The Versailles Manufactory was known as the Manufacture de Carabines des Versailles in 1794-1799 due to focus on manufacturing plain martial carbines for the French armies. This carbine is a beautiful homage to Boutet's beautiful carbines of the Napoleonic era and is built with an original Versailles lock. It is done in a similar highly elaborate style as the carbine from the Napoleon Garniture sold by RIAC in December 2021, and the gold-work on the barrel is particularly phenomenal and similar to multiple high end Boutet flintlock presentation firearms. The swamped octagonal barrel has fine "saw tooth" style rifling and blade and notch sights mounted in very slender dovetails. The barrel has a textured matte blue background and beautifully executed contrasting gold decoration that includes primarily stars, floral motifs, a French imperial eagle, and panels. The lock has a sphinx at the tail, scroll engraving and a mask on the cock, and "Manufe/de Versailles" signed at the center. The lock is fired using a plain trigger. The furniture is silver and has cast and chiseled designs, including floral patterns, an imperial eagle on the trigger guard finial, and a bee on the heel of the buttplate. The bee and eagle were both symbols adopted by Napoleon as emperor. The full-length walnut stock has panels of checkering on the grasping sections and features a nicely sculpted cheek piece with scroll carved accents. Provenance: The Malcolm King Collection
Fine with 95% plus gold and blue finishes on the barrel, bright lock, refinished blue on the top jaw, barrel tang and some of the screws and small pieces, aged patina on the furniture, and mild overall wear. The refinished stock has crisp checkering, some repaired cracks and chips, mild dings and scratches, and smooth oiled finish. Mechanically fine. This is a stunning flintlock carbine based on Boutet's incredible work for Napoleon and the French Empire in the early 19th century.
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