Manceaux was a notable French arms manufacturer who was known to make fine presentation weapons in Asian styles.
Manceaux a Paris engraved on the scabbard mouth of an Ottoman style knife.
History of Manceaux
Originally from Versailles, they set up shop in Paris around 1806.
I currently know of at least two generations, Joseph-Francois Manceaux and his son Francois Jules Manceaux. Both father and son successfully applied for several patents to the design of arms and armor, from scabbards to breech loading firing mechanisms and helmets. Francois Jules Monceaux alone held some 20 patents.
Apart from innovation and manufacture of arms, Joseph-Francois Manceaux operated a depot in Paris for the Klingenthal factory. Manceaux held the sole productions rights for a saber of distinction awarded to graduating students of the prestigious École Spéciale Militaire in Saint-Cyr from 1822.
The King's workshops
From 1838 to 1872 Francois Jules Manceaux did work for the king's workshops, the Royal Manufacture d'Armes in Tulle. Various lavish examples of presentation pieces by Manceaux are known to exist, mostly made in the 1830's and 1840's. One of the more notable pieces he made was a set of pistols in box from the King of France to British naval hero Lord Cochrane, in 1843. It features the names of the King, the receiver, and the maker Manceaux, suggesting he was of considerable repute at the time.
Asian presentation arms
Manceaux's presentation arms manufacturing side of the business seemed to have a considerable focus on items in Ottoman aesthetics, intended for an Ottoman or North African market. We know of several nearly identical knives and sabers to be in existence.
An impressive interpretation of an Ottoman style dagger by Manceaux of Paris.
Following Ottoman Balkan aesthetics, the workmanship is considerably finer than most Ottoman examples.
Manceaux presentation firearms
Set of pistols in box from the King of France to Lord Cochrane, 1843
A magnificent set of presentation pistols by Manceaux were listed in the September 11 sale of Rock Island Auctions. They were made on order of Louis Philippe, King of France, for presentation to no less than Thomas Cochrane, in 1843. Cochrane was a remarkable figure and one of Britains greatest naval heroes. The set bears the names of the king, Cochrane, and Manceaux, illustrating just how high of standing Manceaux was in the presentation arms manufacturing scene.
Set of pistols in box from Prince Napoleon to a certain "Mohammed bel Heidie", 1852
Another pair of presentation pistols by Manceaux was displayed in the 1988 exhibition in Paris named Splendeur des armes Orientales and published in their catalog. The lid of its box carries a brass plate with the text: "Le Prince L. Napoléon à Si Mohammed bel Heidie and the date of May 16, 1852.
This set carries the inscription Manceaux à Paris in gold on the side of the locks and silver marks by J. F. Monier of Paris. Jean Frédéric Monier started his goldsmithing business in Paris in 1826 at 8 de la rue Basse Saint Pierre in Paris. They were thought to be made in the 1840's.1
A combination weapon
And finally, a presentation grade Dumonthier patent percussion pistol / dagger combination has turned up with Manceaux signature. It was sold by Thomas Del Mar Antique Arms, Armour & Militaria, London, Wednesday 29th June 2011. Lot 419.
Ottoman style presentation sabers
Silver clad Ottoman saber, dated 1827.
The same 1988 exhibition also showed a silver clad Ottoman saber, with its blade signed on the back: Manceaux à Paris. The scabbard, entirely in silver in high relief, with a marking of the year hijri 1243 which corresponds to the Gregorian calendar's year 1827.2
Silver clad Ottoman saber, dated 1839.
A nearly identical piece to the two preceding ones was in the collection of Stephen V. Cransay. This piece was dated 1839.2
Silver clad Ottoman saber, presented 1847.
Another identical was exhibited in the Musée l'Emperi Salon de Provence. Emir Abdelkader of Algeria presented it to the Henri d'Orléans, Duke of Aumale, during the surrender at Djemmaa-Ghazaouet on december 24, 1847, who in turn gave it to general Moriciere.3
Silver clad Ottoman saber, undated.
An identical saber, possibly without date, is held in the Wallace Collection in London, accession number OA1752.
Ottoman style daggers
Knife for the Prince of Orange. Made between 1819-1838
A wonderful piece with silver mounts set with coral and turquaises. This piece was sold by Bonhams at Knightsbridge in 2016 for €11.056. Engraved on it: "Fabriquée pour le prince d'Orange par Manceaux à Paris". The Prince of Orange at the time was Willem Frederik George Lodewijk, (1792 - 1849), who would become king William II in 1840. It bears a silver mark that was only used from 1819-1838, framing its time of manufacture.
Ottoman Bichaq style knife, gold. No date.
Number 74 from Splendeur des armes Orientales is a bichaq style knife with golden handle and sheath, with in addition to Manceaux à Paris a goldsmith marks of a certain J.F. Monier. No date.4
Ottoman Bichaq style knife, silver. No date.
Number 76 from Splendeur des armes Orientales is nearly identical to the one presented in this article, but with an after-market flissa blade. (Unfortunately only depicted sheathed.)5
1. Howard Ricketts, Phillippe Missilier; Splendeur des Armes Orientales, Paris: ACTE-EXPO, 1988. Page 52 and 168.
2. Arms and Armor: A Loan Exhibition from the Collection of Stephen V. Grancsay, With Important Contributions by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the John Woodman Higgins Armory, Worcester, Massachusetts. Allentown Art Museum, 1964. Page 76 and 79.
3. Splendeur des Armes Orientales. Page 168.
4. Splendeur des Armes Orientales. Pages 53 and 168.
5. Splendeur des Armes Orientales. Pages 53 and 168.a