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LOT 1591
Fantastic Unique Factory Mythological Themed Master Ken Hunt Engraved James Purdey & Sons Imperial De Luxe Sidelock Over/Under Shotgun with Case - Serial no. 26887, 12 gauge, 28 1/4 inch vent rib bbl., blue/coin finish, walnut stock. James Purdey & Sons has long been among the most revered firms in the fine arms trade and has always produced nothing but the finest pieces. Made for the most discerning of customers, these guns take long hours in the hands of some of
the world’s best craftspeople to complete and are all finely tuned mechanical marvels as well as incredible works of art. Purdey has kindly informed us that this gun was completed in early 1961 for the Italian firm of Armeria Enea Vignoli, who requested the special oornamental engraving and the gold crest inlaid in the forend, a rare combination of requests found on a Purdey shotgun, making this anincredibly unique shotgun. Additionally, they confirmed this engraving was done by a then 26 year old engraving virtuoso, Ken Hunt. Ken studied under Harry Kell beginning at the age of 15 and became on of England’s greatest and most coveted engravers, particularly on Purdey shotguns. Ken found this unique, special ornamental engraving he completed for this project so profound that he put pictures of it in a special projects binder that he kept throughout his time as an engraver
and which the Purdey firm now possesses. What makes this gun even more special is that this
gun is page 1 of this binder, making this arguably Ken Hunt’s first masterpiece! The gun is further
documeneted in the notable books on Italian engraving “Il Grande Libro Incisioni” on page 40 and “Fucili D’Autore” on page 733, boy by Nobli, as this design has almost certainly inspired the Italian engravers of the last 50 years. This gun is built with blued steel barrels featuring a single nickel
bead sight on the matted vent rib, “J. PURDEY & SONS . AUDLEY HOUSE . SOUTH AUDLEY . STREET
. LONDON . ENGLAND.” marked on the left side of the upper barrel, wedges of scroll engraving at the breech on either side of the rib, 2 3/4 inch chambers with automatic ejectors, and London nitro proofs on the flat and right side of the upper barrel. The underside of the lower barrel is marked with the Italian retailer mark, and the watertable of the action shows the importer mark. The coin finished sidelock action displays outstanding near full coverage engraving surrounding “J. Purdey & Sons/London” on either side and intricate scenes of mythological designs. The lockplates are mirror images of each other showing a satyr in motion dancing with broad leafy scroll designs, some of which end in masks, all over a blackened background. The underside of the action shows a bust of the goddess Athena along with a a pair of putti beneath her eating of the fruit of the vine. There is a putti on the pierced toplever which takes the form of a dragon, the triggerguard has another putti, and the upper tang displays a green man mask just ahead of the gold inlaid “SAFE” marking.
The safety is automatically tripped upon opening the action and there is a single non-selective

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