Laurent Le Languedoc was a gunmaker to King Louis XIV and one of the best Parisian gunmakers in the late 1600s to early 1700s. He also completed commissioned work for the King of Saxony, and his firearms are well-represented in the Historisches Museum in Dresden. Includes the relevant page from the rough draft of Tom Lewis' book which notes this piece came out of the Jagdschloss Kranichstein, which was built as a hunting lodge and the summer residence of Goerge I, Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt and was used as a hunting lodge for the langraves for more than three and a half centuries and is now a museum. The Metropolitan Museum of Art notes that "The Parisian gunmaker Laurent le Languedoc issued editions with eight and thirteen plates, including designs by the engraver De Lacollombe (active about 1702-1736), in 1705. The buttplate design on the current piece is very similar to the one shown in plate 10 in "Plusievrs Pieces et Ornements Darqubuzerie," and the side plate also has strong similarities. The frizzen design is also similar to a design in plate 11, and multiple trigger guards shown have similar basic shapes and finials. The long, tapered barrel has a rounded blade front sight set back from the muzzle, a sighting flat on top, accent lines and geometric engraving in the breech section, "LL" maker's mark in ornate script on top of the breech section, a wavy line border at the breech, and coordinating border and scroll engraving on the tang. The lock is flat with beveled edges and a stepped tail and has "LANGVEDOC 1716" signed in a banner under the bridle-less pan, wavy line borders, a grotesque mask on the frizzen, a man with a ornate hunting horn and spear engraved ahead of the cock, eagle and scroll engraving on the cock, and two foxes on the tail. The furniture is all iron and generally includes some floral engraving and spire shaped designs that coordinate with the barrel. The trigger guard finial has a floral design and grotesque mask. The sideplate is a serpent design with a mouth around the front screw and a coronet over the original owner's monogram at the center. The buttplate has "1716" on the finial, horn and bow and arrow engraving on the tang, and "No 9" inscribed on the back. The full-length stock has fine molding along the forend and mortises, raised relief scroll engraving by the ramrod entry pipe and around the upper tang, floral carving ahead of the trigger guard finial, spire point designs, raised wood forming a "dish" rear sight at the upper tang, and attractive flame figure. A William Keith Neal collection tag (inventory G171) is affixed to the trigger guard. Provenance: The Collections of Jagdschloss Kranichstein, W. Keith Neal, and Tom Lewis
Fine with bright metal overall, silver-gray patina and minor discoloration on the balance, distinct markings and engraving, a professionally replaced cock with strong fire blue on the top jaw and jaw screw, strong fire blue on the barrel tang screw, mild pitting mainly on the buttplate, and general light age related wear. The stock is also fine and has crisp carving and molding, a few slight cracks such as on the left flat at the breech, some small flakes around the lock mortise, minor dings and scratches, and attractive flame figure on the butt. Mechanically excellent. This is a beautiful early 18th century French fowling piece made for a European nobleman.
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