Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 1450: Churchill Engraved Holland & Holland Model De Luxe Double Rifle

Auction Date: December 4, 2021

Exceptional, Factory Contract Winston G. Churchill Master Game Scene Engraved Holland & Holland Model De Luxe Sidelock Ejector .577 Nitro Express Dangerous Game Double Rifle with Case

Estimated Price: $200,000 - $325,000

Exceptional, Factory Contract Winston G. Churchill Master Game Scene Engraved Holland & Holland Model De Luxe Sidelock Ejector .577 Nitro Express Dangerous Game Double Rifle with Case

Manufacturer: Holland & Holland Ltd
Model: Double-Rifle
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 577 N.E.
Barrel: 25 inch solid rib
Finish: blue/coin grey
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 1818
Item Interest: Very Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 226
Class: Modern Long Gun

Blued steel chopper lump barrels featuring a brass beaded blade front sight with flip up white bead for low light shooting and a raised rear quarter rib section with a two leaf (one standing one folding) sight marked 50 and 100 yards. The quarter rib is marked with the caliber ".577 NITRO EXPRESS" in gold along with beautifully executed floral scroll designs. The barrels are marked "HOLLAND & HOLLAND" and "33 BRUTON STREET, LONDON." on the left and right respectively with matching bands of engraving at either breech, "Model de Luxe" on the low rib section between the sights, and a sling swivel ahead of the forend. The flats are marked with standard London proofs dated 1985 and the chambers are equipped with automatic ejectors. The coin grey, bolstered, sidelock action displays outstanding near full coverage engraving by renowned Master Engraver Winston G. Churchill. The left lockplate shows a family of elephants stampeding in a savanna scene, the right lockplate has a pair of bull elephants standing amongst the ferns, the underside shows a solitary bull elephant in a jungle setting below a small banner reading "LONDON ENGLAND", and the triggerguard displays a fantastic roaring elephant in the long grass. All of these scenes are in incredibly intricate detail and surrounded by a wonderful variety of scrollwork, with some lighter and some deeply relief cut. The bolsters, fences, and top lever are also deep relief engraved with more traditional scroll on the upper and lower tangs. The work is signed "WINSTON CHURCHILL ENGRAVER" in small letters on the triggerplate. The rifle action features bushed firing pins, double triggers, a rolled triggerguard, and an automatic tang mounted safety switch with gold inlaid "SAFE". Beautifully figured, exhibition quality, multi-point checkered splinter forend with engraved fittings including the Anson button release. The stock is of the same exceptional quality with tear drop carved flats, multi-point checkering, coin grey finished trapdoor grip cap with relief engraved bull elephant, raised cheekpiece, blank gold inscription oval, sling swivel, and black leather wrapped recoil pad. Rifles with similar themes and designs are pictured on pages 170-176 of "The Best of Holland & Holland: England's Premier Gunmaker" by Michael McIntosh and Jan Roosenburg. Included with this rifle is a hide bound Huey made case with Holland & Holland trade label, two nickel snap caps, and a full compliment of matching cleaning/maintenance tools. Also included is a binder full of pictures and letters between Holland & Holland and the original commissioner of the rifle tracking its progression as well as letters between him and Churchill discussing the engraving. The letters mention that, at the time, this rifle was the first Anglo-American venture of its kind between Holland & Holland and American Engraver Winston Churchill as, at the time, the Brown Brothers and Ken Hunt carried out the majority of the firms high-end engraving like that done on this magnificent rifle. Approximately 2,500 hours went into the engraving alone! At the time of writing, the author is not aware of any other such rifles having been completed. This is a one-of-a-kind double rifle! The length of pull measures 14 9/16 inches and the rifle weight 13 lbs.

Rating Definition:

As delivered, retaining 99% original blue finish on the barrels with only the slightest collector type handling evidence. The action shows the smooth brushed bright finish with nitre blue and gold accents on the pins. The engraving is like new and untouched. The wood is also excellent. The case and accessories are extremely fine plus. Mechanically excellent. Don't miss your chance to own this exceptional and iconic confluence of best quality gun making and high art.

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