Pair of Flintlock Pistols Made for Ferdinand IV, King of Naples and Sicily (1751–1825)
Royal Arms Manufactory at Torre Annunziata (Italian, Naples, established 1757)
Michele Battista (Spanish, active in Naples, Italy, recorded about 1760–90)
Emanuel Esteva (Spanish, active in Naples, Italy, recorded about 1768–73)
Steel, gold, wood (walnut), silver
L. of each 17 3/8 in. (44.1 cm); L. of each barrel 11 1/16 in. (28.1 cm); Cal. .63 in. (16.0 mm); Wt. of each 2 lb. 4 oz. (1021 g)
Gift of Henry Walters, 1926
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 375
The Royal Arms Factory in Naples was established in 1757 with the significant participation of Spanish gunmakers, who strongly influenced Neopolitan arms production in both technical innovations and artistic style. These magnificent pistols are signed by two leading craftsmen of the factory and appear to have been made for their patron, King Ferdinand IV of Naples and Sicily (1751–1825). What may be portraits of the young king and his queen on the butts of the pistols suggests that they were made to commemorate the royal wedding in 1768.
Inscription: Inscribed at the base of each trigger guard: MICHAEL BAPTISTA F;
On the interior of each lock: Michele Battista;
On the bottom of one of the barrels (26.259.5): EM ES (Emanuel Esteva).
Marking: Stamped at the breech, and gilded: FR (mark of Fabrica Reale di Napoli) below the Italian crown; and Fab. R. di. Nap.;
Below the pan: FR;
On the escutcheon plate: FR.
Ex. coll.: Prince Liechenstein, Vaduz Castle (inv. nos. 281–282); Henry Walters.