An Extraordinary Cased 17-bore Royal Double Barrel Forsyth Patent First Model Roller Primer Sporting Gun Made for the Duke of Cambridge Brother of the Prince of Wales Later King George IV, Ex: W. Keith Neal Collection and the Finest Known Forsyth Roller Primer Gun

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An Extraordinary Cased 17-bore Royal Double Barrel Forsyth Patent First Model Roller Primer Sporting Gun Made for the Duke of Cambridge Brother of the Prince of Wales Later King George IV, Ex: W. Keith Neal Collection and the Finest Known Forsyth Roller Primer Gun.


Cal. 14 Bore
S# 266/267


The Forsyth patent marked the beginning of the modern percussion system utilizing a fulminating powder or mixture to ignite a main powder charge. The Rev. Alexander Forsyth patented this system in 1807 and the scent bottle or roller type is the earliest form. This gun is fitted with an early form of the roller type with mechanisms that mount through the lockplates and must be taken out of the barrels before the barrels can be removed from the stock. A very time consuming and delicate task. The 30″ skelp twist barrels are engraved “FORSYTH-PATENT-GUN-COMPANY-LONDON”. This is the earliest known Forsyth company and only found on guns made between 1808-9. Bottoms of barrels are stamped with London gunmakers proofs and patent use numbers “266 & 267”. Patent breeches with feather engraving on rib extension have gold lines and front and back. In place of touch holes sides are tapped to accept scent bottle percussion mechanisms. Each bottle is marked with patent use number and has deep stamp on front with an “F” over “PATENT” on a ribbon. Rear of each bottle is stamped “JP” (James Purdey worked for Forsyth as a lock filer until starting on his own in 1814). Breech iron is fully engraved with shaded scroll. Locks with chamfered plates and rebated rounded tails are fitted with typical second style Forsyth hammers and are engraved with feather borders and bursts along with some floral and bird engraving. Center of each lock is engraved “FORSYTH” “PATENT”. After about 1810 locks were generally engraved “FORSYTH & CO.” Locks have patent use numbers on tops of plates. Gun is iron mounted; trigger plate having pineapple finial, trigger guard has curl on tail forming grip and buttplate has long top tang. Mounts have traditional engraving with dog scenes on trigger guard bow and at top of buttplate. Stock of lightly figured European walnut features right hand shadow line cheekpiece and square checkering at grip. Stock mounts to barrels with captive sidebolt through oval silver escutcheons. Greenheart ramrod has brass head and tail (worm under tail) and is held by two plain pipes and pineapple thimble. A rectangular crest plate with cut corners at top of grip is engraved with a crown surmounted by a crowned lion passant surrounded by the motto of the Order of the Garter. A note in case indicates that this gun was owned by the Duke of Cambridge. At the time this gun was made that was the title of Prince Adolphus, the seventh son of George III.

UNATTACHED ACCESSORIES: gun is housed in its original mahogany case with dual hook closure and key lock. Top is fitted with circular “D” ring handle, central medallion engraved with the crest of the Duke of Cambridge. Interior is lined in green cloth and a spectacular 10″ x 8 1/2″ Forsyth paper label emblazed with the royal crest is in lid. It is of the second type with name changed to “FORSYTH & CO.” and later style hammers on locks, however the lockplates do not have company name or “PATENT”. Label also illustrates and explains the Forsyth patent. Two other labels explain the priming powder and instructions for greasing the mechanism. Case contains a wide array of old accessories which include an original rosewood handled turn screw for removing firing pins and springs, leather wallet containing turned bone containers for priming powder, brass and copper flask as found with other Forsyth cased guns for storage of priming powder, boxwood container with priming pins and springs with screw top; other slip top containers hold more pins and springs. One has original string of springs with tag inscribed “put small end of spring toward shoulder of piston”. Other accessories include a correct style and vintage tin and brass powder flask, two bladed slip together turn screw with walnut handles and early dusting brush. Case also contains a later two piece brass and ebony cleaning rod and wad punch. Locks set on a mahogany platform which acts as a cover for a compartment that holds lock pin, broken key (which does fit the case), an auction tag dated 19 Dec 1979 and a hand written note inscribed “Forsyth Double Gun” “Duke of Cambridge” “Nov 20th 1949”, as well as an original W. Keith Neal Collection tag number “C148”.

 PROVANENCE: Adolphus Frederick, 1st Duke of Cambridge and Viceroy of Hanover (1774-1850) (The Duke left England for Hanover in 1813 and shared a keen interest in firearms with his brothers the Prince of Wales (King George IV) and the Duke of York. LITERATURE: W. Keith Neal and D.H.L. Back, Forsyth & Co.: Patent Gunmakers, pp. 34-35 D.H.L. Back, Forsyth & Co.: Patent Gunmakers, pp.16, 36, color plate II.

This gun is considered the finest known example and represents a unique opportunity to acquire the very best example of one of the most famous and significant milestones in firearms development.


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