belt material of faded embroidered cloth with lozenge decoration throughout its length (31 inch blade).
Formerly at Glentruim and the Macpherson family, by descent
Major Robert Macpherson The Younger of Banchor (1774-1823)
Robert Macpherson was the 3rd son of Andrew Macpherson of Banchor and his wife Isabel/Isabella, eldest daughter of George Macpherson of Invershie; he was born in Kingussie in 1774.
Appointed a cadet in the military service of the East India Company in 1794, he arrived in India on 5th January 1796 and was commissioned ensign in the 17th Bengal Native Infantry on 27th October 1795, being promoted lieutenant on 25th April 1797. He first saw active service on operations in the Jumna Doab in 1803 and was promoted captain on 27th February 1805. His next active service was during the Second Mahratta War, during which he participated in the battle of Aligarh, the battle for and defence of Delhi and the pursuit of Holkar, 1805-06. Given the brevet rank of major in the Bengal Army on 4th June 1814, he saw active service in the Nepal War of 1814-15.
In 1815, he was appointed commandant of the Royal Guard of Akbar II, King of Delhi, whose principal seat was the Palace of Delhi. He held that appointment until his death, in Delhi, on 5th January 1823. On 22nd January 1817, he was promoted major in the 17th Bengal Native Infantry.
Macpherson never married and in his will, made in Delhi on 11th April 1822 and proved on 16th July 1823, he left his entire estate to his widowed mother, thence in annuities to two unmarried sisters and thereafter to three nephews. In a specific bequest made in his will, he stated"
‘It is my wish that my Gold watch, all my Seals, and the Sword with the Persian inscription on the Blade of it presented to me by the Royal Family of Delhi, as also the Firmann Presented to me by His Majesty Ackbar the Second, King of Delhi, be sent to England to my Dear Mother, Mrs Isabella Macpherson.
Hodson, V.C.P.: List of Officers of the Bengal Army 1758-1834 (London, 1946), Vol. III, p. 197;
Will of Robert Macpherson; British Library; British India Office Wills and Administrations; reference L-AG-34-29035, page 242 (Wills, Bengal, 1780-1938).
Akbar II, King of Delhi (22 April 1760 – 28 September 1837), also known as Akbar Shah II, was the penultimate Mughal emperor of India. He reigned from 1806 to 1837. He was the second son of Shah Alam II and the father of Bahadur Shah II.’
Lyon & Turnbull wish to thank Stephen Wood esq. for his research into the history of this sword.