The Early Purdeys, A Christie's Book by L. Patrick Unsworth

The Early Purdeys by L. Patrick Unsworth. A Christie's Book.

The firm of James Purdey and Sons limited, founded in 1816, was among the premier gunmakers of the 19th century and is a leading gunmaker to this day. The working practice and the exemplary standards of its founder had an enormous influence of the development of firearms. This authoritative work,, the result of many years of painstaking research, provides a comprehensive reference to Purdeys flintlock and percussion muzzle-loading arms and the earliest breech-loaders. A detailed biography of James Purdey puts his founding of the company in the context of time, and provides a fascinating insight into the work of those closely associated with him, such as Joseph Lang, who became his son-in-law. New information is given for the first time about his apprentices and the way his workshop operated; his different premises and their related trade-cards and labels which have proved invaluable in the dating of certain firearms; the special commissions he produced for Queen Victoria for presentation purposes; and the background to Patent inventions such as the Patent safety device, its grip-safety and intercepting sears, which were of such importance to the shooting public and the gun trade. Special features are made of curiosities such as the Chillingham musket-rifles a stand of 35 firearms ordered for the Earl of Tankerville for protection during the riots of the turbulent early 1830s.
Following the family biography, the central part of the book is devoted to individual descriptions of every known type of early weapon that Purdeys produced: flintlock and percussion pistols; pocket, turn-over and holster pistols; rifles, in particular the two-groove; and sporting guns, along with detailed accounts of the various types of mounts employed, hammers and patch-box covers, and their decoration.
Finally, extensive appendices list every recorded early weapon by serial number, indicating which are extant, and in many cases giving details about specifications, modifications, prices and sales. This information is drawn largely from the original account books still preserved at Audley House, the firms head office, collated with details given by collectors of Purdeys from all over the world. The resulting comprehensive checklist will be of enormous benefit to all students of firearms, enthusiast, collectors and curators.

This book is also for sale signed by the author.

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