A Very Rare Royal 14-Bore Double Ignition Flintlock Sporting Gun
With 33 inch tapering rebrowned twist barrel with gold fore-sight inscribed ‘Gunmaker to his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales’ at the breech and engraved with a sunburst, breech with a single gold line, gold-lined maker’s stamp, gold-lined touch-holes on each side, breech hook stamped ‘Baker 1143’, engraved shaped tang grooved for sighting, flat bevelled Baker patent right and left-hand locks constructed so as to cock and fire in unison, each with roller, stepped tail, gold-lined maker’s stamp, reinforced cock, rainproof pan, and flash-shield on the pan-cover, varnished figured walnut half-stock, chequered grip, large padded leather-covered cheek-piece, iron mounts decorated with dogs and game birds, scroll trigger-guard, trigger-plate with pineapple finial, gold wrist escutcheon surmounted by the Prince of Wales’ feathers and motto, and inscribed ‘Gift/to/My Friend/Bob/GP’, two barrel-bolts each with silver escutcheons, silver fore-end cap and original horn-tipped ramrod with worm, London proof marks
Notes: Two other examples of this type of Baker gun are recorded. The first (now in an English private collection) is numbered 1276 and was sold at Christie’s, King Street, on 29 March 1995, lot 191. The second (serial number 1504) is in the collection of H. M. the Queen at Winsor Castle and also bears the Prince of Wales’s feathers in gold – it is recorded as having been purchased for the Royal Collection from the maker in 1809.
The Prince of Wales’s collection of new and antique arms, displayed originally at Carlton House, forms (together with his father’s collection) the nucleus of the present-day collection at Windsor. George Prince of Wales (Prince Regent in 1811 and King George IV in 1820) was an enthusiastic patron of the leading London gunmakers of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, of which Ezekial Baker was the most influential. Baker spent much time in attendance on the Prince Regent and sold him numerous firearms, mostly now at Windsor. In later editions of Baker’s book Remarks on Rifle Guns, the author printed targets shot by the Prince at Brighton.
The donor’s initials on the escutcheon presumably stand for ‘Georgius Princeps’. The recipient, ‘My Friend Bob’, may have been Lord Robert Seymour (1748-1831), son of Francis Seymour, 1st Marquess of Hertford, who is known to have received a Baker carbine as a gift from the Prince of Wales in 1809.