A Good Cased Pair of 16 Bore Flintlock Duelling Pistols circa 1795 by W. Parker, Holborn, London. 9" rebrowned octagonal barrels signed LONDON on top flat, blade fore sight, platinum lined touch holes, starburst engraved tangs with notched rear sight. Flat bevelled border line engraved locks signed PARKER with starburst engraved to stepped tail. Sliding safety. Roller frizzens, semi rainproof pans, engraved swan neck cocks. Britannia shield and foliage engraved triggerguard, large pineapple finials. Engraved ramrod pipe. Figured full stocks with minor handling marks, crisp original chequering, vacant silver escutcheons, original ramrods, one with steel worm. Pistols 14.25" long in their original flame dark oak case with 1790-95 type flush fitting handle, inset brass hooks to front, with accessories including a few old 16 bore lead balls, patches, bevel edged copper and brass flask, pan brush, 16 bore bullet mould (pitted but good cavities). Original trade label to lid (some damage and staining).
William Parker in business at 233 High Holborn, London from 1793-1841. Parker was Gunmaker to the Duke of Kent, Prince Edward and King William IV as well as Contractor to the Ordnance, the East India Company, the Hudsons Bay Co and from 1803 supplied arms to the London Police.
With two-stage brass barrels 8.425” long engraved 'CUSTOMS' along the top flat of the octagonal breech, London proof marks, foliate engraved tangs, signed border engraved flat bevel edged locks each with engraved decoration and roller frizzens, figured full stocks with rounded butts, border engraved mounts comprising butt-caps, trigger-guards each with engraved pineapple finial and decorated with a Britannia shield and foliage, turned brass ramrod-pipes, and brass-tipped ramrods.
Thomas Barnett was contractor to the Ordnance from 1794.
Formerly kept at the Customs House, King's Lynn, Norfolk
The Craft of the Gunmaker, 1640-1870, Guildhall Museum,. Rochester-upon-Medway, August 1991-January 1992 (cat. no. 13, illustrated)
Ex Dr Robert Rabett collection
See Frederick Wilkinson, Those Entrusted With Arms ..., 2002
This unique pistol is a Scottish Lobe Butt Flintlock Pistol circa 1770-1785 by Stuart of St Kitts. Solid brass frame and stock with three silver inset bands to underside, silver buttcap and silver button trigger. Large vacant oval silver escutcheon inset in stock. 20 bore 8"smooth bore barrel. Scroll engraved and decorated throughout in the typical style of the period, most notably the makers based in Doune. Original ramrod. Brass belt hook. Lockplate signed STUART ST KITTS. 13.25" overall length.
The engraving on the lockplate with the tail on the 'R' is identical to the few remaining pistols and long arms of Stuart of Inverness, however, this Stuart of St Kitts
is previously unrecorded. Kelvin (The Scottish Pistol) mentions a John Stuart several times including one who worked at Doune and an earlier Stuart in an unknown location on the East Coast. Stuart of St Kitts may well have been related to either of these but the Hammermen records do not show any kin which would help identify the Stuart of St Kitts during the period that this pistol was made.
Please see my own research notes below for an explanation of this previously unrecorded gunmaker. A visit to St Kitts and help from the St Kitts archivist in their National Archives identified a John James Stuart living on the island in 1782 as he married a local woman at that time. With a small population, it is highly likely that this John James Stuart is our man as the pistol style is 1770-1785 and there is good reason for a Scottish Gunmaker to be on St Kitts at that time with the garrison at Brimstone Hill Fort being the 1st Royal Scots and the importance of St Kitts to the British. The French Seige of Brimstone Hill in 1782 is a case in point.
Further research may reveal more about John James Stuart but in the meantime, this historically important pistol is our only link to what I believe is the only Scottish pistol in existence that bears a Scottish makers name with a location outside of the mainland UK.
Please see these links for background history.
It is highly likely that the John James Stuart found in the St Kitts archives is the gunmaker. His marriage bond dated 22nd March 1782 was less than six weeks after the French succeeded in taking Fort Brimstone. It is an important identification document that ties him to the island at that time (photo of bond below).
Please note who is the beneficiary of the £500 bond - a certain Arthur Count Dillon who was installed by the French as the Islands Governor for the period 12 February 1782 to 3rd September 1783 when it was handed back to the British.
