This stunning pair of Austrian horse/holster pistols is illustrated and discussed in color plate I and pages 122 and 123 of "The Art of the Gunmaker, Vol. II" by Hayward and on pages 154 and 155 of "Decorated Firearms, 1540-1870, from the Collection of Clay P. Bedford" by Gusler and Lavin. In the latter, Thomas Hamerlitz is noted as working between 1698 and 1738 in Ferlach in southern Austria not far from the current border with Italy. The authors note, "In these pistols the Italian flavor is shown in the novel concept of the barrel chasing, which imitates in bronze the chiseled iron plaques set in the stocks of Brescian firearms. These plaques are characterized by tightly compressed scrolling foliage enclosed within relatively symmetrical boundaries. This affinity to Brescian arms is further exemplified by the pierced and tightly scrolled design of the sideplate. Furthermore, several masks incorporated within the chased design are certainly more Italianate than Germanic." The gilt bronze, smoothbore barrels have blade front sights, long interrupted sight flats, the noted chased scrollwork and mask accents, "Thomas HamerliZ" signed on top, double vent holes, and dished rear sights on the upper tangs. The gilt bronze lock plates have grotesque masks at the tails, mythical beasts at the center, mask screws on the cocks, and scroll and floral patterns. The furniture is also gilt bronze and includes pierced scroll finials, floral and scroll engraving, various mask designs, and three figures among the scrollwork on the pierced sideplates. The nicely figured stump walnut stocks have horn forend caps and raised relief carving including scroll designs on the sides of the forends.
Fine with more than half of the original gilt finish retained in the protected areas and an attractive mild aged patina on the balance of the bronze and mottled gray patina and mild pitting on the iron. The refinished stock is also fine and has distinct carving, nice figure, some faint cracks and minor repairs, and minor dings and scratches. Mechanically fine.
See "A." Provenance: The Geoffrey Jenkinson Collection; The Clay P. Bedford Collection; The Collection of Joe M. Wanenmacher Jr
Fine with more than half of the original gilt finish concentrated in the protected areas, attractive aged patina on the balance of the bronze, and mottled gray patina with some mild pitting on the iron. The refinished stock is also fine and has distinct carving, nice figure, a few faint splices and repaired cracks, some small slivers absent, and minor dings and scratches. Mechanically fine.