This Spanish Patilla [Miquelet] locked gun was manufactured possibly 1787 (dated by lock manufacture and operation of the gunmaker).
“Probably a project undertaken by Nicholas Clarke for some wealthy client who could see the beauty in this Miquelet lock and decided to make up this unusual blunderbuss”
No history is known about this gun as all records are believed destroyed by fire in the 1922 Rising in Dublin. However it was recorded in the Irish arms census of 1843 as L-H383 [Co Louth], registered in 1844 [along with a Brownbess India Pattern Musket]. The licence number was issued at the local Petty Sessions prior to the local constabulary “branding” the licence number on a weapon.
As it has a brass barrel it was probably manufactured for use as a naval or coaching piece.
The barrel has a bore size of .657″ and is 15.5″ long, 3 stage brass, with octagonal breech, stamped on top flat CLARKE DUBLIN with Irish census No L-H383.
Stamped on bottom flat are GF; 3 and TK. The “GF” mark could be that of George Fullerd? the celebrated London barrel maker. The “TK” could possibly be that of Thomas Ketland? who was one of the major forces behind the forming of the Official Proof House in Birmingham in 1813.
The “V” View and “P” Proof indicate that this barrel was possibly proofed in Birmingham in one of the various “Private Proof Houses” Various Gunmakers would have offered this service including Ketland.
The large Spanish Patilla (Miquelet) lock with heavy scrolled engraving is stamped on the steel with a punzon (lockmakers seal) inlaid with gold [crown above 2 rows of letters VILA DELL]. This punzion belonged to Joan Vilardell a lockmaker of Ripoll (Catalonia-Spain) who was manufacturing locks about 1778 to 1808. The lock was probably forwarded to the Irish gunmaker Nicholas Clarke of Dublin, as a large number of Spanish Patilla locks were delivered to European Gunmakers during this period.
Nicholas Clarke d:1811, traded from 1787-1788 at 9 Swifts Row; 1789-1795 43 Capel Street and finally 1796-1811 35 Capel Street Dublin.
It is fullstocked with dark Walnut, carrying brass furniture including acorn finial; trigger guard; buttplate (stamped with L-H383) and two ramrod pipes. Also a wooden, brass capped ram and cleaning rod with steel worm. Overall length 31″.
- Proof mark identification by Birmingham Proof House (1991).
- For a similar weapon see “BLUNDERBUSSES” by D R Baxter plate 23 and page 27.
- Lock provenance September 2001, Sala Antiques – Spain.
- Proof and other marks, Sept 2020. D Stroud, Ramrod Antiques – UK
The gun carries evidence of use, worn steel, lock sear wear; slight barrel bulge. Poor attempt to add a spring bayonet, yet is in excellent condition both in lock movement and finish. Has been well looked after.