The makers have kindly confirmed that work began on this rifle in 1898 and it was sold to Viscount Castlereagh, Charles Stewart Henry Vane-Tempest-Stewart, upon completion in 1899. With blued Krupp steel chopperlump barrels each engraved with a band of stylized foliage at the breech end and respectively signed “WESTLEY RICHARDS. 178 NEW BOND ST. LONDON” and engraved “FOR W.R. SPECIAL .303 CARTRIDGE”. Concave rib engraved “SPECIAL STEEL” and with front bead sight mounted on a scroll engraved ramp, the dovetailed rear sight is mounted on a rounded scroll engraved block and is formed of one standing notch and two folding leaf notch sights each with platinum inlaid center line and graduated to 300 yards, and the breech end with doll’s head extension and engraved with further scrollwork. Casehardened treble grip action with removable firing pin bushings, signed “WESTLEY RICHARDS” within a ribbon on each side, engraved “WESTLEY RICHARDS PATENT EJECTOR” ahead of the blued toplever, bolted automatic safety with gold inlaid “SAFE” and “BOLTED”, and with blued floorplate and blued trigger guard. The whole engraved with fine English scrollwork, the floorplate and trigger guard respectively including vignettes of an elephant and a wolf. The underside of the barrels and watertable struck with London nitro proof marks. Figured 14 1/4 inch walnut pistol grip stock with engraved heel and toe plates, raised cheekpiece and panels of multipoint checkering to the grip, behind the action and on the forearm, the grip with engraved dark horn cap and the forearm with scroll engraved Deeley and Edge fastener and dark horn tip. The underside of the butt with silver oval initial escutcheon engraved with a crowned monogram and blued sling mount, the corresponding sling eye is fitted beneath the barrel. Weight 8 lbs. 13 oz. In maker’s brass cornered oak and leather fitted case lined in green baize, the lid with Westley Richards printed trade label and instructional labels for use and cleaning. With accessories including snap caps and Westley Richards glass oil bottle, nickeled cleaning funnel and two spare mainsprings. The exterior of the case lid named “VISCOUNT CASTLEREAGH/ROYAL HORSE GUARDS”. Provenance: The Malcolm King Collection
Very good. The barrels retain 96% reblued finish with softened signatures and scroll engraving to the sight blocks. The action with 40% faded original casehardened finish, the toplever with 95% blued finish, and the floorplate and trigger guard with thinned reblued finish, crisp engraving throughout. The stock has well-defined checkering with scattered minor age related storage and handling blemishes, bruises and marks throughout. Mechanically excellent. Case exterior with age related wear and staining, some storage marks, relined baize interior with some wear and a cut line from the front sight to the lid, labels age stained with some holing, exterior straps missing.