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Object Status  Report: Flint-­lock  pistol  with  ramrod

by Nicole  Wellman 22  Feb  2011

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Stage 1  ..........................................................................................................................................3 Present  Location  ...........................................................................................................................................3 Name  or  artist/designer/maker  ..............................................................................................................4 Title  of  Work  ...................................................................................................................................................4 Generic  name  of  object  ................................................................................................................................4 Accepted  stylistic  grouping  ........................................................................................................................4 Place  where  made  .........................................................................................................................................4 Site  where  found  ...........................................................................................................................................4 Full  Description  of  Work  .............................................................................................................................4 Date  of  Work  ...................................................................................................................................................5 Dating  Evidence  .............................................................................................................................................5 Size  .....................................................................................................................................................................5 Media,  Materials,  Techniques  ....................................................................................................................5 Signature/Marks  ...........................................................................................................................................6 Inscriptions  .....................................................................................................................................................6 Condition  Assessment  ..................................................................................................................................6 Provenance  ......................................................................................................................................................6 Related  works  .................................................................................................................................................7 Literature  and  Documentation  .................................................................................................................7

Stage 2  ..........................................................................................................................................8 Comparative  Evaluation  ..............................................................................................................................8

Stage 3  .......................................................................................................................................10 Historical  Contextualization  ...................................................................................................................10

Stage 4  .......................................................................................................................................13 Status  Report  ................................................................................................................................................13

Bibliography ............................................................................................................................15 Appendix  ...................................................................................................................................16 List  of  Illustrations  .....................................................................................................................................16 General  Glossary  .........................................................................................................................................17

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Fig. 1.  Jean-­‐Baptiste  La  Roche.  Flint-­‐lock  pistol,  1738-­‐44,  (side-­‐plate   view),  The  Wallace  Collection,  London,  no.  A1216.

Fig. 2.  Jean-­‐Baptiste  La  Roche.  Flint-­‐lock  pistol,  1738-­‐44,  (inside  view),   The  Wallace  Collection,  London,  no.  A1216.

Stage 1   Present  Location   The  Wallace  Collection,  European  Armoury  III  Gallery,  Case  4 Collection  No.  A1216

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Name or  artist/designer/maker Jean  Baptiste  La  Roche  (unknown  -­‐  1769)i

Title of  Work   Flint-­‐lock  pistol  with  ramrod

Generic name  of  object   Arms

Accepted stylistic  grouping   French  Rococo

Place where  made   Paris,  France

Site where  found N/A

Full Description  of  Work A  Rlint-­‐lock  pistol  blued,  damascened,  and  gilt  with  rococo  ornamentation  including  cherub’s  heads,   foliage,  serpents,  caryatid  Rigures,  dragons,  and  classical  warrior  busts,  complete  with  a  whalebone   ramrod  with  horn  tip  and  steel  ferrule.ii The  barrel  featuring  two  allegorical  Rigures  of  amorini  supporting  a  trophy  of  arms,  and  cornucopaie   low-­‐relief  ornamentation  on  a  matte  gold  ground,  the  underside  of  which  is  a  blued  ground  with  a   gold  damascened  maker’s  inscription  Rlanked  by  caryatid  Rigures,  trophies  and  scrollwork,  and   surmounted  by  the  royal  monogram  of  entwined  L’s.iii  The  gilt  ground  stock  with  silver  scrollwork,   carved  foliage,  and  low  relief  ornamental  mounts,  bears  an  oval  portrait  medallion  of  King  Louis  XV   centered  on  the  butt-­‐cap  Rlanked  by  Rigures  of  Mars,  a  river  god,  and  lion’s  masks.iv  “The  arms  of   France-­‐Dauphine  on  a  shield  surmounted  by  the  Dauphin’s  coronet  decorate  the  scutcheon-­‐plate.”v   The  lock  features  a  blued  mythological  scene  of  Neptune  drawn  by  seahorses  on  a  gilt  matte  ground   with  a  trophy  of  a  trident,  rudder,  and  anchor  and  an  engraving  of  the  maker’s  name.  The  cock  is   ring-­‐necked  with  a  dragon,  crested  helmet  ornamentation,  and  rococo  scrollwork.vi

i A.  V.  B.  Norman,  Wallace  Collection  Catalogues:  European  Arms  and  Armour  Supplement,  (London,  1986),  248. ii  Sir  J.  G.  Mann,  Wallace  Collection  Catalogues:  European  Arms  and  Armour  Volume  II,  (London,  1962),  579-­‐80. iii  Mann,  Wallace  Collection  Catalogues,  579-­‐80. iv  Ibid. v  Ibid. vi  Ibid.

