Queen Anne Flintlock
by James Barbar, Circa 1740
This Queen Anne Style English
flintlock pistol was probably
once one of a pair. It has a
turn-off barrel that resembles
a cannon. The barrel and breach
are marked with the number "2"
near the unscrewing lug. The
walnut stock has relief
carvings around the barrel
tang, a silver side plate and
silver butt-cap. The butt-cap
features a grotesque mask.
"BARBAR" is engraved on the
side of the breech below the
feather (frizzen) spring. "LONDON" is engraved on
top of the breech. Three proof
marks are stamped on the bottom
of breech. Two are oval shaped,
a Crown over a "GP" (the
gun-makers proof) and a Crown
over a "V" (the "view mark").
The third is James Barbar`s
maker`s mark, a Star over "IB".
Pocket / Belt Pistol
Queen Anne Flintlock
10 3/4 inches
4 5/8 inches
1 lb, 6 1/4 oz
0.595 inches, Smooth
Walnut, Ball Butt style
Recognized experts like Keith Neal,
David Black and Norman Dixon consider
James Barbar to be the best gunmaker
of his day (1)(2)(4)
. To quote
Dixon, "Almost without exception,
unrestored and original antique
firearms made by James Barbar of
London are of the highest quality"
superb pair of pistols by James
Barbar is on display at Windsor
. A Queen Anne
pistol by this maker also appeared in
the Clay P. Bedford exhibition at the
Metropolitan Museum of Art (3)
James was apprenticed to his
father Louis Barbar in October of
1714. Louis Barbar was a well
known gunmaker who had immigrated
to England from France in 1688.
He was among many Huguenots
(French Protestants) who sought
refuge in England after the
revocation of the Edict of Nantes
by Louis XIV in 1685. Louis was
appointed Gentleman Armourer to
King George I in 1717, and to
George II in 1727. He died in
James Barbar completed his
apprenticeship in 1722 and was
admitted as a freeman to the Company of
Gunmakers. By 1726 James had
established a successful shop on
Portugal Street in Piccadilly.
After his father`s death in 1741,
James succeeded him as Gentleman
Armourer to George II. He was
elected Master of the Gunmakers`
Company in 1742. James Barbar
died in 1773.
The book "Great British Gunmakers 1740-1790"
contains a detailed chapter on
James Barbar and many fine
photographs of his weapons
Barbar, Gunmaker, Page 102 to 105
Photographs 10, 48, 49, 50, 246, 247,
248, 249, 281, 282, 283, 284, 285,
340, 341, 342, 343, 344, 345, 346,
347 and 526.
Gunmakers: 1740-1790 by William
Keith Neal & D.H.L.
A Quintet of Pistols, Page 32 to
Photographs 20, 21, 22, 23 and 24
The Art and Craft of the
Flintlock Pistol, 1715-1840, By
Pistol Number 26, Page 37
Early firearms of
Great Britain and Ireland from
the collection of Clay P.
Bedford, New York Graphic
Society, Greenwich, Conn
English Flintlock Pistols from 1740
to 1760, by Hayward