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    Sale 5426

    Antique Arms & Armour

    21 May 2008, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 134

    A RARE RUSSIAN (TULA) HOLSTER PISTOL ENCRUSTED IN GOLD AND SILVER, SIGNED WITH THE MAKER'S INITIALS JG, FROM A GARNITURE OF FLINTLOCK FIREARMS MADE FOR GENERAL-IN-CHIEF MIKHAIL KRECHETNIKOV (1729-1793), DEPUTY VICEROY OF THE PROVINCE OF TULA AND STEWARD OF MALOROSSIA (THE UKRAINE)

    CIRCA 1785

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A RARE RUSSIAN (TULA) HOLSTER PISTOL ENCRUSTED IN GOLD AND SILVER, SIGNED WITH THE MAKER'S INITIALS JG, FROM A GARNITURE OF FLINTLOCK FIREARMS MADE FOR GENERAL-IN-CHIEF MIKHAIL KRECHETNIKOV (1729-1793), DEPUTY VICEROY OF THE PROVINCE OF TULA AND STEWARD OF MALOROSSIA (THE UKRAINE)
    CIRCA 1785
    With sighted barrel formed in two stages, the breech inset with an architectural panel of blued iron applied with the owner's coat-of-arms, crest and five orders including the Annensky Cross, all on a plynth of martial trophies and all in finely chiselled gold and silver, brass vent, blued breech tang decorated with a chiselled and gilt swag with pendant gold leaves and silver beaded borders, bevelled lock signed with the engraved initials JG on the inside, inlaid with the later silver inscription 'I.C. Kuchenreuter', the tail and cock en suite with the breech tang, the cock also decorated with garlands of roses finely encrusted in gold and the steel encrusted and chiselled with further patterns of foliage, figured walnut stock carved with flowers and scrolls in low relief about the breech tang and ramrod-pipe (small cracks, the forward half of the fore-end an early working replacement), full mounts of blued steel finely chiselled en suite with the lock, finely encrusted with delicate gold foliage, the pommel, side-plate and trigger-guard each with silver beaded borders, the latter also decorated with an elaborate gold trophy-of-arms, and with later bone-tipped ramrod.
    16 1/8in (41cm)


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    The previously known surviving pieces from this garniture are a rifle and a blunderbuss each preserved in The Hermitage Museum (Inv. Nos. Z.O 731 and 5578). See Valentin Mavrodin, Fine Arms from Tula, New York 1977, plates 103-108. Also see L. Tarassuk, Antique European and American Firearms at the Hermitage Museum, 1971, cat. no. 287

    It would seem likely that Johann Christoph Kuchenreuter inlaid his signature in place of the original Tula inscription having refurbished this pistol within its early working life.

    General-in-Chief Krechetnikov was a veteran of The Seven Years' War and the Russian First Turkish War. He was a talented administrator, rising from Governor of Tver (appointed 1773) to Deputy Viceroy of both Kaluga and Tula provinces (appointed 1776), and to Steward of Malorossia (The Ukraine).

    Krechetnikov was also Chairman of the Commitee for the Reorganisation of the Tula Arms Factory, an appointment which may well have been commemorated by the presentation of this garniture.

    A portrait of Mikhail Krechetnikov by Dmitry Levitsky is also in The Hermitage, St. Petersburg.

    Special Notice

    VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 15% on the buyer's premium