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Jacob Walster (active 1765)

Flintlock sporting rifle (Pirschbüchse) c. 1765

Steel, blued steel, gold, silver, walnut wood, horn. | 117.5 x 5.5 x 18.0 cm (length) | RCIN 61100

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  • Flintlock sporting rifle from the collection of George IV at Carlton House, London. The gun has a single blued steel barrel of octagonal and twisted heart shaped cross section inlaid in gold at the backsight Walster A Saarbruck. The lock signed Walster A Saarbruck and engraved with a cherub offering a bird to a retriever dog and also chiselled with flowers and trophies against a gold ground. Walnut wood half-stock with horn fore-end cap and twisted horn tipped wooden ramrod. The stock carved with rococo scrolls, a sea monsters head and griffin, the butt decorated with inlaid silver wire work.The silver wire decoration on the butt is taken directly from De Lacollombe, Nouveaux desseins D'Arquebuseries Dessine Grave par De Lacollombe a Paris 1730. Se Vend Chez De Marteau Eleve De Feu Mr De Lacollombe.

    This is a gunsmiths tour de force where ingenuity and craftsmanship are added on top of rich decoration. All the external screws are concealed so the gun cannot be disassembled without knowing how to release a secret hidden catch to start the process. The barrel is part twisted to form a heart shape which acts as rifling as well as being designed to impress. Guns with unusual bore shapes were made as curiosities and demonstrations in the art of gunsmithing rather than for their accuracy in shooting.

    Overall length 42.5 in. Barrel length  27.25 in. Bore (between grooves) 1/2 in.

    Provenance

    The Carlton House Arms Catalogue, no. 749 notes that This curious twisted barrel gun was made at Saabruck in Germany it discharges a ball in the shape of a heart, a well finished gun.

    Published in

    Laking, G.F., 1904. The Armoury of Windsor Castle, London. Badbury & Agnew & Co. (no. 401)
    Blackmore, H L. 1968. Royal Sporting Guns at Windsor, London, HMSO.

  • Medium and techniques

    Steel, blued steel, gold, silver, walnut wood, horn.

    Measurements

    117.5 x 5.5 x 18.0 cm (length)

    69.0 cm (barrel length)

  • Category
  • Other number(s)
    Bibliographic reference(s)

    Royal Sporting Guns at Windsor. HMSO London 1968