Thursday, 26 November 2015

Thursday.


Had a very busy week so far.  On Monday we set out to drive to London, Parked at Lizzie's, then took a 'bus to Sotheby's, where we were allowed to view the forthcoming Arms and Armour Sale -the sale is early in December, but as I was only really interested in one lot, didn't fancy TWO trips to London in quick succession, so viewed the lot I was interested in and left a bid (Sotheby's are very obliging about this sort of thing). Then by taxi to the South Ken Christie's, where a friend had asked me to check out a piece of bronze (discretion!!). Did this then walked round to Bonham's in Knightsbridge to view their Arms and Armour sale. The sale was due to take place on Wednesday. Viewed part of it on Monday afternoon, then we took a tube back to Lizzie's house. As Parson Woodforde would have said - "dined, supped, and slept there."

On Tuesday grandson Matthew called and we tubed and walked back to Bonham's and resumed viewing Bonham's Arms and Armour sale. When Matt goes to a sale in London with me, Ann always tells him to look after his grandfather -  This always seems to me to come over as an instruction to keep an eye on his grandfather and don't let him commit any excesses when off the lead and out in London. Can't think what she means!!! At lunchtime Matt and I walked back to the South Kensington Museum (the V.& A.) and had  lunch there (this is as near these days to committing any excesses as I get - well and perhaps a glass of claret  to go with it). It's worth knowing that a good meal can be had there, and it's not crowded at this time of year. After lunch walked back to Bonhams and completed our viewing.  I had a commission to advise on three lots for collector friends. Two of them, after I'd made notes then boiled them down, could be summed up as 'leave it alone' and  'not with a barge pole', but the third lot, for which I was able to  sum up quite a lot of boyish enthusiasm,  my friends decided to have a bid on.
Communication can be incredibly easy these days (providing the chap at the other end knows a good deal more about it that I do).
The  sale didn't start until two p.m. (and my first lot came up at just after three) So that we were able to meet up with granddaughter Beth about mid day, and gave her lunch at Saint Martin's in the Fields (in the crypt, where again a good lunch is served, as is a very good apple crumble for pudding). It is Ann's favourite church, and Beth says it is hers too.Took a tube back to Bonham's (the Tube Station that comes out at the back of Harrod's is the nearest). Eventually was able to buy five lots, one of them being Jon and Jo's, on whose behalf I was bidding, and part of one of the other lots is the long sporting gun in the three photographs. .
The sale ended after five p.m, so by the time we'd payed and collected them, and got ourself back to Lizzies, the rush hour was in full swing. At Lizzie's suggestion, we got our heads down for an hour, got up, had supper with her, then loaded the car and hit the road. Took us just less than two hours, and we got home at eleven o'clock - Slept well.

                           ___________________________


                                    Mystery Object.
                                    _____________

The below object was, as I've said,  part of one of the lots at Bonhams. My two regular mystery guessers (Rog and Crowbard) should be able to look at the details of the above and  below three photos, and then tell me the exact date (the year that is,  in  which it was made) together with any other facts for which they can see evidence. Be interesting to see what they come up with and why.







17 comments:

Crowbard said...

I’m not at all certain, but the marks on the silver strip behind the trigger-guard suggest London 1820 just after the development of the percussion lock in 1819.
The trigger arrangement is unfamiliar to me, is that a set-trigger? I assume it is a single barreled piece, although from the angle of your photos any details of a second hammer or muzzle might be obscured.
Is the word Galloway a maker’s name or the area of its manufacture? It doesn’t look particularly Caledonian to my unpracticed eye.
The chequering on the grip is attractive and the general impression is very satisfying.
Sorry, I’m providing more questions than facts, Mike.

Mike and Ann said...

Hello Crowbard. You have spotted the most helpful clue I supplied (the hall mark) and then allowed it too mislead you. There is no Monarch's head shown in the hallmarking. Suggest you recheck the hallmarks. You are right - not particularly Caledonian. It is single barrelled.

Crowbard said...

I was always too trusting of your merry japes and tricks dear bruvver (and of my 1970 Foulsham hallmark booklet).
Having resorted to t'interweb (http://www.925-1000.com/dlLondon.html) I now conclude that this was originally a flintlock which has since been very neatly converted to percussion. The hallmarks are for London 1760 and the makers mark is for James Harmer a London silversmith (I-H registered 1761).

Mike and Ann said...

Hello Crowbard. The gun is a good, and early, conversion from flintlock to percussion. According to the hallmarks on the silver mounts the gun was made (the mounts were assayed at London in the year 1780). I am still using my Bradbury 'silver Assay Office Marks' of 1959, although it's falling apart now. More later.

Mike and Ann said...

