BOSS & CO.
A TRIO OF 12-BORE SINGLE-TRIGGER EASY-OPENING SIDELOCK EJECTORS, serial no. 6201 / 2 / 3,
for 1912, 29in. nitro barrels (No.1 and 2 sleeved), the ribs engraved 'BOSS & CO. 13 DOVER STREET. PICCADILLY. LONDON. W.' and gold-inlaid '1', '2' and '3' at the breech ends, 2 1/2in. chambers, bored approx. 1/4 choke in all, (No.1 loose, No.3 wall thicknesses below recommended minimum and with some dents and rivels), toplevers gold-inlaid '1', '2' and '3', automatic safeties with gold-inlaid 'SAFE' details, gold-inlaid cocking-indicators, Boss 1905 improved patent single triggers, rolled-edge triggerguards, the undersides engraved 'BOSS & CO. PATENT.', the triggerplates signed in italics 'BOSS'S PATENT NO. 11278', fine acanthus scroll engraving with floral bouquets, retaining slight traces of colour-hardening and finish, 14in. figured semi-pistolgrip stocks (No.2 a replacement), weight 6lb. 14oz. (No.1 and 2) and 6lb. 8oz. (No.3), in a brass-mounted oak and leather triple guncase with Charles Lancaster trade label and later added Boss & Co. trade labels, with lift-out barrel tray and some accessories
Provenance: the makers have kindly provided the following information:
Friston House, Saxmundham
Ordered: 28th April 1912
Number: No.s 6201, 2, 3
Hammerless ejector: set of three guns
One or two triggers: single trigger
Barrels: 29in. steel
Shooting right: very slight choke
Shooting left: slight choke
Weight of pull: 3 1/2lbs.
Stock no. 2161, 2169, 2170
Bend: 1 1/4in., 1 1/4 1/16in.
Length 14 1/4in.
Cast off: 1 1/16in., 3 1/16in.
Half pistol grips
Remarks: To be tried in rough [indistinct], in August if possible.
unfinished by Watson in old case
Without case PSV/SV/
Other Notes: On 28th April 1912, Nathaniel Arthur Heywood of the Liverpool and Manchester banking family, ordered a trio of Boss twelve bores. This was during the era of John Robertson, when the company became revered worldwide for quality, beauty and innovation. The guns were to feature Robertson's famous 1905 improved patent single triggers and his signature "Rose and Scroll" engraving, created by the Boss house engraver, John Sumner. They were ordered with 29in steel barrels, very slight chokes in the right and slight chokes in the left, and further instructions requested that they should be ready to be tried in rough, in time for the start of the grouse season in August. These were undoubtedly the finest shotguns available, made by a man who had an enormous impact on the design of sporting shotguns and shaped the way Boss would be known for generations to come.
Nat Heywood was in the happy position of having no shortage of use for his new guns. In 1884, his father, Arthur Heywood, had bought Sudbourne Park near Orford, a 14,000 acre estate renowned for the quality of the shooting and often referred to as "The Holkham of Suffolk". In 1897, Arthur Heywood sold Sudbourne Park to the brother of his future daughter-in-law, A.H.E Wood and bought the equally famous shooting estate, Glevering Hall, near Wickham Market. The Heywoods were now in the happy position of being able to enjoy the sport on two superb shooting estates. Incidentally, apart from being a keen shot, A.H.E Wood was a celebrated salmon fisherman, known as the "father of greased line fishing", who invented the concept of the floating line.
Nat Heywood was forty five years old when he commissioned the trio of guns from Boss and shot with them - occasionally with two loaders - for the next twenty nine years, before bequeathing them on his death in 1941, to his nephew, Richard Peter Heywood. Peter Heywood shot with them for the next thirty years, from 1941 until 1971, when he passed them to his son, Brigadier Richard Heywood OBE DL, who owned them for the next fifty one years.
The guns are now to be auctioned by Holt's at their July auction, bringing to an end a remarkable three generations of ownership and a one hundred and ten year association with Boss and Co. Richard Heywood remembers in 1964, as a young Ensign in the Coldstream Guards, being asked by his father to take the guns to Boss in Cork Street, to have them stripped and cleaned. He was confronted by a formidable Pickwickian figure - Arthur Sanderson, the shop manager and one of the directors - who said ; " I know these guns well. I hope you are a Heywood ?"
It is always sad when heirlooms pass out of a family, but I am sure the new owners will appreciate them as much as the Heywoods have.
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S2 - Sold as a Section 2 Firearm under the 1968 Firearms Act