Saturday, November 26, 2011

Antique Flintlocks

Pierre Le Bourgeois, French, Lisieux, died 1627

Steel, chiseled, blued, and gilt; wood, inlaid with silver, brass, engraved mother-of-pearl; gilt brass, bone
L. overall 55 5/16 in. (140.49 cm) Wt. 5 lb. 11 oz. (2580 gm) Caliber .59 (55mm)

This fowling piece is one of the earliest firearms equipped with the flintlock of French construction. It was made for Louis XIII (r. 1610–43) in the workshop directed by Pierre Le Bourgeois's brother, Marin (about 1550–1634), to whom the invention of the flintlock mechanism is traditionally ascribed. The decoration of the gun includes the crowned monogram of the king.

Jacob Kuntz, American, Pennsylvania, 1780–1876

Engraved steel and brass; maple inlaid with engraved brass, silver, bone, horn
L. (overall) 59 1/4 in. (150.5 cm) L. (barrel) 43 in. (109.22 cm) Wt. 9 lb. 13 oz. ( 4451 gm) Caliber .46

This rifle is an early example of Kuntz's work, perhaps made about 1810, when he moved from Northampton County, Pennsylvania, to Philadelphia. The restrained carving of the stocks and the confident treatment of the engraved brass inlays demonstrate his early mastery of the techniques that distinguish him as one of Philadelphia's finest gunmakers.

Copy and photos from The Metropolitan Museum.

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