Pair of Flintlock Pistols

Gunsmith Alexander Campbell Scottish

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 376

The Highland warriors of Scotland carried distinctive arms. Their pistols, unlike those made elsewhere in Great Britain, were constructed entirely from metal, usually steel, and were engraved and often silver-inlaid with geometric and foliate ornament of Celtic inspiration. This pair, signed by the renowned gunmaker Campbell of Doune, Perthshire, is a classic example of the type. Among the defining features are the scrolled "ram's-horn" butts, button-shaped triggers (without trigger guards), decorative pierced rosettes behind the head of the cock, and belt hooks mounted on the side opposite the locks. These pistols are also noteworthy for their American association. The grips bear silver plaques inscribed Abrᵐ M. Embury/New York 1830, identifying them as having belonged to a member of a distinguished New York family. The pistols' unusually crisp condition testifies to their preservation as treasured heirlooms for almost two centuries.

Pair of Flintlock Pistols, Alexander Campbell (Scottish, Doune, died 1790), Steel, silver, Scottish, Doune

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