Object Title

Flintlock holster pistol

Flintlock holster pistol

Date

1695

Object Number

XII.3829

Provenance

Purchased from Howard Ricketts. He had acquired them at auction from Sothebys, 17 December 1974, lot 403. From the collection of the Dukes of Westminster. From 1960 to 1970 they were exhibited in the Victoria and Albert Museum. Purchased with the help of generous donations from the Department of the Environment, the National Art Collections Fund, the Pilgrim Trust and the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths

Physical Description

Rounded lockplate with pronounced tilt at rear, chiselled with demi-figures, masks and delicate scrolls terminating in heads and engraved MONLONG LONDINI. Cock with swan-neck filled with pierced scrolls, engraved with demi-figures and foliate scrolls. The cock screw is carved with a bust portrait, possibly of William III. The cock is cracked across the neck. The steel and pan is chiselled with scrolls and lions' masks. The steel spring terminates in a foliate head and scroll finial. The top jaw and screw are restored.
Full length figured walnut stock carved in low relief with scrolls terminating in heads and profusely inlaid with scrolls, birds, animals and figures in silver wire and with cut and engraved silver sheet, including Diana flanked by hounds on the butt, Apollo driving the Sun chariot in front of the trigger guard and Fortitude near the fore-end. Steel furniture chiselled with acanthus foliage. Trigger decorated with an open work scroll. The butt cap with long side spurs terminates in a grotesque mask within a cartouche of masks and scrolls. The side plate is pierced with scroll work which terminates in a demi-figure and grotesque masks. The ramrod is a restoration.
The barrel is in three stages with mouldings between, chiselled with masks, foliate scrolls, figures and damascened with gold scrolls. The muzzle is chiselled with a ring of acanthus foliage. The foresight is a mask surrounded by gold scrolls.

Dimensions

BarrelLength353mm
OverallLength533mm

Firearms/Artillery

Serial Number nvn

Calibre

.527 in

Inscriptions and Marks

Stamped under barrel: mark of maker, M under a heart in a circle.

Bibliographic References

(ed.), Kings in Conflict: Ireland in the 1690's, Belfast 1990. pp. 202-3, ill. nos. 197a-b.

Notes

Pierre Monlong
A French Hugenot, he was appointed Arquebusier de la Maison Roi in 1664. In 1684 he emigrated to London with his wife and three children, and in 1688 they were granted denization. By June 1689 he had been appointed Gentleman Armourer-in-Ordinary to William III. He died sometime between 7th June 1699 (the date of his will) and 6th August 1701 (the date of probate). He may be the Peter Molan who was buried in St. Martins-in-the Fields on 23rd November 1699.


The portrait bust chiselled on the cock screw appears to be based on a medallion of William III. Most of the ornament seems to derive from the pattern books of Claude and Jacques Simonion, published in Paris in 1685 and 1693, the side plate seems especially typical. However, the shape of the lockplate and cock is more akin to those in the pattern books published by Jacquinet (1660) and Jean Berain (1695) and some of the ornament seems more like these earlier designs - for instance the decoration of the steel spring seems typical of Berain.