A Fine And Rare 28-Bore French Flintlock Holster Pistol
Lot 326*
A Fine And Rare 28-Bore French Flintlock Holster Pistol
£6,000 - 9,000
US$ 10,000 - 15,000
Lot Details
A Fine And Rare 28-Bore French Flintlock Holster Pistol
By Betrand Piraube Aux Galleries A Paris, Dated 1694
With swamped tapering sighted barrel signed and dated on the two-stage sighting rib and with silver fore-sight, the breech section engraved with symmetrical dotted strapwork and formed with a flat on each side and a short flat on top, the rear of the breech engraved with a band of acanthus foliage in front of a beaded band, rectangular tang engraved with a harpy above a foliated scroll, all within a ropework border, signed rounded lock with moulded border finely engraved with a further harpy, foliated scrollwork, and a bearded satyr-head, engraved cock, engraved and chiselled steel, figured moulded full stock of Grenoble walnut (minor defects, the fore-end an old working replacement) carved in relief with foliated scrolls at the rear ramrod-pipe and on each side of the raised moulding at the barrel tang, engraved and chiselled iron mounts, the trigger-guard with chiselled foliate finial and engraved on the bow with a female portrait bust, pierced side-plate formed of foliated scrolls inhabited by a raised winged female monster based on the pattern books of Claude Simonin, spurred pommel engraved with foliated scrollwork (some wear) and with chiselled grotesque mask cap, associated pierced escutcheon centred on a profile bust of a Classical warrior, border engraved trigger-plate, baluster ramrod-pipes, and horn-tipped ramrod with worm
33.1 cm. barrel


  • Bertrand Piraube is recognised as the most eminent and influential gunmaker in the development of French firearms of the late seventeenth century and the early decades of the eighteenth, and thus a major figure in the history of European firearms in general, as the French were the leaders of fashion at the time. He was granted his logement in the Louvre by King Louis XIV on 25 January 1670 and retained it until about 1724. Here he was able to produce royal and noble commissions, many of which remain in European ancestral gun collections - for instance in England, Sweden and Saxony, in the last two in considerable numbers. He was also the maker of the superb silver-mounted gun (the only recorded seventeenth century firearm with a solid silver barrel) now in the Royal Armouries, Leeds (inv. no. XII. 1690)

    As Piraube was in the habit of dating his firearms the development of his style can be followed in detail. Firearms by him are dated 1673, 1679, 1681, 1683, 1685, 1688, 1689, 1690, 1693, 1694, 1696, 1697, 1698, 1699, 1700 and 1715

    Cf. the pair of Piraube pistols dated 1688 and bearing the arms of the Grand Dauphin, sold from the Collection of Major D.H.L. Back in these Rooms on 24 November 2010, lot 448, and a single pistol also dated 1688, sold in these Rooms on 6 April 2006, lot 291

    See J.F. Hayward, 'Bertrand Piraube', Livrustkammaren (Journal of the Royal Armoury, Stockholm), vol. 15, no. 5 (1980), pp. 119-160

    Idem, The Art of the Gunmaker, vol. II, 1963, pp. 35, 36, 40, 43-45, 110 etc.

    For a detailed account of the Simonin pattern books, see D.J. LaRocca, 'Sorting Out Simonin: Pattern Books for Decorated Firearms, 1684-1702', Studies in European Arms and Armor, 1992, pp. 184-207
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