Pair of Flintlock Pistols

Gunsmith Georg Keiser Austrian

Not on view

The barrels are round, with a flat longitudinal sighting facet and a large facet on each side of the breech. The rear sight on the barrel tang is of chiseled steel, the front sight is of brass. The breech is decorated with chiseled moldings and is lightly engraved with floral motifs. On the sighting face, the maker's signature is inscribed: GEORG KEISER IN WIENN.

The lock are chiseled and engraved with foliate and linear motifs; on the lock plates, a girl picks flowers and winds a wreath, and Cupid waters a garden and holds a bouquet. The same signature that is on the barrels is found under the pan.

The stocks are rosewood, with carved foliation in the center and around the barrel tang; the forestock tip is of black horn. The mounts are of cast brass, chiseled and engraved with stylized foliate designs. Impressed into each grip is the number 1689, presumably a nineteenth-century Dresden inventory number.

George Keiser became a master-gunmaker in 1674 (Støckel, p. 615). He was the outstanding master of the Vienna school, working for the imperial court for more than half a century. This pair of pistols, of robust construction and simple finish and decoration, is typical of the kind commonly carried in saddle holsters by officers and gentlemen on horseback throughout most of the eighteenth century.

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