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Date of  Work   1738  -­‐  1744

Dating Evidence   A  small  silver  mark  of  a  fox’s  head  is  present  on  the  rear  pillar  of  the  weapon.  This  mark  is  probably   the  poincon  de  decharge  of  Paris,  the  fermier  Louis  Robin,  which  was  used  for  small  works  of  gold  or   silver  during  the  period  of  1738  to  1744  in  Paris.vii    During  this  period  the  maker,  Jean  Baptiste  La   Roche,  was  the  Arquebusier  du  Roi,  gunmaker  to  the  king.viii  Furthermore,  the  ornamentation  on  the   pistol  suggests  it  was  made  for  the  Dauphin  of  France,  and  the  portrait  medallion  of  Louis  XV   suggests  it  was  made  for  his  son,  Louis,  who  was  Dauphin  from  1729-­‐1765,  suggesting  it  could  be   no  earlier  than  1729  and  no  later  than  1765.ix  

Size Length:  53.5  cm  overall Length:  35.6  cm,  barrel Width:  1.6  cm,  caliber Width:  1.165  cm

Media, Materials,  Techniques   • Steel,  gold,  silver,  whalebone,  and  horn • Chiseled,  gilded,  blued,  chased,  engraved,  and  damascened • Blued-­‐  “artiRicially  induced  oxidation  of  iron  or  steel  by  any  one  of  many  different  chemical   processes  resulting  in  a  blue  color  ranging  from  light  blue  to  darker  purple  or  black  shades  of   blue”x • Chased-­‐  “chasing  is  the  tooling  of  a  metal  surface  by  denting  or  hammering”xi • Chiseled-­‐  carved  into  metal  such  as  gold  or  silver

vii Mann,  Wallace  Collection  Catalogues,  579. viii  Norman,  Wallace  Collection  Arms  and  Armour  Supplement,  278.

La  Roche  also  served  as  Jurand  of  the  Paris  Gunmakers’  Guild  from  1740  to  1742. ix  Mann,  Wallace  Collection  Catalogues,  580. x  Harold  L.  Peterson,  Encyclopedia  of  Firearms,  (New  York,  1964),  312.

Bluing has  twofold  purpose  of  decoration  and  offering  a  chemical  barrier  to  corrosion xiMichael  Clarke,  ‘Chasing.’  Oxford  Dictionary  of  Art  Terms,  (London,  2001),  54.

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• Damascened-­‐ “the  decoration  of  a  base  metal,  usually  iron,  with  applied  gold  or  silver  wire  or   foil”xii • Engraved  -­‐  “incising  a  design  onto  the  surface  by  cutting  grooves  into  it”;  “involves  the   removal  of  metal  with  a  sharp  tool”xiii • Gilded-­‐  technique  of  applying  gold  to  surface  of  metal;  also  known  as  Rire-­‐gilt    “gold  powder  is   mixed  with  mercury  and  applied  to  metal  surface  to  be  gilt  then  heated  to  sufRiciently  high   temperature  to  drive  off  mercury  in  the  form  of  vapor,  gold  left  on  surface  as  a  deposit  and   burnished.” xiv

Signature/Marks Maker’s  Mark:  Signed  in  Gold  Damascening  on  the  barrel  towards  the  nozzle  ‘LA  ROCHE  A  PARIS’xv Maker’s  Mark:  NP  in  an  oval  on  underside  of  muzzlexvi Silver  Mark:  Fox’s  head  on  rear  pillarxvii

Inscriptions A  maker’s  inscription  engraved  on  the  lock  of  the  pistol  reads  ‘LA  ROCHE  A  PARIS’  

Condition Assessment The  pistol  is  in  remarkable  conditions  for  its  age.  The  blueing  has  faded  to  a  steely  gray  from  the   bright  blue  color  it  would  have  been  initially,  however  all  the  ornamentation  remains  intact  and  it  is   Ritted  with  the  original  ramrod.  These  types  of  arms  designed  by  La  Roche  were  for  presentation   which  probably  accounts  for  the  remarkable  condition  of  the  item.

