VERY FINE AND EXTREMELY RARE CIRCA 1690 CARTRIDGE BREECH LOADING FLINTLOCK MAGAZINE PRIMED HOLSTER PISTOL BY THE ESTEEMED ANDREAS REINHOLD (ANDREW) DOLEP OF LONDON.
This interesting & innovative pistol has 13″ octagon to round bbl. w/ chased raised tear drops & flame decorations at breech end & transitions to round w/ 2 wedding bands. A large silver front bead is soldered to muzzle end. Top rear flat is engraved “DOLEP”. Andrew Dolep of London working 1681-1713. He emigrated from Holland circa 1680 & started working in London. He ran afoul of the Gunmaker’s company for a few years but was finally admitted to the freedom of the company in 1686. Even then he often did not submit his guns for inspection in fear of revealing his ingenious mechanisms (this pistol does not have proofs). He was a superb craftsman.
Nine firearms of his make are illustrated in “Great British Gunmakers 1540-1740” by Keith Neil & Back; two of which are multishot or breech loading but not of the pattern used in this pistol. One is a combination flintlock/air rifle. Dolep’s bbl. maker’s mark “AD” surmounted by a flower is on left side of bbl.. Pushing the front of the steel triggerguard upward releases a lock in the bbl. extension allowing bbl. to tip down from breech section. This exposes the end of bbl. w/ removable steel cartridge pierced w/ touchhole which is held in correct orientation by 2 small lugs on left side. Having 2 or 3 of these loaded cartridges would allow a fairly rapid rate of fire. Attached to right side of bbl. & fore stock is a priming powder magazine or flask combined w/ nicely filed pan & bridled frizzen w/ feather spring inside flask. A small lever at front portion of this mechanism when pulled to the rear, allows priming powder to be poured into a flask. Rapid priming of pan is accomplished by pushing downward on a pivoting gate at left side of frizzen allowing powder to fill the pan while frizzen is closed. It appears that the flask would hold enough powder for 3 or 4 shots. Round bodied back spring lock is fitted w/ nicely filed serpentine cock. Lockplate & cock are engraved w/ large open scroll. Bottom of plate is engraved “DOLEP LONDINI”.
Relatively plain triggerguard & heavy knobbed butt cap w/ side spurs are of iron. Cap has some scroll engraving & terminal has lanyard hole. Sideplate is of silver & consists of very finely cast pierced attenuated scrolling acanthus w/ wonderful mythological beast head terminations similar to other illustrated Dolep guns. Silver crest plate is in the form of a relief cast Green Man & has armorial engraving on his large protruding tongue. This engraving consists of shield w/ boars head & dagger surmounted by a knight’s helm under attenuated tree. Legend around crest reads “PRAEMIUM VIRTUTIS HONIS” Legend Under crest is engraved “Brown of Blackburn” (Berwickshire). Ancestors of Grace Dalrymple Elliot, the tall & beautiful “femme fatale” of the 18th century & reputed mother of the Prince of Wales’ child. Stocks of dense, fiddled figured root European walnut have raised carvings around bbl. tang & platforms around triggerguard, lock, & front reinforced portion of action hinge. Fore stock extends to muzzle & attaches to bbl. w/ 2 screws through shaped steel escutcheons, there is no provision for a ramrod. Rear portion of stock behind top of grip has steel base w/ rectangular slot for attachment of shoulder stock.