Flintlock Target Pistol of Prince William Frederick, Second Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh (1776–1834), with Case and Accessories

Gunsmith Wogdon & Barton British
Gunsmith Robert Wogdon British
Gunsmith John Barton British

Not on view

Robert Wogdon, a gunmaker most famous for his dueling pistols, partnered with John Barton late in his career. This elegant target pistol is among their most accomplished work. Its long barrel, measuring nearly twelve inches in length, indicates its intended use for targets. Graceful, understated, and built with fine attention to detail, it belonged to a cousin of George IV, Prince William Frederick, second Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh, whose arms are engraved on the grip’s gold escutcheon.

The finest London firearms made in the classic British style of the early nineteenth century rank among the most stately and innovative in the history of gunmaking. They are recognizable by their elegant proportions, restrained ornament, and technical refinement. Graceful yet practical and perfectly balanced in the hand, they privilege overall formal quality over applied adornments. This emphasis on the purity of form references the Neoclassical style then in vogue. It also breaks from the longstanding tradition of decorative opulence in fine Continental European firearms.

London gunmakers favored subtle embellishments that complemented the firearms’ deliberate and meticulous assemblies. An aesthetic vocabulary of blued, case-hardened, and browned steel and richly finished walnut, both with tasteful gold and silver accents, defines much of their best work. The various component parts of these firearms were individually produced under the direction of a master gunmaker by highly specialized craftsmen, including a lock smith, barrel forger, stocker, and engraver. From about 1790 firearms were generally fitted with mahogany cases, whose interiors were lined with green baize (woolen cloth) and subdivided into discrete compartments for the weapon, tools, and accessories.

Flintlock Target Pistol of Prince William Frederick, Second Duke of Gloucester and Edinburgh (1776–1834), with Case and Accessories, Wogdon & Barton (British, London 1795–1803), Pistol: wood (walnut), steel, gold, brass, horn; ramrod: wood (walnut), brass, steel; case: wood (mahogany), velvet, brass; powder flask: brass, steel, leather; bullet mold: steel; screwdriver: wood (walnut), brass, steel; cleaning rod: wood (walnut), brass, steel; bottle: glass, British, London

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