The maker’s records confirm that this pair of pistols were completed on March 28, 1892, for Colonel M.G. Gerard. Sir Montagu Gilbert Gerard (1843-1905) was born at Edinburgh and led a very active military career. He was gazetted Lieutenant in the Royal Artillery in 1864, and his first posting being garrison duty at Gibraltar. He transferred to field artillery in 1866 and was stationed in India before joining Sir Robert Napier’s Expedition to Abyssinia in 1868 where he was mentioned in despatches. In 1870, he joined the Bengal Staff Corps and was attached to the famous Central India Horse. Gerard was promoted to Captain in 1876 and acted as a Brigade-Major throughout the Second Afghan War of 1878-80. He saw action at Deh Sarak, the second Bazar Valley expedition, took part in the defence of Jagdallak, accompanied Sir Charles Gough’s brigade to Sherpur and Lord Robert’s famous march from Kabul to Kandahar taking part in the battle at Kandahar on September 1, 1880. Gerard wasn’t finished with British imperial conflict and served in the 1882 Egyptian Campaign seeing action at Alexandria, Kassassin and Tel-el-Kebir. By 1884, he was promoted to Major and was Brevet-Colonel the following year. Beyond soldiering in the field, Gerard was sent on secret missions to Persia in 1881 and 1885. He was back in India by 1890 and placed in charge of the Tsarevich’s (later Tsar Nicholas II of Russia) tour of India (December 1890-February 1891). The pistols in this lot are from shortly after this tour and just before his appointment in 1892 as a British Military Attache at St. Petersburg. He saw diplomatic service in the negotiations between Britain and Russia over their respective spheres of influence in the Pamirs, part of what is known as the Great Game. Gerard returned to India in 1896, was promoted to Major-General in 1897, Lieutenant-General in 1900 and finally a full General in 1904. Upon the outbreak of the Russo-Japanese War in 1904, he was sent to Manchuria as chief British Attache to the Russian Army, but his health declined during the campaign, and he died at Irkutsk on his way home. A testament to his standing and reputation is that both Tsar Nicholas II and King Edward VII were represented at his requiem mass sung at the Catholic Church of St. Catherine’s in St. Petersburg. He was buried in Scotland later that year. Gerard was a keen big game hunter and recorded his experiences in “Leaves from the Diaries of a Soldier and a Sportsman, 1865-1885” which was published in 1903. The pistols have blued octagonal barrels signed “JOHN DICKSON & SON. 63, PRINCES STREET. EDINBURGH” in gold with standing notch rear sights and bead front sights. Their casehardened scroll engraved actions have carved percussion fences, blued sidelevers, and are numbered “1” and "2" respectively on the tangs. The casehardened scroll engraved rebounding sidelocks are signed “JOHN DICKSON & SON”. The furniture is engraved en suite and comprises blued spurred trigger guards and casehardened pommel caps. The well-figured walnut half-stocks have checkered wrists and forearms. The forearms are carved in low relief with a shell, and the base of the butts are carved in low relief with a band of stylized foliage. The wrists are fitted with blank gold oval initial escutcheons. The pair are contained in their original brass cornered oak and leather case with red baize lining. The lid has a red leather John Dickson & Son trade label with gilt lettering, and the exterior of the lid has a blank circular brass escutcheon.For many years, prior to a thorough re-binding of the Dickson record books, this pair of pistols had been credited to Charles Gordon. Serial numbers 4008, 4012, and 4013 are all Gordon guns, but the page was presumed missing which detailed serial numbers 4009, 4010, and 4011. As Gordon was known to have ordered firearms in groups, and these pistols are of highly unusual specification, it was presumed Gordon had ordered a group of six guns covering serial numbers 4008 through to 4013. This error stretched as far as publication in “Charles Gordon. Magnificent Madness” by Donald Dallas in 2009.
Very fine. The barrel retains nearly 100% of the reblued finish and has bright gold inlays. 75% of the original casehardened finish remains, and the sidelever and trigger guard have traces of original blue finish. The engraving remains crisp, and overall there is only light wear. The wood is also very fine and has crisp checkering and light handling and storage marks. The restored case has minor overall age wear and staining. Mechanically excellent.
See "A." Provenance: The Malcolm King Collection
Very fine. The barrel retains nearly 100% of the reblued finish and has bright gold inlays. 85% of the original casehardened finish remains, and the sidelever and trigger guard retain 75% of the original bright blue finish. The engraving remains crisp, and there are some overall light handling and storage marks. The wood is fine and has crisp checkering, light handling and storage marks, and a professional repair at the bottom of the wrist. Mechanically excellent. This is an intriguing pair of very scarce and unusual breech loading target pistols owned by an officer of the British Empire in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
There are currently no customer product questions on this lot