... The Émigré royaliste ...

To an exceptional piece, an exceptional story. This front lock knife was the property of a French monarchist emigrant who had fled the Revolution and especially the terror of 1793 and 1794. Marked " Humblot in Berlin ", it had been quite surely conceived by Humblot Ainé, a famous cutler in Nogent (in the east of France), quoted in Camille Pagé’s encyclopedia as well as in the “Almanac du commerce” of Sebastien Bottin in 1830. "Berlin" is probably an apocryphal inscription or at least it is posterior to the making of the knife, which seems to have taken place in Nogent, cradle of the fine cutlery industry at that time and place of residence of Humblot. We have decided to recreate this knife which is, according to us, a unique piece, because like all the ancient models which we have realized so far, it has a certain number of criterions we consider necessary for the starting up of a new study. By this we mean that it possesses an indisputable historic interest, an aesthetics and a remarkable sobriety of lines, and finally one or several technical difficulties susceptible to bring us to the rediscovery of old know-how that have now disappeared.
The Royalist Emigrant knife meets perfectly these three requirements. A knife of mourning but also a signal of recognition among monarchists in exile, it has a black side in tortoise shell decorated with a silver medallion, engraved "The King is dead" and showing a shot phœnix whereas three bows of silver in the form of tears underline the sadness of such an event. The other side is made of mammoth, also inlaid with an engraved medallion " Long live the King " and where we discover a resuscitated phœnix taking its flight towards a new fate. The famous myth of the phoenix, represented here by the engraving, was associated with the strong opposition of both materials : mammoth and tortoise shell.This as a whole represents quite clearly the profoundly long-lasting nature of the monarchy. This knife is like a real book on the history of its time, and thus it helps us to understand our own present time. According to us it is also a real aesthetic success, and words are very poor when it comes to describe the sobriety of the lines, the balance of the volumes or even the extreme sensuality to the touch... You have to see and feel for yourself.
As for the making, it was for us the occasion to rediscover some brainwaves which allowed this devil of Humblot to combine on the same knife such antagonistic characteristics like the very big length of the handle and the blade, associated to the extreme delicacy of some of the components or also like the fact of putting inside such a small and considerably limited space (because once this wide blade is folded there isn’t much room left) for such a complicated mechanism, that is a front lock system.Then again the ingenuity and the genius of the cutlers of the XVIIIth leave us stunned with amazement but also enriched with new but so ancient techniques. But this is some business between them and ourselves, a cutlers story...
Lenght open : 27 cm, closed : 14.5 cm