P.s. Back with you, Crowbard. Two more things about the gun. One is that if you take a vertical line through the centre of the cock, you will see a vertical division of the lock plate. The part of the lock plate behind the cockscrew would have slid back and forth and was made to act as a safety catch so that the cock could not have been lowered or full cocked until this portion was drawn back. It is a very rare safety device. The other thing is that I have only been able to find one mention of a Galloway - William Galloway- who in 1780, the year this gun was made, was working as a gunsmith, in the Small Gun Office, in the Tower of London.

It's an interesting piece.

Crowbard said...

I'm getting careless Mike, I referred back to the hall-mark website only to find I had read the wrong date column with the right date-letter. May I ask you to look at the London 1740 'e'as I consider the escutcheon of the 'e' on your gun better matches 1740. (This was the one I misread as 1760)
When first glancing at the full-length picture of your gun, its style brought 1756 to mind (I know, I have a peculiar mind) and it was only the percussion lock which dissuaded me from this 'first-thought'.
Yes, I see the safety-slide now you've pointed it out, Mike. Very discrete, simple and clever. I've seen nothing like it before.
I was under the impression that manufacture of small arms began at the Tower in 1804 and moved to the Royal Manufactory of Small Arms at Lewisham in 1807.
Was William Galloway a Round table man, a day man or a piece worker?

Mike and Ann said...

Hello Crowbard. I've had another look at the date letter,I can see what you mean, but if you take into account the shield shape, I'm still inclined to date the marks at 1780 (which is also Bonham's opinion of the date. It seems a little odd that the one mention of the gunsmith, Galloway, is in the same year - 1780. As he was obviously a skilled gun maker, I suppose he must have died young ?

Mike and Ann said...

P.s. The trigger is not a 'set trigger', but the design (a capital 'T' in section) gives a very strong (in the sense of 'rigid') trigger, and was a very popular one around the date we are discussing.

Crowbard said...

I don't quite follow you as to his early death, Mike; assuming he was apprenticed to a gunsmith when he was 14 and became a journeyman at 21 and was at the height of his career between 25 and 65 and made this piece in 1780 late in his career when aged 65 he would have been born 1715; but if this was made in 1740 when he was 25 this putative birth-date would still hold. The physical evidence we have is your gun with his name and a blunderbuss lot 304 of the same sale also with his name. That two very different pieces should turn up in the same auction after 240 or 280 years suggests that he was quite prolific. Also knowing he worked in the small arms office (possible for much of his career) would suggest that much of his production was for military pieces which were unlikely to bear his name.

Crowbard said...

Thanks for the info on the trigger section, that makes a good deal of mechanical sense, spreading the load on the finger yet maintaining rigidity and lightness.

Mike and Ann said...

Hello Crowbard. Lot 304 at Bonham's Arms and Armour Auction consisted of a flintlock blunderbuss by Robert Wogdon and a percussion sporting gun by Galloway. The two guns have no connexion save having been sold in the same lot at an auction sale last Wednesday..

Lori Skoog said...

Mike and Ann...you certainly take advantage of every single day. I love going along for the ride!

Crowbard said...

Sorry Mike, Bonham's disinformed me and the general public via their website (or else I got it muddled again). Just rechecked their site and the photo still shows 2 musketoons/blunderbusses but the description now reveals all re your sporting gun. (which I'm convinced was not so a couple of days ago?)
This rather undermines my guesses about his productivity and longevity ~ but I hope he had a long and happy one.

Mike and Ann said...

Hello Crowbard. Yes, I can quite see what the problem is. Both Sotheby's and Bonham's have a habit of lotting up two items together, then only illustrating what they see as the important item in the lot. What you see illustrated is the first item (of two) in lot 304, and then lot 305. The sporting gun we are discussing was, in fact, not illustrated in the catalogue as it was the lesser item in lot 304. Confusing until you get used to it, and largely due to economics. They send me a 'freebie' catalogue as I'm a regular buyer - if I had to buy a catalogue it would cost around twenty five pounds, and if they illustrated the entire sale it would cost a great deal more. Sorry about the confusion.

PixieMum said...

Next time you are in Town don't forget I promised to meet Ann for a coffee near Turn em green, well that is how we think of the name of that Chiswick District line station whilst Mike is gallivanting around the West End

Madeleine

Mike and Ann said...

Hello Madeleine. As you can see from Thursday's Blog entry we'd booked so much into our three day visit, that we had very little spare time for the socialising with friends that we'd like to have done. Still, as you say - Next time...... We must try harder. Probably March time, though.
Warm regards to you both, Mike and Ann.

Mike and Ann said...

P.s. I mention, near the start of this blog entry, that after viewing Sotheby's auction I left a bid on a fine Spanish miquelet flintlock pistol. My bid was successful at a bit below my maximum bid. Since then I've had the pistol delivered by courier, done the two small, necessary repairs. I'm pleased with it and glad I left the bid.