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James Farmer (1715-73)

Two flintlock military pistols 1745

Walnut, steel, brass | 50.0 cm (length) | RCIN 67008

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  • These standard issue military pistols, which are similar but not an exact pair, were supplied to the Board of Ordnance in part by James Farmer, a Birmingham gun-maker who worked in London in the mid-century in partnership with his brother-in-law Samuel Galton. Typically for pistols of this type, each part was supplied separately and the parts were assembled at need. According to the engraved marks on the locks one of the two was supplied to the 10th Dragoons, the other to the 11th.

    Neither regiment was known by these numbers until after 1751. In 1745 the 10th Dragoons were named after their commander, Field Marshall Richard Temple, 1st Viscount Cobham (1645-1749). At the outbreak of the 1745 Rebellion, Cobham’s Dragoons were serving in the War of Austrian Succession, under the command of the Duke of Cumberland, but as one of the few regiments of horse available they were despatched to Scotland to join the English forces. The 11th Dragoons were under the command of Lord Mark Kerr (1676-1752). The regiment had been formed in 1715 to fight at Prestonpans and had seen little action since, although one troop of the regiment had been involved in the battle of Clifton Muir in 1745. In April 1746 they were pressed into action once more.

    In drawing up his battle plans at Culloden, Cumberland selected the two regiments to protect the flanks of his front line - on the left he placed Kerr's Dragoons (the 11th), consisting of three squadrons, commanded by Lord Ancram, and on the right Cobham's Dragoons (the 10th), also consisting of three squadrons, under General Bland. However, Cumberland afterwards ordered the latter to the left, to aid in the intended attack upon the right flank of the Highlanders. The Jacobites had very little cavalry and their infantry charges were of little effect against the English lines. Kerr’s Dragoons lost only three men in the battle. Cumberland's cavalry charged from both wings to crush the rebels in the middle, and were then commanded to pursue the defeated Jacobites and show ‘no quarter’. The Dragoon regiments were involved in the subsequent putting down of isolated groups of rebels in the Highlands.

    Text adapted from The First Georgians: Art and Monarchy 1714 - 1760, London, 2014

    Supplied to the Board of Ordnance in 1745

  • Medium and techniques

    Walnut, steel, brass


    50.0 cm (length)

    30.5 cm (barrel length)

    1.42 cm (caliber (diameter of gun))

  • Category