The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Flint-lock rifle with ramrod
  • Flint-lock rifle with ramrod
  • Nicolas Noël Boutet (1761 - 1833)
  • Versailles, France
  • c. 1805
  • Steel, walnut, ebony, ivory, copper alloy, silver and gold, engraved, chiselled, blued and gilded
  • Length: 105.5 cm
    Length: 65.3 cm, barrel
    Width: 1.5 cm, calibre
    Weight: 2.91 kg
  • Inscription: 'Boutet Directeur Artiste Manufacture à Versailles' Engraved
    Proof mark: Versailles factory
    Inscription: 'Boutet Directeur Artiste' Engraved
    Stamp: 1st standard, medium excise marks and maker's mark
    Stamp: Petit garantie or census mark
    Incised mark: Small mark resembling the petit garantie Twice stamped
    Stamp: 'DB'
  • A1131
  • European Armoury III
Commentary
History
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Flint-lock rifle, with an octagonal barrel, the surface matt blue. At the breech the three upper facets are inlaid with gold with festoons incorporating globes, palettes and other symbols of the arts and sciences. The muzzle is decorated with a band of gold ornament. The rest of the surface is powdered with gold stars. A panel on the top plane is engraved:

    Boutet Directeur Artiste Manufacture à Versailles

    The backsight has four folding, blued leaves. At the breech are stamped the proof marks of the Versailles factory. Multi-grooved rifling. The vent is faced with a large, oval, gold plaque. False breech of bright steel engraved with flowers and fruit.

    Underneath the barrel near the breech are stamped the letters DB, point between, within a laurel wreath, all in an oval punch its longer axis horizontal, as on A1219 and 1220 here (Støckel, no. a 2630).

    Lock of bright polished steel, the bevelled edges ornamented with alternately oval and circular depressions; this motif is repeated on the barrel pegs and ramrod pipes. Lock-plate inlaid in gold near the upper edge with a thunder cloud, and at the rear end with foliage, and engraved:

    Boutet Directeur Artiste

    Cock inlaid with gold foliage and the upper jaw with a thunder cloud and lightning, the steel with scroll foliage. Immediately behind the cock is a safety-catch button. Gold-lined pan. The lock has a central detent on the tumbler, and internal and external bridles.

    Stock of walnut with delicately carved borders. On the underside behind the grip is a female caryatid figure of ebony carved in full relief. The whole surface of the stock is finely inlaid with scroll foliage in red gold, incorporating two volutes with large circular scrolls on either side of the butt, that on the right engraved with acanthus foliage and stars, that on the cheek-piece with an altar on which burns a sacrificial fire. An oval plaque beneath the fore-end is engraved with a cock. Mounts of silver, gilt and oxidized, chiselled with wreaths and foliage in relief; on the trigger-guard is an urn and on the ramrod socket a lion's mask. On the underside of the heel-plate are stamped 1st standard and medium excise marks and the same maker's mark as appears on A1127-9. The standard and excise marks are those for the period 1790 to 1809, while the petite garantie is the head of a hare used in Paris during the period 1819 to 1838, indicating that A1131 was on the market during that period.

    All mounts stamped with a petite garantie or census mark. Walnut ramrod with ivory tip capped with gold and threaded brass ferrule. Hair-trigger.
    French (Versailles), about 1805.

    The gold inlay on the right side of the butt is twice stamped with a small mark which resembles the petite garantie for gold in use between 1819 and 1838 (see also A1219-20).

    Provenance: this is probably the carbine sold in a box with a complete set of tools, deux pistolets de tir et deux pistolets de poche, at the Demidoff sale, Paris, Pillet, 5-8 April 1870, lot 661, bought by Lord Hertford for 5,000fr. (marked catalogue in the archives of the Collection). The pistols are presumably A1219-22.

    Blackmore, Guns and Rifles of the World, 1965, fig. 220; Kennard, French pistols and sporting guns, 1972, p. 46.