J. PURDEY & SONS
A FINE, HUNT-ENGRAVED 20-BORE SINGLE-TRIGGER OVER AND UNDER SIDELOCK EJECTOR GUN, serial no. 29163,
28in. nitro chopperlump barrels with solid Woodward type matt top-rib and side-ribs, over barrel engraved 'J. PURDEY & SONS. AUDLEY HOUSE. SOUTH AUDLEY STREET. LONDON. ENGLAND.', 2 3/4in. chambers, bored approx. 1/4 and 1/2 choke, bolstered action with hold-open toplever, automatic safety with gold-inlaid 'SAFE' detail, cocking-indicators, non-selective single trigger, rolled-edge triggerguard, best fine bouquet and scroll engraving, the makers name gold-inlaid on the lockplates and underside of the action bar, and further finely engraved with a portrait of The Rt. Hon. The Baroness Thatcher in a circular cartouche, inscribed 'MARGARET THATCHER PRIME MINISTER 1990', the triggerplate signed 'M.A. Hunt', the triggerguard tang gold-inlaid with the serial number, retaining some original colour-hardening and finish, 14 1/4in. highly-figured half-pistolgrip stock with pistolgrip-cap, weight 6lb. 4oz., in its lightweight ox blood leather case with accessories
Provenance: The makers have kindly informed us that this shotgun was completed in 1990 with 28in. barrels for the vendor.
The 1980s were an excellent time to be building a business as the Conservative government of the time and the Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher (the late Baroness Thatcher), actively supported and encouraged small/medium businesses in their aspirations. So it was that the vendor, a long-time shooting man, came to commission this shotgun. He built-up a highly successful company with two, quite different, arms. The first being a commercial cleaning firm based in the City (which of course was going through a period of great success), and the second acting as the first importer for Great Britain of Le Chameau footwear.
One of the major stockists for Le Chameau was James Purdey & Sons, and as the relationship between them and the vendor developed, the aspiration to own one of their shotguns became a clear and defined certainty. This was realised in 1988 when he commissioned this shotgun and decided upon an interesting addition to the maker's house style of fine bouquet and scroll engraving. In recognition of the economic climate that had enabled him to flourish, the vendor had a vignette of Baroness Thatcher engraved on the underside of the action, entrusting the task to Marcus Hunt.
Work progressed on the gun at a good pace and the vendor was able to try the gun at the West London Shooting Grounds only eighteen months later, and after a few minor adjustments were made he was able to take delivery. Ironically the day the gun passed into his hands was the day that Baroness Thatcher resigned as leader of the party following intense pressure from her peers.
The provenance also has a degree of splendid irony; the vendor as an eighteen year old became a coal miner. He was employed by the N.C.B. and worked as a pitman at their Littleton Colliery near Cannock. He left after a year as he developed bronchitis.
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