The Royal Astronomer’s Gun – Sir David Gill

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A superb 12-bore boxlock with a rich history, by J. Rigby & Co, serial no: 17599, the action with beautiful border engraving with some foliate-scrolling, the fences ensuite to the action with some engraving, a classic double-trigger and figured walnut stock.

The founder of Rigby was John Rigby in 1758. However it was his grandson, another John, who took the business to world fame. It was he, who oversaw the Lee .303 rifle into British military service. A world famous maker that can claim to be oldest firm of gunmakers still practising in Britain.

This particular sporting arm, no:17599 was sold to a Sir David Gill on 30th August 1910.

Sir David Gill (1834-1914) FRS, PRAS, K.C.B.-

Gill is the only Scot to be awarded the Bruce Medal for astronomy, the Watson medal by US Academy of Science and the Gold Medal by the Royal Astronomical Society…..twice! He was also knighted by Queen Victoria in 1900, Commander de la Legion d’Honneur and Prussian Pour le Merite together with six honour doctorates. He became President of the Royal Astronomical Society and President of the British Association for the Advancement of Science.

From timely beginnings as an amateur astronomer to being appointed Queen Victoria’s Royal Astronomer, he would go on to take the first HD photograph of the moon and also photograph the Great Comet of 1882. His workings on finding a scale of the solar system, was to within 0.2% of todays recordings. He also played a major role in mapping the entire sky in the Carte de Ciel project, an ambitious International venture, which resulted in over 10 million stars being recorded. In his later years he sat as President of the Royal Astronomical Society in London.

His work was so impressive that the great astronomer Arthur Eddington said “Whenever they have been put to the test,Gill’s values have been confirmed…..When we compare the instruments – the 40 inch telescope at Yerkes, or the 26 inch at Greenwich, with his 7in heliometer – we must marvel at the precision he could obtain.”

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Additional Information




12 Bore




J. Rigby & Co

Stock Number

13477, 17599

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