Provenance The  pistol  was  probably  originally  made  for  Louis,  the  Dauphin  of  France  (1729-­‐1765),  son  of  Louis   XV,  and  likely  was  commissioned  as  a  gift  from  his  father.  The  provenance  thereafter  is  unknown   xii  Peterson,  Encyclopedia  of  Firearms,  96.

in true  damascening  channels  were  cut  into  the  base  metal  corresponding  to  the  pattern  and  precious  metal   as  hammered  into  them  and  the  surface  was  then  polished  smooth”;  also  known  as  inlaid  when  referring  to   inlay  on  metal  rather  than  wooden xiii  Ian  Cox,  ‘Materials  and  Techniques:  Silver.’  Handout  for  lecture  on  02/11/10,  3;  ʻEngravedʼ,

Dictionary.com, http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/engraved,  accessed  10/02/11. xiv  Peterson,  Encyclopedia  of  Firearms,  98. xv  A.  N.  Kennard,  French  Pistols  and  Sporting  Guns  (London,  1972),  25.

From 1640  on  it  became  usual  practice  for  the  maker’s  name  and  town  where  he  worked  to  be  engraved  on   the  lockplate  and  inlaid  in  gold  on  the  barrel  to  “harmonize  with  the  decoration  at  the  breech.”    The  maker’s   name  that  appears  on  the  barrel  is  often  just  an  assembler  and  Rinisher,  although  they  may  have  been  the   locksmith  as  well.  Barrel  maker’s  marks  are  usually  on  the  top  or  underside  of  the  breech,  while  marks  of  the   decorator  or  stocker  are  comparatively  rare. xvi  Mann,  Wallace  Collection  Catalogues,  579. xvii    Norman,  Wallace  Collection  Arms  and  Armour  Supplement,  278.

Symbol of  fox’s  head  is  (poincon  de  decharge  of  Paris)  the  fermier  Louis  Robin  (1738-­‐1744) 6


until it  was  added  to  the  current  collection,  bequeathed  by  Lady  Wallace  to  the  British  nation  in   1897  and  currently  housed  in  the  Wallace  Collection  museum.xviii

Related works   There  is  no  known  companion  to  this  pistol.  Most  pistols  during  this  time  were  made  in  pairs,   however  since  this  was  a  presentation  arm,  it  is  likely  that  it  was  not  made  as  part  of  a  set.  The   decoration  of  the  lock  and  cock  are  reminiscent  of  designs  of  De  Lacollombe,  published  in  a  pattern   book  in  1730.xix  

Literature and  Documentation   •

Mann, Sir  J.  G.,  Wallace  Collection  Catalogues:  European  Arms  and  Armour  Volume  II,   London:  The  Trustees  of  the  Wallace  Collection,  1962.

Norman, A.  V.  B.,  Wallace  Collection  Catalogues:  European  Arms  and  Armour  Supplement,   London:  The  Trustees  of  the  Wallace  Collection,  1986.

xviii ‘The  Collection,’  Wallace  Collection,  http://www.wallacecollection.org/thecollection,  accessed  14/02/11.   xix  Norman,  Wallace  Collection  Arms  and  Armour  Supplement,  278.

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Stage 2 Comparative  Evaluation   A  pair  of  Rlintlock  pistols,  shown  below,  are  held  by  the  Victoria  and  Albert  Museum.  They  were  made  by   La  Roche  approximately  5  to  10  years  later  and  make  for  a  good  stylistic  comparison.  (To  avoid   confusion  and  maintain  consistency,  the  pistol  in  the  Wallace  Collection  will  be  referred  to  as  the   Dauphin’s  pistol,  while  the  pair  in  the  V&A   will  be  referred  to  as  the  Royal  pistols.)   The  Royal  pistols  feature  walnut  stocks   that  are  “slightly  carved  with  scrollwork   and  profusely  inlaid  with  symmetrically   arranged  scrollwork  in  gold  wire.  On  the   upper  side  of  the  butt  is  inlaid  on  one   pistol  a  Rleur-­‐de-­‐lis,  and  on  the  other,  the   cypher  of  Louis  XV,  King  of  France.  The   Fig.  3.  Jean-­‐Baptiste  La  Roche.  Pair  of  Slint-­‐lock  pistols  for   Louis  XV,  1750-­‐60,  The  Victoria  and  Albert  Museum,  London,   no.  2433A-­‐1855.