The origin of John James Stuart may have been from the Inverness family of Stuart gunmakers (see Claude Blair https://electricscotland.com/history/scotreg/scottishfirearms.pdf ). Electric Scotland also has good articles on the Fraser Clan connection with the Stuarts of Inverness. With the Stuarts of Inverness being closely linked with the Fraser Clan it is worth noting that Fort Brimstone in 1782 was commanded by Brigadier General Thomas Fraser, indeed such a pistol may have even been made for him as a high ranking officers pistol. The 1st Royal Scots regiment was also here fighting the French in 1782 so another avenue of research to follow although they would have been equipped with highland regiment pistols of the type made by Bissell of Birmingham (except for private arms purchases).
The Jacobite cause is another link.
Arthur Count Dillon was an English born aristocrat who inherited leadership of a French Army regiment and remained in the regiment and as a result fought against the English in the Seige of Brimstone Hill. Dillon was installed by the French as a very able Governor and even though resupply to the French garrison was difficult due to the Royal Navy, John James Stuart appears happy enough to stay on the island and to pay the bond to the new French Governor Dillon very early into his administration. This could be because Stuart was a Jacobite and so was Dillon. In fact Dillon's regiment was the Irish Brigade of the French Army, the famous Wild Geese, who wore red coats like the British as fealty to the Gaelic House of Stuart and to that family's claim to the English and Scottish Thrones.
To pay a marriage bond of 500 pounds meant that Stuart had some wealth yet he is not mentioned in any records of Scottish Merchants or Plantation owners in the West Indies probably due to the fact that no one knew of a Gunmaker in St Kitts until now. He obviously survived the siege and probably prospered. If he had been a soldier, John James Stuart would have a rank attached to his name on the marriage bond.
Further research such as his wife/ancestry (Ann Delron named on the marriage bond) may reveal more history.
A rare Dublin Castle Brown Bess Flintlock Musket. 39" barrel in very good condition with proofs and inspectors crown mark between, regulation .75" bore, foresight/bayonet stud. Lockplate and furniture with no border line engraving (as noted on later genuine Dublin Castle locks) with DUBLIN CASTLE engraved to tail, Crown over GR under pan, Swan Neck cock of 1793 pattern, all original with excellent patina. Feint but distinguishable 4 on inside of lockplate immediately to the right of the mainspring to bolster attachment screw (4 with a crown was the Irish inspectors stamp/number as noted by Goldberg and Mowbray book, page 83, of "The Brown Bess"). Very strong working action. Regulation 1793 brass furniture marked 1/17 to the buttplate tang with the Dublin Castle feature (seen on the handful of these 39" muskets surviving) of a flat sideplate (as opposed to rounded/raised on normal 1793 Pattern) marked PATTISON. M. J Pattison was a Government contractor who had a business in Dublin c1790-1840. Good original stock with general handling marks, some old filled wormholes, minor infill repair to left hand side rear barrel pin area, old repaired crack between lockplate and triggerguard. Iron ramrod looks to be original. 55" overall length.
Dated as pre 1798 as they ceased to apply the Dublin Castle mark after that date although assembly continued up to 1815.
One of a handful of genuine 1793 Pattern 39" Barrel Dublin Castle Brown Bess Flintlock Muskets known to survive.
A plain powder flask with bevelled edge with much original lacquered finish. Working spring. Tight seams. Detachable, variable PATENT marked charger. No makers name. Grubscrews have been replaced at some stage with small capstan screws. Some minor dents but one side better than the other so will display nicely.
Overall length 7.25", 183mm.
From my personal collection and owned for nearly 20 years, this is an exceptionally rare opportunity to acquire a Brown Bess which, according to a note scrolled up inside the ramrod channel, was presented by Admiral Sir Isaac Coffin RN to his friend Isaac Hull (who commanded the USS Constitution).
When I acquired this musket, I had wondered why it would have a presentation inscription engraved on a damaged buttplate as the damage looked in period. A few years after acquiring it, I decided to do something about the ill fitting ramrod which protruded beyond the end of the barrel. Ramrod was correct length so I decided to put a long rod, with a worm attached, down the ramrod channel into the stock to see if there was an obstruction. Upon withdrawing the rod, there were scraps of paper attached to the worm. To cut a long story short, after many attempts I managed to extract a considerable amount of paper, sadly very shredded. The ramrod then fitted but is still a little loose as the paper had taken up the slack before being compressed and shredded over many years. It took two days to iron out the paper scraps and even then there were parts missing but the hand written message was just readable except for the first word/s ".………. musket from the field of Waterloo for my friend Isaac Hull".
