Starting in the 16th Century, canes and walking sticks became extremely popular, first among royalty and nobility, and by the 19th and 20th Centuries having worked their way down to the middle classes as a symbol of status. This example is exceptionally stately, featuring an antique ivory handle masterfully relief carved in the form of a fully armoured knight standing atop a plinth, his shield held above his head. The shield is carved with the words "HONI SOIT QUI MAI Y PENSE" around the edge. The inscription is in Anglo-Norman language, a dialect spoken by the medieval ruling class of England, and translates to "Evil to who evil thinks," or loosely "Shame on anyone who thinks evil of it." This quote is associated with the British monarchy and thus identifies the knight of English royalty. This cane was possibly made for royalty. Attached to the handle is a 22 1/8 inch, thin, rapier-like blade that is retained within the shaft with a small spring. The shaft is of heavily knotted hardwood with an antiqued finish and has a brass ferrule at the tip.
Very fine, the antique ivory showing an attractive lightly aged appearance, the blade mostly a bright grey patina with some scattered light pitting and oxidation, a few hairline cracks in the shaft, and attractive antique patina on the brass.