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Holster pistol

John Shaw

Category

Arms and armour

Date

circa 1690 - 1700

Materials

iron and wood

Measurements

483 mm (length)

Place of origin

London

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Collection

Dyrham, Gloucestershire (Accredited Museum)

NT 452101.1

Caption

This pair of “under and over” barrelled holster pistols owned by William Blathwayt were probably taken on campaign with him in Flanders when head of William III’s army.

Summary

Gun; One of a pair of late 17th century "over & under" flintlock holster pistols probably by John Shaw of London, c 1690. In oak box with green velvet backing.

Full description

One of a pair of double-barrelled flintlock holster pistols, c1690, almost certainly by John Shaw, London (active c1665 – 1720). John Shaw became a Freeman of the London Gunmakers Company in 1673. He was appointed Gunsmith-in-Ordinary to Charles II in 1680, to James II in 1685, to William III in 1689, and finally to George I in 1715. He was also a contractor to the Ordnance and the Hudsons Bay Company. He died in 1720. Two separate iron barrels, mounted in an over and under formation, each formed in 3 stages, octagonal at the breech, then sixteen-sided and then round to the muzzle. Each breech engraved and stamped with London Gunmakers Company proof marks, together with the makers mark IS within an oval. Each barrel has a long engraved barrel tang with 2 fixing screws.B Barrel length 29.8cm. Calibre 15mm The burr-wood stock is made in 2 parts – the butt section with swollen pommel, with profile carving to the lock recesses, the barrel tang and ramrod channel. The separate forestock section is also of burr-wood, of fluted form and the ramrod is mounted on the left side. The engraved iron furniture comprises; a spurred pommel cap with chiselled grotesque mask, a trigger guard with trefoil finial, and 2 baluster turned ramrod pipes. Double triggers, one of very short form (2 replaced). Iron ramrods (1 modern, 1 an old replacement). Right and left hand backaction flintlocks, the plates elongated and of rounded form. The plates are engraved with scroll and foliage . The cocks are of rounded form and frizzens are unbridled. The left-hand lock has a deeply formed flashpan to allow access the touch-hole of the lower barrel. The locks are unsigned. They are retained to the stock by 2 sidenails. Overall length: 47.6cm References H.L.Blackmore, Dictionary of London Gunmakers 1350 - 1850, London 1986 Brian Godwin & David Weaver, “A Remarkable Group of Late 17th Century English Pistols and Their Genesis”, London Park Lane Arms Fair catalogue, Spring 2009. Brian Godwin, “Historic Firearms of the National Trust - An Unusual Pair of Pistols at Dyrham Park", Classic Arms & Militaria Magazine, 2013

Provenance

Possibly owned by William Blathwayt 1649-1717, perhaps taken with him to Holland. Indigenous collection purchased by Ministry of Works in 1956 and given to National Trust in 1961.

Marks and inscriptions

Left side of barrel breech: IS (maker's mark) Crowned GP and V (London Gunmaker Company proof marks)

Makers and roles

John Shaw, gunsmith I.S., maker (?)

References

Blackmore, 1986: Howard Blackmore: A Dictionary of London Gunmakers 1350-1850

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