A Pair of Double-Barrelled Carriage Pistols by Barbar, silver marks 1776/7

3697 7
3697 6
3697 4

Item ref: 3697

  • England, London and Birmingham
  • Wood, iron, steel and silver
  • 9.8 cm / 3.75 in


Sotheby’s, London, 29th July, 1980, Lot 557

This pair of pistols were almost certainly made by James Barbar, whose father, also named James, was the son of Lewis (or Louis) Barbar, founder of the distinguished Barbar dynasty of London gunmakers. This second James Barber was apprenticed to his father in 1747.
Multiple-barrelled pistols gave the opportunity for several shots to be fired, and thus offered greater opportunity for personal protection. Box-lock flintlock pistols like these handsome examples, with a pair of barrels arranged side by side, were in vogue for much of the latter half of the 18th century. Several varieties of pistols of this form existed, but the type represented by the present pistols were built with a single cock and frizzen connected with two pans arranged so that the barrels could be fired independently.