Purchased in June 1979, after an export licence had been refused in February 1979. With the assistance of the National Art Collection Fund, a special grant from the Treasury, and friends.
The two bright steel percussion locks are heavily chiselled with hunting scenes of dogs attacking a roe dear on one lock face and a boar on the other, a frightened wolf having climbed up a tree stump forms the hammer. The half stock of dark polished walnut is deeply carved with floral scrolls. The bright steel butt plate is cast and chased with an allegorical scene of Diana, the Roman goddess of the hunt, surrounded by naked female attendants preparing for the chase, the trigger guard with a cherub blowing a hunting horn. The steel fore-end cap is wrought in the figure of a stags head. The double side-by-side barrels, by the renowned Paris barrel maker Leopold Bernard, are of bright steel with the breeches and muzzles carved with an intricate pattern in oak leaves.
Inscriptions and Marks
makers name, engraved, on the central rib, barel makers name, engraved, on the underside of the barrel,
Almost certainly the work of a group of talented artist/craftsmen, the gun displays the wood carvers skill, the engravers art and the designers vision. The decoration is copied closely from Charles Claesens Recueil lornaments et de sujets pour être appliqués a lornamentation des armes, published in Liège in 1857, in which he draws fantastical neo-gothic and romantic designs for firearms. The gun was exhibited at the 1862 International Exhibition in South Kensington and was awarded a medal.
A similer gun was presented to the President of Mexico, Don Manuel Gonzales, by M. Paul Jules Grevey, President of France, in 1879