This beautiful set is featured and discussed on pages 156-157 of "Decorated Firearms, 1540-1870, from the Collection of Clay P. Bedford" by Gusler and Lavin where it is noted as from Ettersburg Castle when sold in 1932. The "EADS" cipher on the heel of the buttplate is identified as representing Duke Ernst August I von Sachsen-Weimar. It was subsequently listed as a gift from Princess Sophie Charlotte of Brandenburg-Bayreuth. The Duke ruled over the Duchy of Saxe-Weimar from 1728 to 1748. The Duke and Princess were wed on April 7, 1734, in Bayreuth, and she died on July 26, 1741, when she was just 33. That same year, the Duke inherited Saxe-Eisenach-Jena and combined his holdings into Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach. Among his greatest passions was hunting, and he is noted as having 1,100 dogs and 373 horses at the time of his death making this set particularly fitting for the Duke given its exquisite relief engraving scenes of dogs pursuing stags on the locks of each of the firearm. His estates included large patches of forest suited to his love of the hunt in Eisenach, and he moved his court to Eisenach and left the finances of the duchy in financial ruin when he died due to his lavish spending and legal battles following his extortion of wealthy subjects. In addition to the noted relief carved scenes of dogs pursuing stags on the locks, they are signed "HOFMANN" between the leaves of the frizzen springs and inscribed "A•BAYREUTH•1733" along the beveled edge below the frizzen springs. The barrels are all elaborately patterned Damascus and feature sighting and decorative flats and silver blade front sights with "spider" bases. The furniture is cast silver with gilt backgrounds and features elaborate Baroque designs. The stocks have coordinating raised relief carved scroll patterns that incorporate mask designs around the upper tangs. The long gun has inlaid eyes and teeth on this element. The gun's half-length stock has a somewhat "Madrid" stock style butt with fluted toe section and a cheekpiece with fluted edge and has a wooden patchbox lid. The pistol stocks are full-length. All three have horn forend caps. The long gun and one of the pistols have felted tompions.
Very fine overall with aged patina on the silver furniture along with light gilt finish in the backgrounds, gray patina on the lock and barrel, distinct patterns throughout, and minor overall wear. The stock is also very fine and has a long repaired crack, crisp carving, and mild overall wear including some small scratches and dings. Mechanically fine.
Very fine with aged patina on the silver furniture along with light gold in the backgrounds, smooth gray patina on the lock and barrel, distinct patterns and designs throughout, and mostly light overall wear. The stock is fine and has crisp carving, a crack in the horn cap, small flakes, and numerous small dings and scratches concentrated on the left side. Mechanically fine.
Very fine with attractive aged patina on the silver furniture as well as light gold remaining in the backgrounds, smooth gray patina on the lock and barrel, distinct patterns and designs throughout, and light overall wear. The stock is fine and has crisp carving, numerous small dings and scratches concentrated on the left side, and a few small flakes at the edges. Mechanically fine. This is a beautiful garniture certainly well-suited for a German duke known to love the hunt and worthy of display within an advanced fine arms collection.
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