escutcheon plates  of  gold  bear  the  royal   arms  of  France.  The  steel  mounts  are   chiseled  in  unusually  high  relief  against  a  

gold-­‐plated ground,  the  ornament  differing  on  each  pistol.” xx   Despite  having  the  same  maker  and  similar  dating,  there  are  major  differences  among  the  Royal  pistols   and  the  Dauphin’s  pistol  (shown  right.)  There  was  not  much  change  in  ‘fashion’  in  arms  during  this  period   and  having  the  same  maker  reduces   differences  strictly  due  to  style  and/or   craftsmanship,  providing  a  good  source   of  comparison  on  how  the   ornamentation  and  materials  used  may   relate  to  the  use  of  the  Rirearm.  First,  the   Dauphin’s  pistol  is  entirely  made  of   Fig.  4.  Detail  La  Roche  Rlint-­‐lock  pistol.

metal, whereas  the  Royal  pistols  have   walnut  stocks.  Furthermore,  the  

ornamentation has  been  restrained  on  the  Royal  pistols  and  the  primary  iconographic  scheme  reRlects   that  of  the  royal  family  through  the  coat  of  arms  and  Rleur-­‐de-­‐lis  decoration.  The  Dauphin’s  pistol  is   highly  decorated  in  comparison,  featuring  royal,  mythological,  and  classic  ornamental  decoration.  The   rococo  ornamental  scheme  is  more  fashionable  than  in  the  Royal  pistols,  which  may  be  primarily  due  to   xx  Pair  of  Rlint-­‐lock  pistols  by  La  Roche,  Museum  No.  2433A-­‐1855,  ‘V&A  Collections,’  Victoria  and  Albert  

Museum, http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O97163/pair-­‐of-­‐Rlintlock/,  accessed  10/02/11. 8


the differences  in  use,  rather  than  purely  stylistic  changes.  The  Royal  pistols  could  have  been  used  as   presentation  arms  by  Louis  XVI  to  foreign  dignitaries  or  favored  ofRicials,  but  likely  would  have  been  for   his  private  use,  whereas  the  Dauphin’s  pistol  is  deRinitely  a  very  grand  presentation  arm  made  especially   for  him,  possibly  to  commemorate  a  special  occasion,  such  as  the  signing  of  his  wedding  contract  in   1744.  Differences  in  use  may  also  help  clarify  the  singularity  of  the  Dauphin’s  pistol.  “Until  the  advent  of   practical  repeating  and  breech-­‐loading  mechanisms  in  the  second  quarter  of  the  nineteenth  century,   pistols  were  almost  invariably  made  in  pairs”  referred  to  as  a  garniture.xxixxii  If  the  Dauphin’s  pistol  was   strictly  a  presentation  arm  then  it  had  no  functional  need  for  a  companion,  whereas  the  Royal  pistols   were  intended  for  personal  use  and  therefore  were  made  in  a  pair  as  was  the  common  practice  during   this  period.   The  operation  of  early  Rirearms  required  several  other  pieces  of  equipment,  therefore,  another  good   source  of  comparison  lies  in  the  accessories  necessary  to  Rire  the  pistol.  These  include  primers,  powder   Rlasks,  and  cartridge  boxes  and  were  usually  made  by  the  same   artists,  decorated  to  match  the  weapon  to  which  they   belonged.xxiii  A  powder  Rlask  (shown  right,)  also  in  the  Wallace   Collection  is  a  good  example  of  the  type  of  accessories  that   accompanied  Rirearms.  It  is  possibly  from  the  same  period,   dated  18th  or  19th  century  and  is  made  of  antelope  horn  with   mother  of  pearl,  copper  alloy,  and  silver  inlaid   ornamentation.xxiv  Stylistically,  it  is  obviously  very  different  from   the  Dauphin’s  pistol,  not  necessarily  because  it  is  German  or   Scandinavian  in  origin,  but  more  likely  because  it  was  made  for   a  more  simply  ornamented  Rirearm  designed  for  regular  use. There  are  no  known  companion  pieces  of  equipment  for  the   Dauphin’s  pistol  in  particular.  There  are  two  possible   explanations  for  this:  (1)  that  either  the  original  companion  

Fig. 5.    Unknown;  German  or   Scandinavian,  Powder  Flask,   18th-­‐19th  century,  The  Wallace   Collection,  London,    no.  A1270.

