Nicolas-Noel Boutet (1761-1833) was gunmaker-in-ordinary to King Louis XVI in 1788 and became the artistic director of the arms factory at Versailles in 1792 and then its head director in 1798. Under his direction, some of the finest "de luxe" firearms ever made flowed from Versailles, and the factory also produced simpler but still exceptional arms for military officers for use in extending the French Empire under the aggressive leadership of Napoleon. These early 19th century pistols have a heavily swamped barrels with fine micro-groove rifling, dots and bands of gold accented engraving at the muzzles, dovetailed blade front sights, fixed notch rear sights, and gilded triangle and burst patterns (almost like a stylized volcano) engraved on the upper flats at the breech ends. The locks are signed "Boutet" (B) and "A Versailles" (A) and have stepped tails with floral and acorn engraving, light engraving on the pans and frizzens, graceful gooseneck cocks, and rollers on the frizzen springs. The pistols have adjustable single set triggers. The furniture is all steel. The full-length stocks have intricate checkering with carved borders.
Very good with more than half of the gold remaining, dark gray patina on most of the balance, lighter patina on the lock, broken left wing of the rear sight, mild pitting, and general mild overall wear suggesting they saw real period use. The stock is fine and has crisp checkering, thin crack at the breech/rear lock screw, small loss by the pins and wedges, and generally light wear. Mechanically fine.
See "A." Provenance: The Dr. Gerald Klaz Collection
Very good, with more than half of the original gold remaining, dark patina on the balance, some generally minor pitting, absent left wing of the rear sight, and mild overall wear. The lock/trigger needs some work as it won't hold at full-cock. The stock is also very good and has crisp checkering, an added hole visible on the lower front of the grip, small flakes at the mortise edges, and general light dings and scratches. These pistols would have most likely been owned by an officer during the Napoleonic Wars and show signs indicative of period military use. They are attractive examples of the elevated level of French gunmaking in the early 19th century.
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