A Fine Pair of Scottish 28 bore All Metal Belt Pistols

Ref: 520

Price: £32,000

Maker: John Murdoch

Date: 1760

With 7¼ inch four stage barrels engraved at the flared octagonal muzzles and with symmetrical foliage at the mid-sections, fluted breeches, signed border engraved flat bevel edged locks each decorated with scrolling foliage on the tail, cocks en suite, faceted line engraved steels, three-quarter stocks engraved with foliate line ornament and characteristic foliage, foliate engraved ram’s horn butts with engraved and dotted interlace inlaid with silver along the back and each with silver oval escutcheon on both sides engraved respectively with owner’s mirror monogram above ‘of Drynoch’ and ‘Campen Oct.r 16 1760’, silver button triggers and threaded prickers (one replaced) each engraved as a flower-head, slender partly fluted and engraved belt hooks each with pierced and engraved terminal, original slender steel ramrods each with pierced baluster tip.

Sotheby’s New York, European Works of Art, Arms and Armour, 11 January 1994, lot 531

The inscription dated 16 October 1760 almost certainly refers to the engagement at Kloser Kamp, on the left bank of the Rhine about nine miles southwest of Wesel, which was launched against the French at midnight on 15th/16th October 1760. The night raid was conceived as a surprise attack, however a courageous French officer raised the alarm and the raid was not a success although French casualties amounted to 3,120 compared to the allies’ 1,600. The troops taking part included 150 highlanders and presumably one of their officers had these pistols inscribed as a memento of the battle

A note in the Statistical Account of Scotland, (1798) suggests that John Murdoch was apprenticed to one of the Cadells and notes “The trade is now carried on by John Murdoch, also famous for his ingenuity in the craft and who has likewise furnished pistols to the first nobility of Europe. These pistols were sold from 4 to 24 guineas a pair… when Mr. Murdoch gives over business, the trade, in all probability, will become extinct”