Steel-chiseler: Louis Jaley (French, Saint-Étienne 1696–1773)
Barrelsmith: Nicolas Carteron (French, Saint-Étienne, recorded ca. 1733–63)
Stock maker: Joseph Blachon (French, Saint-Étienne, recorded ca. 1725–35)
Date: dated 1735
Culture: French, Saint-Etienne
Medium: Steel, gold, wood, silver
Dimensions: L. 57 1/2 in. (146.1 cm); L. of barrel 41 7/8 in. (106.5 cm); caliber .62 in. (15.5 cm)
Credit Line: Harris Brisbane Dick and Rogers Funds, 1987
Accession Number: 1987.274
Established by the French government to produce military weapons, the Royal Arms Manufactory at Saint-Étienne occasionally made specially commissioned luxury firearms such as this gun, perhaps its finest example. It bears the signatures of three principal craftsmen, a reflection of their pride of workmanship and the importance of the commission. Unfortunately, in the absence of personalized arms or a monogram in the decoration, the original owner remains unidentified.
Among the most beautiful French Rococo hunting guns, this example has steel mounts chiseled in low relief with classical gods and goddesses, and a carved walnut stock inlaid with silver-wire ornament and with figures of men and animals in engraved silver sheet. One of these groups (on the left side of the butt) includes a dog and a lion attacking a double-headed imperial eagle, a reference to France's ongoing political and military struggle against the Holy Roman Empire.