Percussion duelling pistols, pair, cased, cal. .460 in, smoothbore browned damascus steel octagonal barrel 28.70cm (11 1/2 in) long.
Wooden, probably mahogany, case lined in dark green velvet with nine major compartments with accessories, including lead bullets, bullet mould, powder flask, cleaning rod, lubricant and tools.
This beautifully cased pair of percussion pistols by Joseph Harkom of Edinburgh, Scotland, can be dated c.1830. They are made new as percussion, rather than being a conversion from the earlier flintlock ignition system, and this suggests a date towards the end of the first quarter of the nineteenth century.
The motto on the brass escutcheon on the lid, 'Virtute et opera' is the motto of the Scottish county of Fife, suggesting that perhaps their original owner - 'C.B.' - may have hailed from this region, to the north east of Edinburgh. Although the browned finish to the barrels has largely gone, the locks are wonderfully clean and present an excellent illustration of a foliate scroll type of engraving revived in the eighteenth century period of Enlightment from earlier, classical origins.
Percussion duelling pistols, pair, cased, cal. .460 in, smoothbore browned damascus steel octagonal barrel 28.70cm (11 1/2 in) long with light foliate-scroll engraved tang and pineapple motif on barrel plug upper. Lock plate engraved with loose revival-style foliate scroll and engraved 'J. HARKOM./ EDINBURGH.', hammer head engraved with typical 'open-mouthed fish' features, and hammer arm engraved with foliate scroll, hammer safety catch on lock plate at rear of hammer, light case-hardening colours evident on both lock and hammer, steel forewood cap, triggergaurd and buttcap engraved with foliate motifs, light original blueing retained on triggerguard with forward finial shape with engraved pineapple motif. Barrel secured to stock via a single barrel key with silver surrounding mount and barrel tang screw, vacant silver escutcheon on grip upper, grips chequered with slight flange to flat butt, engraved on barrel top 'JOSH. HARKOM - EDINBURGH'. Wooden, probably mahogany, case lined in dark green velvet with nine major compartments and Joseph Harkom, Edinburgh, trade label on lid inner reads in part 'JOSEPH HARKOM/ GUN MAKER/ (illeg.)/ EDINBURGH'. Case contains bullet mould, copper and brass powder flask stamped 'SKYES', cleaning rod with various fittins, pewter screw-top oil bottle, eight lead bullets and a glass bottle of lubricant the lid of which has exploded, a turned wooden contained with linen patches, a wooden mallet, screw driver and nipple wrench, and spare nipple. Brass escutcheon on lid outer engraved 'VIRTUTE. ET. OPERA' ('By virtue and deeds') and the initials 'C.B.', framed by a circular brass handle, corners reinforced by brass corner pieces, two hinges to lid, two hook catches on case front, and recessed lock missing.
Donation from Mr Harold H. Johns, 29 Jul 1918
Engraved on lock: J. HARKOM/ EDINBURGH Engraved on barrel: JOSH. HARKOM - EDINBURGH Engraved on case escutcheon: VIRTUTE. ET. OPERA/ C.B.
Type of item
23.5 cm (Length), 55.5 cm (Width), 6 cm (Height)
Barrel length: 28.70cm
240 mm (Length), 555 mm (Width), 62 mm (Height)
Measurement From Conservation. Box dimensions.