pieces did  not  survive  or  are  simply  not  known,  or  (2)  that  there   were  no  accessories  made  speciRically  for  the  Dauphin’s  pistol   because  it  was  a  presentation  arm  rather  than  for  personal  use. xxi  C.  Blair,  Pistols  of  the  World,  (New  York,  1968),  8. xxii  J.F.  Hayward,  The  Art  of  the  Gunmaker,  Vol.  II,  (London,  1962),  22. xxiii  Wallace  Collection  Gallery  Guide.  European  Armour  III  Gallery  at  the  Wallace  Collection.  (2010),  32-­‐33. xxiv  Powder  Flask,  Museum  no.  A1270,  ‘Wallace  Collection  Live,’  Wallace  Collection,  http://

wallacelive.wallacecollection.org/eMuseumPlus?service=direct/1/ResultLightboxView/ result.t1.collection_lightbox $TspTitleImageLink.link&sp=10&sp=Scollection&sp=SRieldValue&sp=0&sp=1&sp=2&sp=Slightbox_3x4&sp=1 2&sp=Sdetail&sp=0&sp=F&sp=T&sp=22, accessed  18/02/11.   9


Stage 3   Historical  Contextualization   Louis  of  France  was  the  Dauphin  from  1729  until  his  death  in  1765.  From  a  young  age  he  was  greatly   interested  in  the  military  arts.  “The  King  had  a  very  close  relationship  with  his  son,  although  they  seem   to  have  become  estranged  after  several  acts  of  disobedience  on  the  part  of  the  Dauphin,  probably   originating  with  the  King’s  refusal  to  allow  the  Dauphin  to  participate  in  the  1744  campaign  in  the  War   of  the  Austrian  Succession.” xxv  In  this  same  year,  Louis  XV   negotiated  a  marriage  contract  between  Louis  and  Maria   Teresa  Rafaela  of  Spain. “The  Dauphin’s  status  as  the  heir  to  the  French  throne   demanded  that  he  have  the  very  best  of  everything,  from   clothes  and  jewels  to  furniture,  horses  and  weapons.”xxvi   (see  portrait  on  the  left)  “This  weapon  is  certainly  of  royal   quality  and  its  power  as  a  status  symbol  can  only  have  been   enhanced  by  the  fact  that  Louis  was  still  a  child  when  it  was   given  to  him.”xxvii  The  Dauphin’s  pistol  was  made  by  the   royal  French  gunsmith,  Jean-­‐Baptiste  La  Roche  of  Paris,   who  also  made  personal  Rirearms  for  the  English  King   George  III  as  well  as  Louis  XV  and  Charles  X  of  France.xxviii   With  the  adoption  of  Rirearms  as  personal  weapons  by  the   upper  classes  in  the  early  16th  century,  there  was  a   Fig.  6.  Studio  of  Alexandre  Roslin,  c.  1765,   Portrait  of  Louis  Dauphin  of  France  in  the   uniform  of  Colonel  General  of  the  Dragoons,     National  Gallery,  London.

complete change  in  attitude  and  henceforth  guns  and   pistols  were  richly  decorated.xxix  The  development  of  the   Rlint-­‐lock  in  the  17th  century  simpliRied  and  improved  the   Riring  mechanism  and  French  Rirearm  design  became  the  

most fashionable  both  technically  and  decoratively.xxx  The  rococo  fashion  “was  to  determine  the  design  

xxv ‘Treasure  of  the  Month  -­‐  September  2009,’  Wallace  Collection,  http://www.wallacecollection.org/whatson/

treasure/86, accessed  19/02/11. xxvi  Ibid. xxvii  Ibid

Note: Louis  could  have  been  as  old  as  15,  if  the  later  dating  of  1744  is  used xxviii  Ibid. xxix

Blair, Pistols  of  the  World,  81.

xxx

Kennard, French  Pistols  and  Sporting  Guns,  21.

