Commissioned by the renowned Paris gunmaking firm of Le Page, these are the only known pistols executed by Antoine Vechte (1799–1868), a virtuoso silversmith, sculptor, and chiseler, who was famous in his day as the "nineteenth-century Cellini" in reference to the accomplished Renaissance artist Benvenuto Cellini. The pistols are unique in their all-steel construction and in the variety of highly original Renaissance-inspired figural ornament. This pistol was exhibited at the French Industry Exhibition in Paris in 1849 and perhaps shown again, along with the other, at the Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations in London in 1851.
Signature: Signed on the outer facet of the barrel in Gothic letters: LEPAGE MOUTIER / ARQER BRTE A PARIS; on the lockplate: Le Page Moutier.
Inscription: Stamped on the underside of the barrel: No 937; and also A.1849; on the inside of the lockplate: 937.
Marking: Stamped on the false-breech: L.B. beneath a crown, with a star below (the oval mark of Paris barrelsmith Léopold Bernard (active ca. 1832–70); and the number: 937.
Fauré Le Page, Paris (from 1849); private collection until 1984; Antique Arms and Armour - The Properties of The late A. C. C. Parker, Esq. (second and final part), The Shaftesbury Society, and from various sources sale, Christie, Manson & Woods Ltd., London, July 25, 1984, no. 182, as "An Exceptional French All-Steel Percussion Target Pistol," for £17,280, to Klaz); Dr. Gerald Klaz, Culver City, Calif. (1984–2013; lent to MMA, loan number L.1991.70.3, on display 1991–2013; sold to MMA).
Sotheby Parke Bernet, Inc. European Works of Art, Arms and Armour, Furniture and Tapestries. New York: Sotheby Parke Bernet, Inc., May 21–22, 1982. no. 378.
Nickel, Helmut, William Reid, Ian Eaves, Mario Scalini, Claude Gaier, Álvaro Soler Del Campo, Jean-Pierre Reverseau, Jan Piet Pyupe, Donald J. La Rocca, Jeffrey Forgeng, Jonathan Tavares, Dirk H. Breiding, Pierre Terjanian, and Mr. Ronald S. Lauder. The Armorer's Art: Essays in Honor of Stuart Pyhrr, edited by Donald J. La Rocca. Woonsocket, Rhode Island: Andrew Mowbray Inc. – Publishers, 2014. p. 6, ill.
Lauder, Ronald S. "Preface." In The Armorer's Art: Essays in Honor of Stuart Pyhrr. Woonsocket, Rhode Island: Andrew Mowbray Inc. – Publishers, 2014. p. 6, ill.