An Exceptional 38-Bore Six-Shot Flintlock Breech-Loading Magazine Carbine On The Kalthoff Principle

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Lot 318
An Exceptional 38-Bore Six-Shot Flintlock Breech-Loading Magazine Carbine On The Kalthoff Principle
By Harman Barne, London, Circa 1650

Sold for £ 36,000 (US$ 50,144) inc. premium
An Exceptional 38-Bore Six-Shot Flintlock Breech-Loading Magazine Carbine On The Kalthoff Principle
By Harman Barne, London, Circa 1650
With two-stage barrel engraved with transverse bands of foliage, cut with eight shallow grooves, and signed 'Harman Barne' in cursive script on the octagonal breech section, polygonal forward section terminating in a prominent octagonal muzzle-ring bearing a small copper fore-sight, gilt-copper back-sight, rotating vertical iron breech-block (cover missing), rounded tang engraved with birds and flower-heads on a stippled ground, lightly engraved large flat bevelled lock signed 'Harman Barne Londini' in cursive decorative script below the external mainspring, internal steel-spring, shaped stepped tail engraved with a monster-head, cock of miquelet type, and faceted pan and steel, the front of the lock with sprung cover to the receiver for the powder, figured walnut full stock (minor defects, panel replaced opposite the lock) carved in relief with foliage behind the barrel tang, around and opposite the tail of the lock and on the underside of the bellied butt, and with a volute on each side in front of the lock and to the rear of the grip, partly fluted fore-end, shaped rotating iron trigger-guard fitted with a gilt-bronze support and incorporating a gilt-bronze powder-measure with sprung lid, iron trigger-plate with swivelling covers to the magazines for powder and balls, gilt-copper butt-plate, fore-end cap and baluster ramrod-pipes, and brass-tipped ramrod (an old working replacement) with iron ferrule, the butt stamped twice with owner's mark 'R3', the butt-plate incorporating a hinged cover revealing a cavity probably for a two-piece cleaning rod
75.9 cm. barrel

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    Mark Dineley

    Literature:
    J.N. George, English Guns and Rifles, pp. 55-58, frontispiece (1)
    Howard L. Blackmore, Guns and Rifles of the World, nos. 645-647
    Arne Hoff, Feuerwaffen II, p. 277, pl. 205
    W. Keith Neal and D.H.L. Back, Great British Gunmakers 1540-1740, pp. 106-107, plates 24 a to c
    G. de Vries and B.J. Martens, The Visser Collection, vol. I, part 4, cat. no. 947, pp. 604-605

    The intricate construction of this carbine is a tour de force, applauded by John George as 'probably the supreme example of Barne's genius'. Its action is described in detail by George on pages 56 and 57, where he suggests that it may well have been made for Prince Rupert (1619-82), Count Palatine and nephew of King Charles I - the marks on the butt appear to support this suggestion

    Harman Barne, probably a Dutch immigrant, is the best known of the early English gunmakers. He is believed to have come to this country with Prince Rupert in 1642, and he worked for the prince, who was a general in the Royalist armies during the Civil War. Barne was imprisoned after the Civil War, but was set free and allowed to work under bond in the London area in 1650, obtaining his freedom of the London Gunmakers' Company in 1657. He is recorded as having a shop in the Strand, in the parish of St. Clement Dane. In 1660 he successfully petitioned King Charles II for the appointment of Royal Handgun Maker, and he died the following year, whereupon his business was continued by his widow Ursula. He is the maker of the finest pair of English rifled turn-off pistols to have survived, also perhaps made for Prince Rupert (in the W. Keith Neal Collection, described and illustrated in W. Keith Neal and D.H.L. Back, Great British Gunmakers 1540-1740, pp. 109-113, pls. 26 a to j)

    Similar magazine carbines are to be found in the Royal Collection at Windsor (inv. no. L 226), in the Tøjhusmuseet, Copenhagan (inv. no. B762), and in the Armoury of the Moscow Kremlin Museums (inv. nos. OR-104, OR-1181 and OR-1947). The first and second are by Caspar Kalthoff the Elder, the third by Caspar Kalthoff the Elder and Harman Barne, the fourth by Harman Barne, and the last by Caspar Kalthoff the Younger. The fourth is described and illustrated in E.A. Yablonskaya, Dutch Guns In Russia, pp. 106-107, and all the Kremlin guns were recently exhibited at the Gilbert Collection galleries, Somerset House (Britannia & Muscovy, exhibition catalogue, pp. 134, 164-167, 172-173). Barne may have worked with Caspar Kalthoff the Elder in Vauxhall (see Howard L. Blackmore, A Dictionary of London Gunmakers, p. 47)

    Only two of the surviving carbines are entirely by Harman Barne - the present example, and the one in Moscow, which employs a somewhat different action

    Although we know that Caspar Kalthoff the Elder worked for the Marquis of Worcester in London, and that Harman Barne was also active there, there is no record of the employment of such repeating guns in this country. The intriguing report of the meeting of the Royal Society of London held on 2 March 1664 mentions a repeating pistol 'to come to Prince Rupert', not a gun
An Exceptional 38-Bore Six-Shot Flintlock Breech-Loading Magazine Carbine On The Kalthoff Principle
An Exceptional 38-Bore Six-Shot Flintlock Breech-Loading Magazine Carbine On The Kalthoff Principle
An Exceptional 38-Bore Six-Shot Flintlock Breech-Loading Magazine Carbine On The Kalthoff Principle
An Exceptional 38-Bore Six-Shot Flintlock Breech-Loading Magazine Carbine On The Kalthoff Principle
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