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Queen Anne Flintlock Pistol
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".
Type: Pocket / Belt Pistol
Style: Queen Anne Flintlock Pistol
Country: England
Overall Length: 10 3/4 inches
Barrel Length: 4 5/8 inches
Weight: 1 lb, 6 1/4 oz
Bore: 0.595 inches, Smooth
Stock: Walnut, Ball Butt style

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James Barbar
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" (2). A superb pair of pistols by James Barbar is on display at Windsor Castle (2). 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 1741 .

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 (1).

(1) James 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.
Great British Gunmakers: 1740-1790 by William Keith Neal & D.H.L. Back

(2) Barbar, A Quintet of Pistols, Page 32 to 37
Photographs 20, 21, 22, 23 and 24
Georgian Pistols, The Art and Craft of the Flintlock Pistol, 1715-1840, By Norman Dixon

(3) Holster Pistol Number 26, Page 37 (Bedford 1528)
Early firearms of Great Britain and Ireland from the collection of Clay P. Bedford, New York Graphic Society, Greenwich, Conn (1971)

(4) Page 154
English Flintlock Pistols from 1740 to 1760, by Hayward

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