Rarely does a gun so fully embody the phrase "not all art is framed" in the way that this masterpiece does. This is an absolutely stunning display of Rococo style engraving that was carried out at the highest level by some of the most skilled hands to ever pick up a set of engraving tools. This work of art is built with blued steel barrels with single brass bead sight on the smooth solid rib which marked "P. V. NELSON, LONDON, ENGLAND." in gold inlay along with floral scroll engraving and a gold inlaid putto, grey finished sections at the breech with scroll engraving on a matted gold background, 1994 dated London proofs, and 70 mm (2 3/4 inch) chambers with automatic ejectors. The grey finished sidelock action displays full coverage scroll and Greco-Roman themed relief engraving over a matted gold background with "P. V. NELSON" in banners on either side in gold. The deep relief engraving extends to the trigger guard, toplever, and both tangs. The left lockplate appears to be inspired by the "Helios Relief" at Schloss Rosenstein (Ludwig Mack, 1830), the right lockplate shows a scene with a male and female figure, three putti, and a dog that appears to be based on the myth of Meleager and Atalanta and the Calydonian wild boar hunt (see for example "Meleager and Atalanta," Rijksmuseum, c. late 17th century), and the underside displays a fine rendition of "Neptune Calming the Waves" (Adam, 1733). The trigger guard shows Demeter holding her cornucopia, and the action is interspersed with putti and flowers all over the same matted gold background. All of the engraving is masterfully executed in beautiful detail that seems to pop off of the surface with its high contrast of grey and gold as well as its immaculate fitment to the shape of the gun and the natural flow of the actions lines. The engraving evokes the same emotion one may feel while standing in an 18th century French cathedral or when laying eyes on the Trevi Fountain for the first time. The gun is signed on both lockplates at the bottom of the scenes, "J. P. Brown" on the right and "A. M. Brown" on the left for the legendary Brown brothers John and Alan. The gun features a single trigger, rolled trigger guard, and tang mounted automatic safety switch. Beautiful, exhibition quality, fancy checkered forend with carved scroll borders surrounding the checkering and engraved fittings, including an extended forend shoe and the Anson button release. The straight grip stock is of equally high quality with the same checkering and carved scroll borders, teardrop flats, "RML" inscription oval in the same style of engraving, and coin finished buttplate with a scene based on "Boreas Abducting Oreithyia" (Giovanni Francesco Romanelli, 17th c.) and extended heel plate. Includes a March 1996 dated letter from Robert M. Lee on the ordering and payment of this and two other shotguns. Barrel and stock measurements (R/L): bore diameter nine inches from the breech both proved at 18.5 mm (.728 inches) and measured at .728/.729 inches; choke constriction .009/.007 inches; minimum wall thickness .027/.028 inches; 1 1/2 inch drop at comb; 2 5/16 inch drop at heel; 14 1/8 inch length of pull; weight 6 lbs 13 oz. Provenance: The Robert M. Lee Collection
Excellent overall, retaining 99% original blue, gold, and coin finishes with limited handling evidence, crisp engraving, and sharp checkering on the stock and forend. Mechanically excellent. This is an opportunity to own an absolute masterpiece of English gunmaking and engraving. It truly does not get any better than this!
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