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    Sale 5427

    Antique Arms & Armour

    17 December 2008, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 37

    A RARE MIQUELET-LOCK MUSKET BELONGING TO A GROUP OF OTTOMAN FIREARMS WITH LUXURIOUS IVORY-VENEERED STOCKS, POSSIBLY CARRIED BY THE GUARD OF SULTAN ABDUL HAMID I

    CIRCA 1780 (1195 A.H)

    Price Realised  

    A RARE MIQUELET-LOCK MUSKET BELONGING TO A GROUP OF OTTOMAN FIREARMS WITH LUXURIOUS IVORY-VENEERED STOCKS, POSSIBLY CARRIED BY THE GUARD OF SULTAN ABDUL HAMID I
    CIRCA 1780 (1195 A.H)
    With twist octagonal smooth-bore barrel decorated with inlaid silver patterns at the breech and muzzle, gold-lined maker's stamp, low standing back-sight, and retained by four chased silver-gilt bands, the foremost incorporating the sight, iron lock lightly decorated with gold koftgari scrolls, the bridle with gold-lined maker's stamp, wooden full stock almost entirely veneered in panels of ivory set between segmental lines of patterned copper wire, the remaining surfaces overlaid with shaped silver-gilt panels chased with scrolls, foliage and flowerheads on a contrasting stippled ground, all retained by domed small brass nails, the butt formed of ivory sections followed by an overlaid pattern of strips of mother-of-pearl, these studded with domed large gilt-brass nails and alternating with further chased silver-gilt plaques encrusted with coloured pastes in imitation of gems in raised embossed brass settings, the ivory veneer inlaid over the full length of the stock with a complex pattern of small brass roundels each filled with variously white, black and green-stained horn segments arranged to form differing stellate designs, and the ground sewn with minute brass nails throughout, retaining its original silver pricker in a silver tube ahead of the lock, button trigger, and original brass-tipped iron ramrod (some inlaid pastes, their settings and other small pieces of inlay missing)
    39 3/8in (100cm) barrel


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    The firearms forming this highly distinctive group are attributed to a range of dates from the late 17th century (in the former Electoral Armoury collection, Dresden, Inv.Nr. G1169) to circa 1800. All examples have stocks sharing closely similar decorative characteristics with minor variations. Published commentaries suggest that the luxurious quality and uniformity of the group makes their use by an elite body of troops most likely, the natural conclusion being the Sultan's guard.

    Six examples are preserved in the Topkapi Sarayi Museum, the main residence of the Ottoman Sultans until 1853.
    A further two are in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York(32.75.270 and 36.25.2155); another is in The Gatchina Arsenal, St. Petersburg (GDM Ref. No.938); and another is in The Wallace Collection, London.
    See H. Ricketts & P. Missillier, Splendeur des Armes Orientales, d'Acte-Expo, Paris, May-July 1988, No.43

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    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.