Double-Barrelled Flintlock Sporting Gun of Napoleon I Bonaparte

Double-Barrelled Flintlock Sporting Gun of Napoleon I Bonaparte

1809

Jean Le Page

(French)

gunmaker

Blued steel with gilt decoration; walnut stock; chiseled mounts

Overall: 116.8 cm (46 in.); Butt: 10.8 cm (4 1/4 in.); Barrel: 76.3 cm (30 1/16 in.); Bore: 1.6 cm (5/8 in.)

Gift of David S. Ingalls 1966.433

Description

The Le Page family firm was the leading maker of deluxe firearms for the French nobility during the late 1700s and early 1800s. Jean Le Page was royal gun maker to the French king, Louis XVI (1774–93), and after the Revolution to the emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte (1804–21), who commissioned this weapon. The gun bears the imperial monogram "N" (for Napoleon) in two locations. Luxury shoulder arms were sporting weapons intended for hunting or target shooting and were often exquisitely decorated. These finely crafted guns and their accessories also served as appropriate diplomatic gifts for noteworthy individuals, including kings, noblemen, ambassadors, and military officers. Luxury firearms were genuine works of art, utilizing the skills of gunsmiths, woodcarvers, chiselers, goldsmiths, inlayers, and engravers. Because of their "deluxe" character and their sometimes commemorative purpose, such firearms were often intended as collectibles and as objects for personal display. They are beautifully carved of fine woods, embellished with personal monograms, coats-of-arms, and silver mounts, and are often inlaid with fanciful patterns in mother-of-pearl, bone, and ivory.

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