Made by J.C.A. Brun (active 184972); Designed by Fannières Brothers; Engraved by Tissot
Steel, walnut, gold; L. 40 1/8 in. (112 cm)
Purchase, The Sulzberger Foundation Inc. Gift and Rogers Fund; Bashford Dean Memorial Collection, Funds from various donors, Gift of William H. Riggs, The Collection of Giovanni P. Morosini, presented by his daughter Giulia, and Gift of Charles M. Schott Jr., by exchange; and gifts and funds from various donors, 1993 (1993.415)
The Second Empire (185270) marked the twilight of French gunmaking, which had dominated the design of European firearms since the seventeenth century. Parisian gunmakers consistently employed the finest contemporary designers, silversmiths, sculptors, and engravers to transform sporting arms into works of art.
This exquisitely decorated shotgun reflects the period's predilection for historical revivals, in this case the Louis XV style. Especially noteworthy is the harmonious combination of Rococo ornamental vocabulary and the blue and gold coloring on the barrels, which together evoke eighteenth-century taste. Exhibited by Brun at the Exposition Universelle of 1867, the gun is actually a collaborative work by several of the leading artists and craftsmen of the time: the damascus twist barrels are by Leopold Bernard; the overall design and the intricately chiseled steel mounts are by the silversmiths Auguste and Joseph Fannières; and the delicate engravings on the barrels and mounts, encrusted in two-color gold, are by the engraver Tissot.