William Greener (1806-1869) was the father of W.W. Greener and the first of the world famous Greener gunmaking dynasty. He was an innovative gunmaker, enjoyed the patronage of Prince Albert, authored “The Gun”, “The Science of Gunnery” and “Gunnery in 1858”, and won two first class gold medals at the famous 1851 Great Exhibition of London at Crystal Palace and two medals at the Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations held in New York in 1853. He perfected the two-groove “Cape” rifle in 1858 following a request from the well known South African firm of John Hayton based in Grahamstown. With browned Damascus twist combination barrels, the right smoothbore and of 14 gauge, the left rifled and of 30 bore, with raised concave rib signed “WILL.M GREENER. MAKER BY APPOINTMENT TO H.R.H. PRINCE ALBERT” and with brass front sight and scroll engraved folding two leaf rear sight, each barrel engraved with scrollwork around the rear sight. Casehardened patent breeches each with platinum plug engraved with a rosette and a spray of scroll engraving on the rib. The browned Damascus twist smoothbore barrels of 14 gauge and signed “WILLIAM GREENER’S. LAMINATED STEEL. INDESTRUCTIBLE BY GUNPOWDER” on the concave rib which also bears the bead front sight. The breech end of the rib and the casehardened patent breeches each engraved with scrollwork, the breeches each with platinum plug engraved with a rosette. Each pair of barrels with London proof marks, the smoothbore barrels with barrelsmith’s name “T. KILBY”, and each with own brass mounted ramrod, that with the combination barrels with matching serial number. Scroll engraved false breech and casehardened locks, the latter each signed “W. GREENER”. The locks each engraved with two vignettes involving a game bird and a dog, and each with bolster shaped hammers. Figured walnut half stock with checkered grip and forearm, that latter checkered within a recessed shaped panel. Iron furniture engraved en suite with the locks including trigger guard decoration on the bow with a vignette of a dog, and with a grip safety engraved “SAFETY/4017”. Provenance: The Malcolm King Collection
Very good overall. The combination barrels retain 80% original finish, some scattered corrosion marking and occasional loss of finish (especially to the underside of the breeches), engraving crisp. Breeches retaining 50% original faded casehardened finish with a dark grey patina, engraving crisp. Smoothbore barrels retaining 90% original browned finish, clear engraving, and breeches with 50% original faded casehardened finish with a dark grey patina. Locks with crisp engraving and traces of original casehardened finish in sheltered areas, occasional small patches of discoloration. The stock has numerous scattered age related storage and handling blemishes, checkering slightly flattened. Engraving to furniture crisp, furniture generally with grey aged patina. Mechanically excellent.
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