10


and decoration  of  the  most  luxurious  arms  ever  made.”xxxi  Methods  of  decorating  Rirearms  were  universal   in  the  18th  century  due  to  use  of  the  same  techniques,  vocabulary,  and  even  patterns,  where  the  rococo   system  of  asymmetrical  scrollwork  “displaced  local  and  national  idioms  in  decorative  style.”xxxii  Pattern   books  were  produced  by  several  different  artists  at  various  dates  over  the  17th  and  18th  century  and   were  sold  throughout  Europe.   The  design  on  the  Dauphin’s  pistol  is  reminiscent  of  a  design  published  by  LaCollombe  in  1730,   indicating  the  iconography  does  not  entirely  reRlect  the  bespoke  tastes  of  the  King  or  Dauphin  but  rather   the  fashion  at  the  time.xxxiii  The  1730‘s  marks  the  introduction  of  the  rococo  style  ornamentation  on   French  Rirearms,  which  remains  fashionable  until  the  introduction  of  dueling  pistols  in  the  1770’s  and   even  then  still  used  until  well  after  the  French  Revolution.xxxiv  The  barrels  of  good  quality  guns  of  this   period  almost  always  feature  gilding  on  a  blued  ground.xxxv  In  the  case  of  Rine  Rirearms,  such  as  those   made  by  La  Roche,  the  cock  often  featured  a  dragon  or  eagle  on  the  neck  of  the  cock,  which  served  the   dual  purpose  of  decoration  and  strengthening  the  cock  at  it’s  weakest  point.xxxvi  Around  1640  it  became   fashionable  for  the  butt  to  be  bronze  or  silver  gilt,    and  cast  and  chased  in  the  shape   of  a  human,  animal,  or  bird’s  head.xxxvii  At  the  beginning  of  the  18th  century  this   was  often  replaced  with  a  silver  medallion  in  the  centre,  in  the  form  of  a  lion’s  mask   or  classical  head,  but  in  the  case  of  the  Dauphin’s  pistol,  as  illustrated  on  the  left,  an   oval  portrait  medallion  of  King  Louis  XV  is  shown  as  the  classical  head.  Other   unique  features  of  this  particular  pistol  are  also  associated  with  the  royalty,  for   instance  the  arms  and  coronet  of  the  Dauphin,  as  well  as  the  two  interlocking  L’s.

Fig. 7  &  8.  Details  of   the  Rlint-­‐lock  pistol   by  La  Roche.  Above  a   detail  of  the  arms  and   coronet  of  the   Dauphin.  Right,  a   detail  of  the  side-­‐ plate  which  features   a  mythological  scene   of  Neptune. xxxiHayward,  The  Art  of  the  Gunmaker,  9. xxxii  Ibid. xxxiii  Norman,  Wallace  Collection  Arms  and  Armour  Supplement,  278. xxxiv  Hayward,  The  Art  of  the  Gunmaker,  48. xxxv  Ibid.,  49. xxxvi  Ibid. xxxvii  Kennard,  French  Pistols  and  Sporting  Guns,  26.

11


It was  the  ‘fashion’  to  feature  a  mythological  scene  on  the  sideplate  or  lock  during  this  period  and  the   choice  of  Neptune  may  be  a  reRlection  of  this.  (see  on  Dauphin’s  pistol  above)  Neptune  was  a  popular   subject  with  the  royal  family,  displayed  in  various  fountains  and  sculptures  throughout  Versaille.   However,  another  possible  interpretation  exists.  Dauphin  literally  means  dolphin  in  French.  The  title  is   derived  from  Dauphin  de  Viennois  and  refers  to  the  animal  in  the  crest.  In  the  myth  of  Neptune  and   Amphitrite,  Neptune  sends  his  servants,  dolphins,  to  Rind  Amphitrite  and  persuade  her  to  marry  him.  In   reward,  Neptune  immortalized  the  dolphins  in  the  constellation  of  the  heavens.xxxviii  If  this  presentation   arm  was  in  fact  to  commemorate  the  signing  of  the  Dauphin’s  wedding  contract,  then  the  Neptune   iconographical  scheme  would  seem   appropriate  under  this   interpretation.   Besides  commemorating  events  and   promoting  status,  presentation   arms  were  also  often  given  to   foreign  rulers,  dignitaries,  and   favored  ofRicials,  similarly  to  how   diplomatic  gifts  are  still  given  today.

Fig. 9.  Sebastiano  Ricci,  Neptune  and   Amphitrite,  1691-­‐94,  oil  on  canvas,  94   x  75  cm,  Museo  Thyssen-­‐Bornemisza,   Madrid,  INV.  Nr.  340  (1982.33)   Neptune  and  Amphitrite  was  a  popular   mythological  scene  during  the  rococo   period.  The  Neptune  iconography  on   the  pistol  shown  above,  could  hint  at   this  particular  myth  since  Dauphin   translates  to  dolphin,  and  the  dolphins   are  the  heroes  of  this  myth.

xxxviii ‘Neptune  and  Amphitrite,’  Museo  Thyssen-­‐Bornemisza,  http://www.museothyssen.org/en/thyssen/

