Original British 1898 Battle of Omdurman 21st Lancers Named Horse Hoof Silver Inkwell

Item Description

Original Item: One-of-a-kind. In 1898 the 21st Lancers served in Sudan during the Mahdist War, as the only British cavalry unit involved. It was there that the full regiment charged with lances in the classic cavalry style during the Battle of Omdurman in September 1898. Of less than 400 men involved in the charge 70 were killed and wounded and the regiment won three Victoria Crosses. These three were Private Thomas Byrne, Lieutenant Raymond de Montmorency and Captain Paul Kenna. This spectacular encounter earned considerable public attention and praise for the regiment, though it was also criticized as a costly and unnecessary anachronism - since the 2,000 Dervish spearmen dispersed by the 21st Lancers could have been destroyed by rifle fire with few if any British losses. Winston Churchill (then an officer of the 4th Hussars), rode with the unit.

"Omdurman" was the regiment's only battle honor, giving rise to the satirical regimental motto of "thou shalt not kill." That same year, the regiment was given the title 21st (Empress of India's) Lancers, taking the name from Queen Victoria who was the Empress of India.

This Horse's hoof Inkwell mounted in what appears to be silver but is could also be silver plate is beautifully made and marked by ROWLAND WARD & CO, NATURALISTS, 166 PICCADILLY, W.

James Rowland Ward (1848-1912) was a British taxidermist and founder of the firm Rowland Ward Limited of Piccadilly, London. The company specialized in and was renowned for its taxidermy work on birds and big-game trophies, but it did other types of work as well. In creating many practical items from antlers, feathers, feet, skins, and tusks, the Rowland Ward company made fashionable items from animal parts, such as zebra-hoof inkwells, antler furniture, and elephant-feet umbrella stands.

Rowland Ward was also a well-known publisher of natural history books and big-game hunting narratives. The most famous and enduring Rowland Ward Ltd. product is the Records of Big Game series of books, which started in 1892 and is now in its twenty-ninth edition (2014). These books contain measurements of game animals from all over the world and is the oldest such series of books in existence.

On the surface of the folding lid is the engraved inscription (somewhat faded):



Captain Brooke of the 21st Lancers took part in the Battle of Omdurman against the Dervish hordes of the "Kalifa" the heir to the "Mardi" that killed General Gordon and his entire garrison at KARTOUM in 1885. This Cavalry Charge is considered the last ever undertaken by the British Army.

We suspect this came from the 21st Lancer's officer mess in that it came with a second example engraved to another Officer who took part in the same engagement. The second example is made as a candlestick and is offered for sale separately.

Wonderful quality, by a famous London Maker, commemorating a truly historical event.

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