Suddenly the presentation inscription made sense - it was as found and retrieved, after being damaged, from Waterloo and damage not touched. Furthermore, after research, it shed light on who it was presented to - Isaac Hull, a naval friend of Isaac Coffin (who was born in Boston USA) who had chosen a different naval career path with the US Navy and who had a highly successful career including commanding Old Ironsides, the USS Constitution. Despite being on opposing sides they remained good friends and there are numerous references to exchanges of gifts between them such as antique maps and even a renowned Maine lobster from Isaac Hull weighing 75 lbs (!!!) which Coffin gave to Sir Joseph Banks. The scraps of paper sadly no longer exist or perhaps they do with the thief who also took a Manton pistol as well as a valuable collection of models and other papers in the same room.
Also sadly, over the years, the internet sources for these letters and gift descriptions have fallen by the wayside with valuable websites disappearing but some do remain and I am sure that further current research may even reveal more information about this 1815 gift. Some links are provided below including a fascinating biography of Coffin.
The Bess is a typical Pattern 1793 Flintlock Brown Bess Musket (India Pattern Type 1) pre 1809 with a 39" barrel of .75" bore stamped with Kings and Ordnance proofs. Regulation lock engraved TOWER to tail with Crown over GR and Ordnance inspectors mark of crown over arrow. Pre 1809 swan neck cock. Correct and original regulation brass furniture including the damaged buttplate which is enagraved on the tang with the inscription, "PRESENTED BY ADMIRAL SIR ISAAC COFFIN ANNO DOM 1815". Original ramrod with crown inspectors mark. Original stock in very good condition except for compression damage where buttplate is damaged. Pleasing overall patina. Complete with Bayonet with 4" socket, 21 7/8” overall which has Inspectors mark of a crown over 4 plus other numbers on the socket of 5 over 14 and 11 over 29. Overall length 55". With bayonet affixed 71 3/4"
Ref: Isaac Hull https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaac_Hull
Ref: Admiral Sir Isaac Coffin RN https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sir_Isaac_Coffin,_1st_Baronet
Archive book bio of Admiral Sir Isaac Coffin - https://archive.org/details/lifeadmiralsiris00amor
A good quality pair of 60 bore flintlock boxlock pocket pistols by Riviere, London, circa 1809-17. Smaller than average pocket/muff pistols at 5" overall, 1 3/8" turn off barrels (not seized) with engraved band at breech end, the engraved breeches signed RIVIERE on left side and LONDON on right side with London proofs (worn on one pistol which is often the case where that one was used more); the frames engraved with stand of arms and trophies with roped lower edge and wreath around trigger, the flintcocks engraved with a fish (one with an old repair); roller frizzen springs with border lined frizzen, sliding top safeties which lock the frizzens, hidden triggers with good working actions and springs. Plain walnut slab butts. One pistol slightly more worn with repaired crack to butt. A sign of good quality for these small pistols (apart from quality of engraving) is the lack of a visible hinge for the drop down trigger - the hinge is not visible because it is hidden behind the sideplate.
In their original fitted green baize lined mahogany case 8.5" x 5.75", the lid with folding brass carrying handle, maker’s rare early trade label of "Riviere, Gun Maker, No 121 Oxford Street", label altered in ink, probably in period sometime shortly after 1817 "Removed to No 315", accessories including a Sykes copper powder flask, a 60 bore steel pincer mould, a few lead bullets and the original case key (some damage to original case lining).
RIVIERE, Gunmaker: Isaac Riviere b.1781, Gunmaker, 121 Oxford Street 1809 -1817: 315 Oxford Street, London 1818 - 1851. Riviere joined the Honourable Artillery Company (HAC) in 1821, became a Sgt in 1829, Lieutenant 1829-1833 and Captain of the Jager Corps 1833-48. He organised a rifle range at Wormwood scrubs and leased it to the HAC and the Royal Victoria Rifles of which he was Corps Treasurer. He lived at Rifle Cottage, Wood Lane, Hammersmith (Howard Blackmore, ‘Gunmakers of London 1350-1850’)
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