Luxury Design, Past & Present
A fine presentation sword given to Lieutenant Charles Peake as a token of gratitude by the Men of His Ship when recommissioned for Foreign Service in 1821, the citation reading, the curved hatchet point blade etched along its entire length with naval and martial motifs, a crowned garter, Neptune, the allegorical figure of Hope, and the dedication reading ‘Presented by the seamen of His Majesty’s Ship Euryalus to Lieunt Charles Peake; as a token of their esteem and gratitude: XXVIIIth Augst MDCCCXXI’, all amid foliate scrolls; the gilt copper stirrup hilt with lion’s head pommel, triangular langets with swagged and tied edges and displaying the stern of a ship in relief, border engraved cross piece with scrolling acanthus terminal, ornate knuckle bow in the form of winged Victory, wire bound horn grip; part scabbard of black leather with heavy gilt copper mounts and engraved in a plaque ‘Fiske late Read Portsmouth’, the locket and band well engraved with scrolls and arms against a seeded ground, each set with an oval medallion depicting Hope (locket) and Hercules fighting the Nemean Lion (band), and each with a suspension bracket in the form of a writhing dolphin (retaining the swivel clips from the belt, lower part of scabbard missing). English, 1821.
Literature: The presentation of this sword in 1821 (together with a silver vase) is recorded by William O’Byrne, ‘Naval Biographical Dictionary’ Vol 2′ and his career history is written in full.
Footnote: The design of the sword clearly inspired by the £100 Lloyds Patriotic Fund swords-in particular the elaborate suspension rings on the scabbard and the compartmentalised decoration. This sword, however, was an individual commission rather than part of a larger scheme. The sword was presented to Lieutenant Charles Peake by the crew of the ship Euryalus when it was successfully recommissioned for foreign service in 1821. Peake had taken temporary charge of the ship that year and his shipmates’ gratitude was very clear as, in addition to this wonderful sword, he was given a beautiful presentation silver cup which is in the museum of the dockyard where Euryalus was built – Buckler’s Hard Museum in Hampshire.
PEAKE. (Lieutenant, 1814. f-p., 10; h-p., 30.)
Charles Peake was born 25 July, 1793, and died 2 Jan. 1847.
This officer entered the Navy, 26 Jan. 1807, as Fst.-cl. Vol., on board the Vestal 28, Capt. Edwards Lloyd Graham; under whom, until paid off in April, 1810, he was constantly employed in the Channel and North Sea, among the Western Islands, and at Newfoundland. He assisted during that period at the capture, with a large number of merchant-vessels, of L’Intrépide privateer of 20 guns and 125 men, and was on several occasions intrusted with the charge of a prize. In May, 1810, he became Midshipman (a rating he had attained in June, 1809) of the Pallas 32, commanded at first by Capt. Graham, and subsequently by Capts. Pringle Stoddart and Geo. Paris Monke. In command of one of the boats belonging to that ship Mr. Peake, while cruising on the coast of Norway, assisted in taking, at one time, two Danish privateers, mounting respectively 6 and 5 guns; and, at another, two Danish cutters. The Pallas being wrecked off St. Abb’s Head 18 Dec. 1810, he again, in the following Feb., joined Capt. Graham on board the Alcmène 38, fitting for the Mediterranean station, where he was soon afforded an opportunity of participating in much detached service. On 22 May, 1812, in particular, we find him (the Alcmène being at the time on a cruize to the Adriatic) present, in command of the Captain’s 6-oared gig, in a most gallant but sanguinary attack made by four boats, under Lieut. Edw. Saurin, upon an enemy’s armed convoy, the result of which was the capture of one of their principal vessels, after nearly the whole of the crew had been either killed or wounded. The slaughter on the part of the British was likewise dreadful – the pinnace alone sustaining a loss of at least 20 officers and men killed and wounded. Mr. Peake afterwards assisted at the cutting out of a vessel from under a battery; at the capture of a French national schooner, La Flêche, of 12 guns; and at the further cutting out, on the coast of Corsica, of two polacres and a xebec. On leaving the Alcmène, which ship had been latterly commanded by Capt. Jeremiah Coghlan, he was received, 6 March, 1814, on board the Caledonia 120, bearing the flag of Sir Edw. Pellew, by whom, after witnessing the fall of Genoa, he was nominated, 27 April in the same year, Acting-Lieutenant of a 74-gun ship of that name, commanded by Capt. Arthur Stow. On 1 July following his promotion was confirmed. He went on half-pay in Nov. 1814; and was next, 3 July, 1818, appointed to the Euryalus 42, Capts. Thos. Huskisson and Wilson Braddyll Bigland. On 27 Sept. 1820, having risen to the post of First-Lieutenant, Mr. Peake was appointed by the former officer, who had become Commodore on the Jamaica station, to the command of the Bann sloop, rendered vacant by the death of Capt. Stow of the Tamar, and the removal to that ship of the commander of the Bann. On the arrival, however, of the latter vessel at Halifax, Rear-Admiral Griffith, the Commander-in-Chief, also thought proper to fill up the vacancy. This fact being communicated to the Commodore, he forthwith wrote to the Admiralty, requesting that their Lordships would not suffer him to be deprived of the patronage which so justly belonged to him, the vacancy having occurred while the Tamar was within the limits of his station. Unwilling to grant the request, the Board superseded all the appointments that had taken place, and gave the command of the Tamar to an officer then in England; at the same time paying off the sloop he commanded, in order to avoid promoting either of the Lieutenants selected by the Commodore and Rear-Admiral. Mr. Peake subsequently commanded the Euryalus for a short period; and on the paying off of that ship in Aug. 1821 was presented by the crew with a handsome silver vase and cover, together with a sword and belt, as a testimony of their “gratitude and esteem.” Unsuccessful in his endeavours to procure employment, he remained thenceforward on half-pay.
Euryalus was built at Buckler’s Hard by George Adams in 1803 and first saw action in October of 1804, participating in an attack on the French vessels near the pier in Boulogne.
On the 22nd of February 1805 she played a part in the capture of the vessel St Jose.
Euryalus was too small to play a major role at Trafalgar but was involved in towing the damaged Royal Sovereign in order to turn her and engage the French vessel Formidable. After the death of Nelson, Euryalus was the British flagship for 10 days under the command of Admiral Cuthbert Collingwood.
After a considerable amount of time in the Mediterranean and further action in the war of 1812 the vessel eventually served as the flagship in the Leeward Islands from 1819-1820 and then transported Sir William Hamilton, the famous collector, connoisseur and British Ambassador to Naples. She was broken up at Deptford in 1825.
The Presentation of the Sword
The London Sun newspaper carried the following piece on the presentation of the sword on the 3rdof September 1821.
We indebted to the Buckler’s Hard Museum for further details of Charles’ early life. He was the son of Richard Peake (1757-1829) who worked as Treasurer at the Drury Lane Theatre in London for 40 years and was a close friend of Brinsley Sheridan, playwright. Charles brother was Richard Brinsley Peake the playwright and author of ‘Presumption, the Fate of Frankenstein’, published in 1823.
Lymington SO41 9BB