A fine pair of 12-bore sidelocks, by Joseph Lang & Son, serial no:15174/5, the beautiful sidelock actions engraved with best foliate and bouquet engraving, the carved ornate fences also engraved with bouquet engraving, the top levers and ribs numbered ‘1’ and ‘2’ in gold, single-triggers and well-figured walnut stocks.
The makers have confirmed that this pair were made 15th August 1912 for a Mr J.P. Anderson.
Joseph Lang set up on his own in 1921 having worked for a number of years for Alexander Wilson. It appears he may well have had some help along the way having married one of James Purdey’s daughters! He was then credited with the introduction of breech loading sporting arms due to the improvements he made on an existing French design.
The business changed names many times over the years and was even in agreement with Abercrombie & Fitch of New York to act as an agent. In such high regard the business was held, records shows that in 1933 they had well over 6,000 customers including eight Dukes and two hundred and fifty four Lords.
A superb rare pair of 16-bore sidelocks, by J&W Tolley, the 1879 patent actions masterfully engraved with beautiful border, acanthus and foliate-scroll, together with the rear of the dipped edge lock plates engraved superbly with a charming set of game scenes of partridge and grouse in natural setting, with ornate carved fences, the trigger-guards engraved with running hare, classic double-trigger, the Homer patent 1877 forends with push-forward release, with well-figured semi-pistolgrip stocks.
J&W Tolley was first recorded in Birmingham in 1859 however they opened London premises over the years and this pair we built in their shop on Conduit St as mentioned on the rib. This dates the gun to 1883/1884 as this was the period of trading at this premises. The original records were lost due to bombing during WWII.
An early impressive 12-bore sidelock, by Frederick Beesley, the beautiful action with foliate-scroll engraving and ‘F. Beesley From Purdeys Patent’ in scroll banner, the carved ornate arcaded fences beautifully engraved ensuite to the action, with classic double-trigger and well-figure walnut stock.
Frederick Beesley (1846-1928) was a superb gunsmith and inventor. He is often described as ‘Inventor to the London Gun Trade’ due to his designs and patent that he sold to James Purdey in 1880, whom he used to work for. This design was undoubtedly his most famous. However he continued to design and sell patent’s to other makers throughout his career.
A superb 12-bore sidelock, by William Richards, the action with best deluxe foliate-scroll engraving with ‘Wm. Richards’ engraved in an acanthus scroll, the highly ornate fences finely carved with leaf decoration, the top lever, top tang, underside and trigger guard also highly decorated with engraving, a classic double trigger and well figured walnut stock.
William Richards had several addresses over the years and this serial number equates to 1905. This period of 1870-1909 the business was located at 27 Old Hall Street, Liverpool.
A spectacular Germanic 16-bore hammer, by Th. Rose, Diez, the action ornately engraved throughout with foliate-scroll and game scenes, with boar, hare and deer in gold, all set in natural surroundings, the hammers also engraved beautifully, the damascus barrels in their original gun metal grey finish with ornate gold and silver wire set decoration, with a Jones patent rotary underlever, classic double-trigger and well-figured walnut stock with ornate horn strap.
Theodor Rose, of Diez and Bonn worked from 1883-1903
A 12-bore pinfire, by Adolphe Jansen of Brussels, this quite superb pinfire action is heavily engraved with game scenes of pheasant, deer and hunting hounds in natural settings, surrounded with both border and foliate-scroll work engraving, the hammers are also engraved heavily, together with a Jones patent rotary underlever, the Damascus barrels are in their original gun metal grey finish, with some engraved decoration, with a classic double-trigger and walnut stock.
Adolphe Jansen of Brussels was gunmaker to King Leopold and designed several patents in the mid to late 19th century. The name finished trading in 1958.
A stunning 12-bore hammer, by George Smith, the action superbly engraved with bouquet and foliate-scroll, with carved delicate fences engraved with the top tang boldly engraved with acanthus-scroll, Jones patent rotary underlever, the barrels in stunning Lockyer Bronze finish, with hammers and double-trigger in dazzling Lockyer Gold finish, with well-figured walnut stock.
George Smith operated from 1859-1897 and this piece is one of the earliest. A London maker with several addresses over the years from Davies St to New Bond St. This piece is of particular note as there are one or two George Smith hammer sporting arms in the Royal Collection at Sandringham. However, even this piece is an earlier serial number than those.
A 12-bore sidelock, by Dudley Williamson, the action with two charming game scenes, on both sides it depicts a Pointer dog flushing game birds, surrounded by fine acanthus leaf engraving and foliate-scroll, the fences with side clips and top tang also engraved with foliate-scroll, the trigger-guard beautifully engraved with a pair of hunting dogs, a classic double-trigger and well figured walnut stock.
Dudley Williamson is recorded to have been trading from 1820, which was based on Waterloo Road, London. The business is only recorded on Waterloo Road from 1906-1920. There is interesting reference to Dudley Williamson being a witness at the Old Bailey during a murder trail in 1909 by shooting. The defendant having purchased cartridges from Dudley Williamson.
The proof marks tell us that it was first proved in Birmingham post 1904 then reproofed in London.
A rare and fine 12-bore sidelock, by Vickers Armstrong Ltd, the beautiful patent action delicately engraved with border and fine acanthus scroll, the fences and top lever engraved ensuite to the action, with a classic double-trigger and well-figured walnut stock.
Vickers Armstrong Ltd was part of the famous Maxim Gun Company, very few guns were made under the name of Vickers Armstrong Ltd. Records show that this gun was made between 1932-38.
A 12-bore sidelock, by Thomas Wild, the action with a handsome game scene, on one side a Pointer dog and on the other pheasant, both in natural setting, together with diamond lozenges of foliate-scroll engraving, the top lever and fences also ornately engraved, with classic double-trigger and well figured walnut stock.
The records tell us that this gun was ordered on 24th May 1928 by a J.J Bariger. The actioner for this gun was Betts. Thomas Wild is just one of the names that this business has carried over the years. The earliest was Benjamin Watson 1723-1777. Thomas Wild was the son-in-law of Benjamin Watson’s grandson.
A fine 12-bore boxlock, by Midland Gun Company, the beautifully engraved scallop-back action with deluxe foliate-scroll throughout, the fences and underside also engraved with this detail, the stock inset with two gold shield escutcheons on either side reading AS intertwined, with classic double-trigger and well-figured walnut stock with interesting scrolled chequering.
Midland Gun Co’s first trading address was 76 Bath St, Birmingham where they were stationed from 1889-1894, however the company moved many times after this.
A fine 12-bore boxlock, by John Dickson & Son, the action exceptionally engraved with fine foliate-scroll, which extends to the beautifully carved fences, the top lever numbered ‘2’ in gold, the underside and trigger guard also engraved with delicate scroll, with a classic double-trigger, and well-figured walnut stock.
The makers have confirmed that this sporting arm was made on 30th September 1924 for a Mr A.G. Stewart.
John Dickson & Son (1794-1880) was an Edinburgh gunsmith that grew throughout the 19th century and eventually had two other makers assimilate into the business, T.E. Mortimer and J. Harkom. The last John Dickson running the business died in 1923. Over part of the 20th century other makers were acquired by John Dickson & Son, notably James McNaughton and Alex Martin.
The most famous customer of John Dickson was a Charles Gordon who, from 1875 to 1906 bought 225 guns. Many of which were never fired by the avid collector.