EX W. KEITH NEAL: JOHN MANTON, LONDON
A RARE CASED 20-BORE FLINTLOCK SINGLE-BARRELLED SPORTING-GUN WITH INTERCHANGEABLE BARRELS, no serial number,
circa 1789, with swamped two-stage browned 50 1/2in. Spanish barrel with silver spider fore-sight, chiselled and gilded band at the intersection, the octagonal breech section with single engraved gold line at the rear, two gold-lined maker's stamps of Agn. Bustindui Ruis between three gold-lined fleur-de-lys marks with a gold-lined cross above and stamped on the underside with a gold-lined horseshoe mark, the second barrel similar but shortened to 31 1/4in., both barrels with gold-lined touch-hole, finely engraved case-hardened tang, case-hardened lock with moulded border and stepped tail signed 'MANTON' below the gold lined semi-rainproof pan, roller frizzen with blued spring, original blued finish on the internal working parts, figured walnut full stock chequered at the wrist (repaired above the front of the lock), take-down full-length fore-end, finely engraved blued iron mounts including trigger-guard with large pineapple finial, original horn-tipped ramrods the whole with much original finish (some staining to wood and loss to browning), the lock cavity with a stocker's(?) stamp, probably of Jeremiah Hill complete with its original lined and fitted mahogany case (minor repair to one lower corner, small loss to one upper) and also marked 'JERE. HILL', with numerous accessories including an unusual brown composition flask, possibly laquered papier mache, a quantity of shot chargers, a ball mould, a cased set of cleaning rods, a flint wallet, a shot-bandolier, turn-screw, oil bottle and other sundries including the forward section of the shortened barrel, the lid originally with carrying handle, complete with its W. Keith Neal collection medallion numbered 'C221'
Provenance: previously sold Christies, London, Lot 108, 25th October 2001.
A typed paper note pinned inside the case lid addressed, signed and dated 1957 by Neal states the following:
"Loaded this gun with 2 3/4 drams powder (no.2 grain) and 1 1/8ozs no. 6 shot, and shot a pigeon flying at 60 yards the very first time I ever fired the gun. The gun had not been so much as squibbed off or tested in any way. The pigeon I shot in a field of clover at the bottom of the long wood at Bishopstrow. It flew out of the wood and was a high going away shot.
N.B. This gun was made by John Manton in 1789, the Spanish barrels by Agostino Bustindui a little earlier.
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