Richa_obra/185, accessed:  18/02/11. 12


Stage 4   Status  Report   The  pistol  is  appropriately  displayed  within  the  Wallace  Collection’s  European  Armor  Gallery  III,   alongside  similar  Rirearms  and  Rirearm  furniture.  However,  it  is  also  only  shown  from  the  side,  which   blocks  from  view  a  signiRicant  portion  of  the  decorative  scheme.  There  is  also  not  much  information   about  the  object  in  the  gallery,  online,  and  in  the  collection’s  catalogues.  In  fact,  the  only  mention  of  its’   signiRicance  is  a  small  plaque  below  the  pistol  that  reads  ‘Flint-­‐lock  pistol  by  La  Roche  a  Paris  probably   for  Louis,  Dauphin  of  France,  son  of  Louis  XV.’  This  is  not  the  only  signiRicant  item  within  the  Armor   Galleries  that  lacks  information  in  the  display,  however  given  the  size  and  diversity  of  the  collection  and   the  various  restrictions  placed  with  the  bequeathal  of  its  contents  the  display  is  quite  adequate.  Probably   also  due  to  these  constraints,  it  has  never  been  exhibited  and  very  little  research  exists.  In  fact  the  only   literature  that  relates  directly  to  this  pistol  is  supplementary  information  regarding  the  decorative   scheme,  maker’s  marks,  and  La  Roche  listed  in  the  Wallace  Collection’s  supplementary  catalogues  for   European  Arms  and  Armor.  In  relation  to  other  Rirearms  in  the  Wallace  Collection,  it  is  more  prominently   displayed  and  is  also  featured  in  a  small  guide  that  is  kept  in  the  gallery,  showing  it’s  signiRicance.   Compared  to  other  museums  and  collections,  the  Wallace  does  an  exceptional  job  displaying  their  arms   collection.  For  instance,  the  pair  of  Rlint-­‐lock  pistols  by  La  Roche  previously  used  in  the  comparative   analysis  are  in-­‐store  at  the  V&A,  which  seems  to  be  a  similar  trend  for  most  of  the  Rirearms  in  their   collection.  This  is  often  the  case  with  museums,  especially  those  that  lack  a  strong  interest  in  and/or   collection  of  arms  and  armor. Arms  and  armor  are  typically  not  well  researched  or  highly  regarded  areas  of  the  arts,  overshadowed  by   their  Rine  and  decorative  counterparts.  However,  the  production  of  Rirearms  during  the  18th  century  was   very  much  an  art  form  that  relied  on  the  skills  of  several  craftsmen,  some  of  whom  were  experienced   artisans  in  other  areas  aside  from  manufacturing  Rirearms.  From  the  mid-­‐16th  century  on  usually  at  least   three  craftsmen  were  involved  in  the  manufacture  of  Rirearms:  barrel-­‐maker,  locksmith,  and  stockman.     Additional  specialists  were  also  used  for  decoration.  The  manufacturing  process  in  general  is  the  same   for  all  other  types  of  metalworking  except  for  the  barrel,  which  requires  special  techniques.  involved  in   manufacture  of  a  gun  plus  specialists  used  for  decoration.  Not  only  were  the  Rirearms  of  this  period   ‘works  of  art’  they  were  technically  complex.  This  information  provides  several  opportunities  for   displaying  Rirearms  in  new  and  interesting  ways.  For  example,  curating  a  display  that  shows  Rirearms   alongside  their  decorative  art  counterparts,  that  utilize  the  same  manufacturing  techniques  and  often   the  same  craftsmen  and  patterns.  Another  option  would  be  focusing  on  the  evolution  of  the  Rirearm,   technical  components,  and  use.  

13


The current  market  status  of  this  object  is  difRicult  to  determine  because  Rirearms  of  this  provenance  and   signiRicance  rarely  come  on  the  market.  The  pair  of  Royal  pistols  by  La  Roche  were  purchased  by  South   Kensington  Museum  of  Science  and  Art  for  £107  back  in  1855,  which  amounts  to  approximately   £9,000xxxix  today.  The  most  recent,  relevant  result  was  a  pair  of  pistols  by  Napoleon’s  gunmaker  Nicolas-­‐ Noel  Boutet,    that  Bonham’s  sold  last  year  for  £162,000.xl  Given  the  special  nature  of  the  Dauphin’s  pistol   and  esteemed  provenance,  it  seems  its  value  would  more  closely  resemble  the  price  realized  by   Bonham’s  than  the  inRlation  adjusted  purchase  price  for  the  Royal  pistols  at  the  V&A.  

