Page 283 - 4090-BOOK1
P. 283

 LOT 373
Extraordinarily Fine Battle Scene Engraved Pair of Georg Keiser of Vienna Wheellock Sporting Rifles Made for the Imperial Habsburg Family -A) Georg Keiser Wheellock Rifle - NSN, 54 cal., 32 1/4 inch octagon bbl., fire blue/gold/bright finish, walnut stock. Georg Keiser (1647-1734) was one of the most talented gunmakers in Vienna in the 17th century and early 18th century and became a master in 1674 in the Vienna Guild
of Gunmakers. Given his quality of work, it is no surprise that many of his surviving pieces are found in the state and imperial collections across Europe. The coat of arms on the side plates of these rifles indicates they belonged to the Austrian Habsburgs, almost certainly Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI (1685-1740, reigned 1711-1740) given the pair stylistically fits within the 1720-1730 time period. The tags note the rifles as from the Habsburgs. The rifles are nearly identical except that the gilt brass heel plate tang of the first rifle has a bust of a woman and the second rifle has a bust of a man in armor, likely representing the emperor and empress, and the trigger guard bows are inscribed “1” and “2” respectively. The seven-groove rifled barrels are fire blued with contrasting gold markings and inlays, including “GEORG-KEISER-IN-WIENN” on top along with gilded dovetailed blade front sights and three-leaf rear sight. The locks each have an internal wheel and manual sliding pan-cover; the flat plates each have exceptionally well-executed martial scenes involving
a large group of mounted men on the left with a walled city in the background and a more detailed group of four armored men on horseback at the center with a castle on the right along with detailed foliage, clouds, and borders. The fences to the dogs have a detailed depiction of Athena seated on a drum with flags in
the background and a shield under her arm. The gilt side plates are pierced with scroll designs with the imperial coat of arms on a roundel. The trigger guards which are shaped to the fingers, ramrod pipes, and heel plates are gilt brass and also feature engraved scroll patterns. The top of the butts have gilt brass shell and scroll design thumb rests. The forend caps and ramrod tips are horn and have alternating bands and coordinate with one another, and the sliding patchbox covers and cheekpiece edge plates similarly have alternating horn panels and are fluted. The finely figured stocks feature attractive relief carved entwining scroll patterns and border molding. The rifles are fitted with adjustable double set triggers.

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