The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Flint-lock gun with ramrod
  • Flint-lock gun with ramrod
  • Toupriant
  • Jean Baptiste Le Clerc (+1781), (barrel)
  • France
  • 1776
  • Steel, gold, silver, walnut, leather and whalebone, blued, damascened, engraved and chiselled
  • Length: 137 cm, overall
    Length: 97 cm, barrel
    Width: 1.6 cm, calibre
    Weight: 2.43 kg
  • Inscription: 'TOUPRIANT A PARIS'
    Maker's mark
    Proof mark: Stamped twice
    Inscription: 'TOUPRIANT ARQUEBUSIER DE S.A.S. MGR LE DUC DE CHATRES'
    Inscription: 'No I I'
    Warden's mark: 1776
    Charge mark: The charge marks for the fermier Jean Baptiste Fouache
    Discharge mark: The discharge mark for the fermier Jean Baptiste Fouache
  • A1123
  • European Armoury III
Commentary
History
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Flint-lock gun, with a barrel of round section, the sides flattened for a distance of 9 inches from the breech to a moulding. At the base of the barrel is a short sighting rib, and from the torus a narrow plane runs as far as the foresight. The surface is deeply blued, and at the breech inlaid in gold with a trophy, garlands and the name of the maker:

    TOUPRIANT A PARIS

    Large, shallow, silver backsight, fitting round the barrel and engraved with a sun in splendour; foresight also of silver. A thunder-cloud and rays inlaid in gold surround both back and foresights. At the breech are stamped a maker's mark and two proof marks, and on the underside the number 11, which is repeated on the breech-plug. The false breech of bright steel is engraved with a bursting grenade.

    Lock of bright steel, with only the steel-spring being blued. The lock-plate is engraved at the end with a lion, and in the centre with scrollwork and the inscription:

    TOUPRIANT ARQUEBUSIER DE S.A.S. MGR LE DUC DE CHARTRES

    The final word in the inscription is apparently covered by the end of the battery-spring.

    The cock, which is engraved with a dragon, has been broken and repaired by brazing. Upper jaw engraved with a lion's mask, the steel engraved and chiselled with three flaming grenades. Gold-lined pan. There is an external bridle for the pan-cover.

    Stock, of walnut carved near the false breech and ramrod socket with scroll foliage in low relief. On the upper edge of the butt is a cheek-pad covered with dark blue leather edged with silver galoon. Mounts of silver chiselled in low relief with scrollwork, flowers and hunting trophies. The trigger-guard has a curved support for the fingers which is engraved with the arms of France differenced with an engrailed border, and surrounded by the collar of the Saint-Esprit, the whole surmounted by the coronet of a prince du sang.
    The silver marks consist of, on the trigger guard, a) the charge-mark for medium-sized works in silver, un chiffre des cinq lettres de PARIS, for the period 1775-8, and b) the discharge mark for medium-sized works in silver, me tête de singe, for the same period; and on the butt-plate, c) the charge-mark for large works in silver, un A fleuronné et couronné, for the same period, d) the discharge mark for large works in silver, une tête de boeuf, for the same period, and e) the letter N crowned, the mark of the Maison Commune for the year July 1776 to July 1777 (Nocq, Le poinçon de Paris, IV, 1968, pp. 238-9). There is no maker's mark but it may have been obliterated by a repair to the trigger-guard close to the other marks. Kennard, French pistols and sporting guns, 1972, p. 43.

    The centre mark of the three on the barrel is that of Jean-Baptiste Le Clerk and is the one that he used from 1771 until his death in 1781 (Magne de Marolles, La chasse au fusil, Paris 1788, to face p. 82). According to N. Støckel, I, p. 224, no. a 180, he was the son of Jean Le Clerk and brother of Jean Nicholas, both barrel-makers, and in 1770/1 and 1775/6 was Jurand of the Paris Gunmakers' Guild. P. Jarlier states that a man of the same name was received as master in the Paris Guild as the son of a master, on 19 February 1773. In the following year he was established in the rue Tourraine (2e Supplement, col. 166).

    Whalebone ramrod with ivory tip and threaded steel ferrule.

    French, 1776.

    Provenance: (?) Comte d'Artois, later King Charles X (1757-1836).
    There is a gun by Toupriant in the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris (collection J. J. Reubell) which is very similar to A1123 and bears the same escutcheon, which is there ascribed to the Comte d'Artois. A pair of double-barrelled guns signed Soupriant R du Roy et de Monsieur A Paris are at Windsor (nos. 135-6). A double-barrelled gun by Soupriant is in the Bavarian National Museum, Munich (J 15).
    The maker's mark on the barrel is given by Støckel to Jean Baptiste Leclerc.

    The number engraved on the stock is actually in script.

    According to Jarlier, the forename of the gunmaker Toupriant is unknown, but he apparently worked in the rue des Grands Augustins in Paris, and made a gun for the comte de Provence, (Répertoire, col. 262). The gun by him in the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris is also of the year 1776/7.