The maker's have kindly confirmed that serial numbers 3154/5 were completed and put into stock as a pair of "small double pistols" with black stocks on May 15, 1838. The pistols were sold on July 26, 1844, to Viscount Clifden of Dover House, Whitehall, for £52 10s 0d. This would be Henry Agar-Ellis, 34d Viscount Clifden (1825-1866), formerly Lord Dover, a Gentleman of the Bedchamber to Prince Consort Albert in 2846-1852. The records further note that a coronet and cypher were engraved on the pistols at a cost of 5s, and again on the case lid at a cost of 2s 6d. The pistols were serviced and a repair made to the case on November 24, 1845, at a cost of £2 9s. The guns later became the property of a Major A. Wombwell. The escutcheons on the pistols and case lid have been replaced during their working life to remove the coronet and cypher. Major Arthur Wombwell, previously a brevet-major in the 46th Foot, is listed as promoted to major in the Provisional Battalion at Chatham in 1857. Records from 1868 indicate he was an ensign in 1838, lieutenant in 1841, captain in 1846, major in 1855, lieutenant colonel in 1864, and an assistant inspector of volunteers in 1868. Purdey’s Dimension Book lists a total of eighteen “Small Double Pistols” fourteen of which were sold as pairs and the remaining four as single pistols. According to Unsworth in “The Early Purdeys,” the whereabouts of the present pistols was unknown at the time of publication. With browned Damascus barrels with sunken concave sighted rib signed “J. PURDEY. 314 1/2 OXFORD STREET. LONDON” and with stirrup ramrod beneath. Casehardened patent breeches engraved with a spray of foliage on the rib section. Finely scroll engraved casehardened standing breeches and back action locks, the latter each signed “PURDEY” and with blued safety bolts. Black lacquered half-length stocks with checkered butts, the wrists inset with small blank silver oval initial escutcheons. Furniture including casehardened trigger plates, blued trigger guards and casehardened pommels, the last with hinged trap covers. See L. Patrick Unsworth, “The Early Purdeys”, pp. 67-68 and p. 136. In original brass cornered fitted mahogany case lined in red Morocco leather. With some accessories including bullet mold, sprue cutter, and cleaning rod.
Fine with 50% original brown finish and distinct twist patterns on the barrels, 85% plus original case colors, strong original niter blue on the safeties, traces of blue on the trigger guard, some traces of oxidation, and smooth gray and brown patina on the balance. The stock is also fine and has crisp checkering, some minor finish flaking, and scattered small dings and scratches. Mechanically fine. The case and accessories are good with mild age and storage related wear.
Very fine with 75% plus original brown and distinct twist patterns on the barrel, 85% plus original case colors, strong original niter blue on the safeties, traces of original blue on the trigger guard, some light traces of oxidation, and minor overall wear. The stock is fine and has crisp checkering, some scattered mild dings and scratches, small amount of finish flaking, and minor dings and scratches. Mechanically fine.
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