A Very Fine Pair Of 28-Bore French Royal Flintlock Holster Pistols With the Arms Of The Grand Dauphin (d. 17110
Lot 448
A Very Fine Pair Of 28-Bore French Royal Flintlock Holster Pistols With The Arms Of The Grand Dauphin (d. 1711)
Sold for £38,400 (US$ 46,909) inc. premium

Lot Details
A Very Fine Pair Of 28-Bore French Royal Flintlock Holster Pistols With The Arms Of The Grand Dauphin (d. 1711) A Very Fine Pair Of 28-Bore French Royal Flintlock Holster Pistols With The Arms Of The Grand Dauphin (d. 1711) A Very Fine Pair Of 28-Bore French Royal Flintlock Holster Pistols With The Arms Of The Grand Dauphin (d. 1711) A Very Fine Pair Of 28-Bore French Royal Flintlock Holster Pistols With The Arms Of The Grand Dauphin (d. 1711)
A Very Fine Pair Of 28-Bore French Royal Flintlock Holster Pistols With The Arms Of The Grand Dauphin (d. 1711)
By Bertrand Piraube Aux Galleries A Paris, Dated 1688
With swamped tapering sighted barrels finely engraved with bound captives and grotesque demi-figures and with differing designs of Classical warriors on the breech and tang, chiselled in relief with scrolls and differing masks, mainly on a punched ground, and signed and dated on each sighting rib, signed rounded locks each with engraved moulded border and finely engraved with differing seated figures of Mars and trophies of arms, the tails with the Royal fleurs-de-lys of France within a raised cartouche above a small mask chiselled in relief, finely chiselled cocks and steels, moulded dark walnut figured full stocks finely carved in relief with scrolls at the rear ramrod-pipes and on each side of the barrel tangs and finely inlaid with scrollwork in silver wire, finely engraved and chiselled iron mounts, the bows of the trigger-guards engraved respectively with a drummer and a piper, pierced side-plates each incorporating the royal fleurs-de-lys, spurred pommels each with chiselled grotesque mask cap, pierced escutcheons with putti supporters, a phoenix beneath, a grotesque mask above, and engraved with arms of Louis de Bourbon, son of Louis XIV, finely engraved trigger-plates, baluster ramrod-pipes, and later ramrods with iron-capped horn tips, the decoration of Simonin pattern book inspiration throughout (some wear and minor restoration including the tang of one trigger-guard) (2)
33.2 cm. barrels


  • Provenance:
    The Property of a Gentleman, Christie's, Geneva, Fine Antique Arms, 26 April 1977, lot 79 (35,000 SFrs including premium)

    J.F. Hayward, 'Bertrand Piraube', Livrustkammaren (Journal of The Royal Armoury, Stockholm), vol. 15, no. 5 (1980), pp. 143-149, figs. 24-26

    Bertrand Piraube is generally recognised as the most eminent and progressive exponent of the Parisian Classical Louis XIV style of gunmaking, at a time when the French were the leaders of European fashion. He is thus a seminal figure in the development of European firearms. The grant of a brevet de logement to him in the Galeries du Louvre by King Louis XIV dates to 25 January 1670, and allowed him freedom from the restrictions of the Parisian guilds. He is first recorded outside Paris at Saint-Germain-en-Laye, and he died in about 1725

    Commissions from the royal and noble families of Europe result in his being well represented in many ancestral gunrooms. These include the silver-barrelled fowling-piece believed to have been presented by Louis XIV to the first Duke of Richmond and Lennox, now in the Royal Armouries, Leeds, the fowling-piece at Windsor Castle probably presented by Louis XIV to King Charles II of England, the pair of pistols and the fowling-piece presented to the young King Charles XI of Sweden as part of an extensive gift of horses and firearms, in the Livrustkammaren, Stockholm, and the eleven longarms and fourteen pairs of pistols by him in the Saxon Royal Armouries in Dresden. Piraube's unusual habit of dating most of his firearms allows us to trace the development of his style in considerable detail. Dates so far recorded on extant firearms are: 1673, 1679, 1681, 1682, 1683, 1685, 1688, 1689, 1690, 1693, 1694, 1696, 1697, 1698, 1699, 1700 and 1715. In addition, two pairs of iron-mounted pistols, dated respectively 1700 and 1701, are recorded in the Gewehrkammer of Duke August Wilhelm of Brunswick and Lüneburg (1662-1731)

    The arms on the locks and side-plates of the present pistols have been altered but show traces of those borne by the family of the Princes de Bourbon Condé, presumably for Louis II de Bourbon, known as the Grand Condé, the original owner of the pistols. An opponent to Mazarin, he fled to Spain and commanded a Spanish army against his compatriots. Reconciled with the French court after the Treaty of the Pyrenees in 1660, he lead French troops again under Louis XIV, and died in December 1686. It is likely that he died before the pistols were completed, and that Piraube held them in stock, altering the arms when he received an order for a pair of pistols from the Grand Dauphin. The date 1688 would probably not have been inserted until delivery

    Another pair of Piraube pistols (dated 1687), in the Musée de l'Armée, Paris also bears the arms of the Grand Dauphin, and a pair in the Tøjhusmuseet, Copenhagen, also dated 1688 and presumably made for King Christian V (1670-1699) have side-plates of the same design as those of the present pistols. The pommel-caps, however, are of the same pattern as those on the pair of first quality Piraube pistols of 1690 at Windsor Castle, probably originally presented to King William III

    A pair of Piraube pistols dated 1697, formerly in the collections of Charles H. Moses and Clay P. Bedford was sold by Thomas Del Mar Ltd on 9 December 2009, lot 266 (£60,000 including premium)

    See Torsten Lenk, 'The Classical Louis XIV Style', The Flintlock, 1945, Chapter Nine, pp. 93-106 etc., pls 71, 73-76, 80, 85, 86
    J.F. Hayward, The Art of the Gunmaker, 1963, pp. 32-36, 43-45, pls. 2b-c, 7, 8b
    Idem, 'Bertand Piraube', Livrustkammaren, vol. 15, no. 5 (1980), pp. 119-160
    D.J. LaRocca, 'Sorting Out Simonin: Pattern Books for Decorated Firearms, vol. II, 1684-1705', Studies in European Arms and Armor, The C. Otto von Kienbusch Collection in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1992, pp. 184-207
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