An early French flintlock pistol by Pierre Laon

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Lot 4241ANTIQUE
An early French flintlock pistol by Pierre Laon
Paris, mid-17th century

Sold for US$ 58,500 inc. premium
An early French flintlock pistol by Pierre Laon
Paris, mid-17th century
Slender 20 3/8 inch two-stage .54 caliber barrel decorated at the muzzle, mid-point and breech with panels gold overlaid scrollwork, this decoration extending to the fore-end cap, ramrod thimble and tip of ramrod; top flat inscribed in gold P. Laon Paris. Flat lockplate finely engraved with a reclining classical figure in helmet and breastplate, her right arm resting on a shield inscribed Pierre/Langon/AParis; pierced cock engraved with blossoms and tendrils inhabited by birds and a serpent entwined about the blossom-form screwhead; stepped tail engraved with blossoms and tendrils. Replaced iron triggerguard decorated with gold scrollwork. Large gilt brass pommel cast and chased in the form of an eaglehead, at the back of it's head a lion mask; the base of the socket molded with scrolls and swags and, under the eaglehead, a grotesque human mask. Full figured walnut stock.
Condition: Fine to excellent. Steel parts with some minor spotting. Pommel retains 90-95% gilt finish. Triggerguard replaced. Stock with scattered light marks.
See Illustration

Footnotes

  • Provenance: Clay P. Bedford Collection and illustrated on pages 26--27 of Decorative Firearms 1540-1870 From the Collection of Clay P. Bedford, Gusler and Lavin, 1977.
    A very similar gun from the collection of Lowenburg Castle, and probably the mate to the present example, is illustrated on page 21 of The Flintlock, it's origin and development, Torsten Lenk, first published 1939, in which Mr. Lenk mentions only seeing a single pistol. The entry for this gun in the Decorative Firearms suggests that the spelling of the name on the barrel was an error on the part of the damascener, however a document in the National Archives in Paris, Minutes du notaire Jean II Chapellain, MC/ET/XXIV/313, 24 novembre 1624, Archives nationale de France, Paris,
    details the employment of an apothecary by Pierre de Laon maitre arquebusier a St.-Germain-de-Pres, leading one to the conclusion that the barrel marking lists the maker's name correctly and the markings on the lock are in error.br See also a pair of similar French pistols in illustrations X1, X2, X3 and X4 in Armoury of the Knights, A Study of the Palace Armoury, it's Collection and the Military Storehouses of the Hospitiller Knights of the Order of St. John, Stephan C. Spiteri, 2003.
Contacts
An early French flintlock pistol by Pierre Laon
An early French flintlock pistol by Pierre Laon
An early French flintlock pistol by Pierre Laon
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Lot symbols
ANTIQUE Antique - pre 1899

Handguns that fall outside the Section 5 authority will be labelled ANTIQUE.

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