xxxix‘InRlation Calculator,’  Bank  of  England,  http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/education/inRlation/calculator/

Rlash/index.htm, accessed  20/02/11. Note:  The  site  uses  2.8%  inRlation  rate  for  the  dates  1855-­‐2010. xl  ‘Lot  No.  203,  Sale  17948,  Antique  Arms  and  Armour,  24  Nov.  2010,’  Bonhams,  http://www.bonhams.com/

eur/auction/17948/lot/203/, accessed  19/02/11. 14


Bibliography 1. Blackmore,  Howard  L.,  Firearms,    (London:  Studio  Vista,  1964) 2. Blair,  C.,  Pistols  of  the  World,  (New  York:  Viking  Press,  1968)   3. Blair,  Pollard,  A  History  of  Firearms,  (New  York:  Franklin,  1973) 4. Hayward,  J.F.,  The  Art  of  the  Gunmaker,  Vol.  II,  (London:  Barrie  and  Rockcliff,  1962) 5. Kennard,  A.  N.,  French  Pistols  and  Sporting  Guns,  (London:  Hamlyn,  1972) 6. Peterson,  Harold  L.,  Encyclopedia  of  Firearms,  (New  York:  Dutton,  1965) 7. Peterson,  Harold  L.  and  Howard  L.  Blackmore,  The  Book  of  the  Gun,  (London:  Hamlyn,  1969) 8. Mann,  Sir  J.  G.,  Wallace  Collection  Catalogues:  European  Arms  and  Armour  Volume  II,   (London:  The  Trustees  of  the  Wallace  Collection,  1962) 9. Norman,  A.  V.  B.,  Wallace  Collection  Catalogues:  European  Arms  and  Armour  Supplement,   (London:  The  Trustees  of  the  Wallace  Collection,  1986)

15


Appendix List  of  Illustrations

• Fig. 1.  Jean-­‐Baptiste  La  Roche.  Flint-­‐lock  pistol,  1738-­‐44,  (side-­‐plate  view),  The  Wallace  Collection,   London,  no.  A1216. • Fig.  2.  Jean-­‐Baptiste  La  Roche.  Flint-­‐lock  pistol,  1738-­‐44,  (inside  view),  The  Wallace  Collection,   London,  no.  A1216. • Fig.  3.  Jean-­‐Baptiste  La  Roche.  Pair  of  Slint-­‐lock  pistols  for  Louis  XV,  1750-­‐60,  The  Victoria  and   Albert  Museum,  London,  no.  2433A-­‐1855. • Fig  .4.  Detail  of  Rigure  1. • Fig.  5.    Unknown;  German  or  Scandinavian,  Powder  Flask,  18th-­‐19th  century,  The  Wallace   Collection,  London,    no.  A1270. • Fig.  6.  Studio  of  Alexandre  Roslin,  c.  1765,  Portrait  of  Louis  Dauphin  of  France  in  the  uniform  of   Colonel  General  of  the  Dragoons,    National  Gallery,  London,  A17. • Fig.  7.  Detail  of  Side-­‐plate  from  Figure  1. • Fig.  8.  Sebastiano  Ricci,  Neptune  and  Amphitrite,  1691-­‐94,  oil  on  canvas,  94  x  75  cm,  Museo   Thyssen-­‐Bornemisza,  Madrid,  INV.  Nr.  340  (1982.33)

16


General Glossary • • • • • • •

amorini-­‐ Italian  term  for  winged  cupids barrel-­‐  refers  to  the  metal  tube  through  which  the  ammunition  is  propelled lock-­‐  the  system  used  to  ignite  the  propellant poincon  de  decharge-­‐  refers  to  the  French  silver  standard  mark scutcheon-­‐plate-­‐  ornamental  and  protective  plate  on  the  stock sideplate-­‐  suggests  all  the  Riring  parts  are  contained  within  the  body  instead  of  externally stock-­‐  frame  of  the  gun,  normally  made  of  wood

Illustration of  Rlintlock  components Source:  Kennard,  French  Pistols  and  Sporting  Guns.

17

OBJECT ANALYSIS  

Object analysis report of a flintlock pistol from the Wallace Collection in London. Academic collections report example.

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