Superb Anachronistic John Dickson Double Flint Shotgun Made for the Eccentric Charles Gordon. Presented to W. Keith Neal in 1953 When He Became Master of the Gunmakers Company

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Superb Anachronistic John Dickson Double Flint Shotgun Made for the Eccentric Charles Gordon. Presented to W. Keith Neal in 1953 When He Became Master of the Gunmakers Company.

Cal. 20 Bore (.620 dia.)
S# 4671 (1894)

Charles Gordon was a wealthy Scottish gentleman who had a great love for fine antique guns. His love became obsession and in the 1870’s, 80’s and 90’s he had many of the best gunmakers of the day build guns for him. They include James Purdey, Alexander Henry and Harkom. The majority were made by John Dickson & Son totaling 229 guns, rifles and pistols (15 were flintlocks). Gordon was interested in early ignition systems and most of the guns he had made were reproductions of guns and rifles of much earlier types, including pinfires, tubelocks, etc. He had an attraction to large bore guns and ordered many 8 and 4 bores. John Dickson referred to Gordon as his “Grand Patron”. When his three half sisters had him deemed mentally insufficient, a lawyer was appointed to manage his affairs. To clear his debts; his wine, books, silver, and other contents of his house were sold. The collection of early type guns was auctioned on 20 June 1908 and sold for a pittance as no one had any use for muzzleloaders at that time. This gun was sold to Gordon on 21 May 1894 and probably cost 94 pounds. It brought 4 pounds in the 1908 sale. For some reason the flintlock guns brought fairly good money. Some cased percussion guns sold for under one pound.

This gun has 35″ barrels of “Best” three stripe damascus and are engraved “John Dickson & Son. 63 Princes Street Edinburgh.” on raised narrow game rib. Bottoms of barrels are stamped with London blackpowder proofs, gauge “20”, S# and “J.D & S.” Patent breeches are slightly inset and are fitted with platinum touch holes. Scroll engraving is on rib extension. Breech iron has raised rib terminal and is engraved with near full coverage shaded scroll. Locks, with chamfered edges and rebated square tails, are fitted with flat faced serpentine cocks, fully waterproof pans and bridled roller frizzens, with rollers on feather springs which have bulbous finials. Locks and cocks are engraved with shaded scroll. Fronts of frizzens are engraved with open scroll. Top jaws are also scroll engraved. Maker’s name is at the bottom of each lockplate. Trigger plate has tastefully engraved pineapple finial, blued trigger guard with scroll on bow has S# at center of grip which extends to a curl. Stock of well streaked European walnut measures 14 1/2″ over blued steel buttplate with scroll engraved long top tang. Widely spaced flat top checkering is at grip and a vacant silver oval is at toeline. Stock attaches to barrels with two captive sidebolts through shaped and engraved steel escutcheons. Greenheart ramrod with brass tip and tail (worm under tail) mounts through two beaded pipes and pineapple engraved thimble (sales ledger notes “steel ramrod”).

STOCK: DAH: 1 3/4″. DAC: 1 1/8″. CAST: neutral. LOP: 14 1/2″.
WEIGHT: 8 lb. 3 oz.

UNATTACHED ACCESSORIES: gun is housed in its original large quartered oak case with brass inlet whales tail shaped corners and duel pivoting hook closure. Interior is lined in dark green cloth and a gold embossed brown leather John Dickson label is in lid. Deep bottom is French fitted for gun and a good compliment of original accessories including two powder flasks by Hawksley; one with copper body the other with leather cover, matching shot flask with pull out spout, two ebony handled turn screws, Dickson marked round oil bottle, case hardened main spring vice, pigskin leather wallet for spare flints, two piece brass and rosewood cleaning rod in leather case, double ended turned bone vent pick and a bone whistle carved in the shape of a dogs head with inset glass eyes. A quartered oak box with sliding cover is in lower left corner which contains Turks head, mop and jag along with an original W. Keith Neal Collection tag stamped with inventory # “C229”. Also, auction hang tag from Christie’s W. Keith Neal Collection, 25 October 2001. An old invitaion card is inscribed on back “This gun was presented to W. Keith Neal by John H. Hayhoe, Esq. of John Dickson & Son Edinburgh, on the occasion of his becoming master of the Gunmakers Company Nov. 1953.”

PROVENANCE: Ex. Keith Neal Collection, gun in its case is pictured on pg. 72 of “CHARLES GORDON Magnificent Madness”, as well as pg 153 in “JOHN DICKSON & SON The Round Action Gunmaker” (were a copy of the sales ledger is pictured) both by Donald Dallas. It is interesting to note that this gun is the only one of all other cased guns pictured that includes a dog whistle.


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