Details of Lot 276

30-inch chopper-lump Whitworth steel barrels with 2 1/2-inch chambers about 3/4 choke borings, the rounded frame, rebounding hammers, back locks and numbered top lever with fine bouquet and scroll engraving and retaining traces of original hardening colour, fences with side clips, 14 3/4-inch well figured stock, probably a replacement, 6lb. 8 1/2oz., black powder proof, left barrel wall thickness below recommended minimum

The gun was built in 1895 as the no. 1 gun of a pair. (The no. 2 gun of this pair was sold at the Gleneagles Hotel on 30 August 1999). The guns were originally supplied without chequering on the grip and fore-end. An unusual feature of the gun is the presence of a manual half-cock between full cock and the rebound half-cock.

Provenance: By family descent from Lord Ripon's head keeper, Chas. Julian.

Lord Ripon, Earl de Grey, was born in 1852 and became the second Marquis of Ripon in 1909. He is arguably the greatest game shot of all time with a recorded lifetime's total of 556,813 head of game. Much of his shooting was conducted with a set of three guns and with great speed of loading is known to have had seven dead birds in the air at one time. He persisted in the use of hammer guns. The unprecedented size of his "bag" has led to his frequent description of the greatest shot of all and his feats are unlikely to ever be repeated.

At Studley Royal, his Yorkshire estate, he entertained the royalty and nobility of England and Europe and in turn shot with the greatest sporting estates, such as Holkham, Sandringham and Elveden in the heyday of the shooting party. It was his combination of natural ability and total commitment to his chosen sport which raised him above the level of other good shots. In the shooting field throughout his life he was repeatedly top score and despite increasing age he maintained the highest standard to the end. He died on September 22nd 1923 in the field, having killed 51 grouse on his last drive, while the last birds of the day were being picked up, he fell down dead.
Fine Modern and Vintage Sporting Guns
Sotheby's, New Bond Street
16 December 2009
Commission is 25% ex. VAT. Artist's Resale Right may apply