The Property of a Gentleman
AN EXCEPTIONAL CASED PAIR OF 30 BORE SILVER-MOUNTED FLINTLOCK DUELLING PISTOLS OF PRESENTATION QUALITY BY JOHN MANTON, LONDON, NO. 1921, LONDON 1790/1, SILVER MAKER'S MARK OF MICHAEL BARNETT, PROBABLY MADE FOR FRANCIS INGRAM SEYMOUR-CONWAY (1743-1822), 2ND MARQUESS OF HERTFORD
with heavy octagonal browned twist scratch rifled barrels signed in gold capitals, fitted with gold fore-sights, the breeches with blued steel back-sights, inlaid with a gold line and with gold-lined vents (two very small areas of light pitting, minor scratches), engraved case-hardened tangs decorated with trophies-of-arms and scrolls, signed stepped case-hardened bevelled locks fitted with cocks en suite, engraved case-hardened steels with rollers, blued bolt safety-catches also locking the steels, gold-lined semi-rainproof pans, detents, and blued set triggers, highly figured walnut half-stocks with finely formed chequered swelling 'bag-shaped' butts, very fine full silver mounts en rocaille comprising trigger-guards engraved with trophies-of-arms on the bows and each struck with Paris petite garantie mark used from 1819, the terminals chased with trophies involving a classical helmet, side-plates chased in high relief with elaborate trophies-of-arms, butt-caps decorated with further trophies centring on a Satyr mask at the front and with a classical armour beneath a canopy at the base of the spine, each struck with Paris mark en suite with the trigger-guards, escutcheons with small traces of the owner's engraved crest (partially erased) and with borders chased en suite, rear ramrod-pipes chased with further trophies and a rococo bow, silver fore-end caps, silver barrel bolt escutcheons, original horn-tipped ramrods, retaining most of their original finish and perhaps unfired: in their fitted mahogany case, probably the original (cracks, ivory key escutcheon replaced), the interior with green baize (perhaps early), with leather-covered imitation tortoise shell three-way flask (small losses), and cleaning rod, with a small card typed and inscribed with provenance details
25.5 cm; 10 in barrels
38.2 cm; 15 in overall
Probably, Francis Ingram Seymour-Conway (1743 - 1822), 2nd Marquess of Hertford
Major Hugh Pollard, sold December 1922 for £30
Major H. W. Hall, sold Sotheby's 1967
Macdonald Beathy, sold 1968
Wilfred Ward, sold Christie's King Street, 27th October 1993, lot 105, £32,200
These pistols have been associated with a Marquess of Hertford since the early 20th Century. What remains of the crest would reinforce this attribution though insufficient detail remains to be absolutely certain of this. The attribution of the original owner to Richard, 5th Marquis of Hertford, must be discounted as he was born in 1818. The second Marquis, cited above is perhaps the most plausible candidate, passing to his son, Francis Charles Seymour-Conway, 3rd Marquess and from him to Richard Seymour-Conway, 4th Marquess, whose widow founded the Wallace Collection. The latter spent his early life in Paris and this might explain the later French marks on the trigger-guards and butt-caps.
Francis Ingram-Seymour-Conway, Second Marquess of Hertford (1743-1822), was educated at Eton College and Christ Church, Oxford followed by a grand tour with his tutor, the antiquary Walter Bowman, in 1764-5. He entered the House of Commons in 1766 as member for Lostwithiel and took over the borough of Orford in 1768. He spoke regularly in the House of Commons and was credited 'if not with eloquence, at least with knowledge of the subject'. During the American War of Independence he was a reliable supporter of Lord North's administration and held ministerial offices including lord of the Treasury and a privy councillor for Great Britain from 1780. However, he never attained the post of secretary at war to which he aspired. While a strong supporter of the political links between Britain and Ireland, he argued against the formal political and commercial union of the two countries. In the later part of his career in the Commons he was generally associated with the Foxite opposition against Pitt, but in 1793 spoke in favour of the Aliens Bill, seconding Pitt's address to the king, which paved the way for the abandonment of neutrality in favour of war with revolutionary France. Later in the same year he was employed as an informal roving ambassador to the king of Prussia and to other German courts, and was given a military mission in that area the following year. In 1797 he acquired the lease of Manchester (later Hertford) House which became his principal London residence, and it remained within the Hertford family until the establishment of the Wallace Collection by his grandson. On Pitt's return to government in 1804 Hertford was appointed master of the horse (1804-6) and later installed as a Knight of the Garter. Through his wife's influence at court he became lord chamberlain of the household (1812-21). He died on 17 June 1822 at Hertford House, Manchester Square, London, and was buried in the family vault in Ragley, Warwickshire.
John A. Atkinson, The British Duelling Pistol, p. 74
D.H.L. Back, The Mantons, 1993, p. 33
B. Dickens, "M·B" The Gun Makers' Silversmith - A Question of Attribution" in Journal of the Arms & Armour Society, March 1999, pp 110 - 114.
W. Keith Neal & D.H.L. Back, The Manton Supplement, 1978, p.54
Wilfrid J. Ward, Duels & Duelling, in, Guns Review, June 1983, p.449,
British Pistol Duelling & its Weapons in Man at Arms, volume six, number four, July/August, 1984, p.10 and front cover
Weapons of Honour, in Country Life, 3rd October, 1985, p.965
An Honourable Affair - The Duelist's Code, in Lloyd's Log, November, 1985, p.42
An x-ray of the trigger-guards reveals hallmarks including the date letter for 1790/91. The x-ray also shows evidence of a trigger-guard spur that was probably not fitted.
These pistols belong to a group of only four known examples by this maker with exceptionally elaborate silver mounts, all of the same design, by Michael Barnett. The others comprise: a cased pair, formerly in the Keith Dill collection, with serial number 2837 and hallmarked for 1797, sold Rock Island Auctions, 6 May 2017, lot 2169 (£80,500 ($103,500), including premium); an uncased pair attributed to the ownership of General James Hope Grant, formerly in the collection of Norman Dixon, with serial number 1166 and hallmarked for 1789 sold Bonhams, Knightsbridge 18th April 2012, lot 317, (£31,250 including premium); and another pair, serial numbered 1919 and hallmarked for 1790, remain in the Keith Neal Collection. The present pair is the only example in the group that are half-stocked, a notably early feature. It is also the finest of the group to be offered for sale.
Further information, including x-rays, a discussion of the provenance and the silver mounts, is included with this lot and will be available to prospective bidders.
£35000 - 45000 Click here for details of BP and other fees payable on this lot.