Elegantly crafted pistols go under the hammer

Antique Arms and Armour, May 11, Bonham’s Knightsbridge, London

1st May, 2016
A silver fore-sight in the form of a bearded grotesque mask (top left); An 18th century holster pistol (bottom left); A Cork duelling pistol (top) and A 19th century travelling pistol (bottom right)

It all began when Chinese alchemists invented gun powder by combining potassium nitrate and sulphur so they could have spectacular firework displays.

In the West, we thought they had rather missed the point, so we invented the gun. Initially used for warfare, by the 18th century, guns were in common ownership by Irish aristocrats who employed them for sport, to ensure personal safety on lonely roads over the bog, and for duelling.

Daniel O’Connell was...

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