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lancaster
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A historic weapon goes on show for first time
      #328261 - 12/05/19 05:20 AM

https://www.scottishfield.co.uk/culture/a-historic-weapon-goes-on-show-for-first-time/

"
A historic weapon goes on show for first time
By Kenny Smith - 10th May 2019

A hunting rifle given by Queen Victoria to loyal Highland servant John Brown (Photo: Neil Hanna)

A hunting rifle gifted by Queen Victoria to her loyal servant John Brown has been acquired by National Museums Scotland.

The rifle will go on public display for the first time in a major exhibition this summer, Wild and Majestic: Romantic Visions of Scotland.

A gold plaque fitted into the butt of the.450 double-barrelled hammer rifle records that Queen Victoria presented it to John Brown as a Christmas gift in 1873. It was made that year in Edinburgh by noted Edinburgh gun maker Alexander Henry.

Dr Patrick Watt, curator of the exhibition, at National Museums Scotland, said: ‘This a tremendously significant acquisition for National Museums Scotland. It is a stunning object which shows directly the connection and the affection between Queen Victoria and John Brown.

‘The high-quality design and obvious expense of the gift highlights the position of trust and esteem in which the Queen held her loyal servant.

‘We are delighted to be putting it on display in Wild and Majestic: Romantic Visions of Scotland. In the exhibition, we explore the reality behind the Romantic fascination with Scotland that spread across the world in the late 18th and early 19th centuries and so infatuated Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert as they created their Highland idyll at Balmoral.’

John Brown had worked on the Balmoral estate since 1842, and rose in the Queen’s favour to special status as Her Majesty’s Highland Servant. After the death of her husband, Prince Albert, in 1861, Brown supported Queen Victoria in her grief. Gossip soon spread regarding the Queen’s closeness to Brown and his influence over the royal household.

Brown died unexpectedly in 1883. Devastated by his loss, the Queen wrote to Brown’s brother Hugh, ‘we all have lost the best, the truest heart that ever beat!’

The exhibition will also feature a tartan dress worn by Queen Victoria, the suit of Highland dress uniform worn by Brown in his role as personal servant to the Queen, a memorial tie pin commissioned by the Queen for her staff to wear on the anniversary of Brown’s death and a Gaelic edition of Queen Victoria’s journal detailing her life in the Scottish Highlands.

These will feature among over 300 objects on display drawn from the collections of National Museums Scotland and over 38 lenders from across the UK in Wild and Majestic: Romantic Visions of Scotland.

The exhibition, sponsored by Baillie Gifford Investment Managers, spans the period from the defeat of the Jacobites at the Battle of Culloden in 1746 to the death of Queen Victoria in 1901. The exhibition explores the efforts made to protect and revive elements of Gaelic culture in the wake of the post-Culloden crisis in Highland society.

During this period, Scotland’s relationship with the European Romantic movement transformed external perceptions of the Highlands and was central to the birth of tourism in Scotland. These developments would in turn influence the relationship between the Hanoverian royal family and Scotland, particularly George IV and, later, Queen Victoria."



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Norwegian hunter misses moose, shoots man on toilet
.
bringing civilisation to the barbarians


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93x64mm
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Re: A historic weapon goes on show for first time [Re: lancaster]
      #328262 - 12/05/19 07:11 AM

Marvellous piece of history there Lancaster & in amazing condition too with the whole kit & caboodle!
Back then it would have been state of the art - a real 'magnum'.


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Ripp
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Re: A historic weapon goes on show for first time [Re: 93x64mm]
      #328269 - 12/05/19 01:19 PM

Quote:

Marvellous piece of history there Lancaster & in amazing condition too with the whole kit & caboodle!
Back then it would have been state of the art - a real 'magnum'.



+1
Great job posting this..

--------------------
ALL MEN DIE, BUT FEW MEN TRULY LIVE..


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Daryl_S
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Re: A historic weapon goes on show for first time [Re: Ripp]
      #328270 - 12/05/19 01:30 PM

I'd like to see a lot more pictures.

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Daryl


"a rifle without hammers, is like a Spaniel without ears" Edward VII


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NitroXAdministrator
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Re: A historic weapon goes on show for first time [Re: Daryl_S]
      #328281 - 12/05/19 03:58 PM

Two posts on this one.


A ".450", what sort of .450 would this have been in 1873?

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John aka NitroX

...
"I love the smell of cordite in the morning."
"A Sharp spear needs no polish"


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RichB
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Re: A historic weapon goes on show for first time [Re: NitroX]
      #328289 - 12/05/19 05:47 PM

Cheers, Lancaster … I hope to get my (white gloved, of course ..) hands on it before it goes into the case !

--------------------
Alexander Henry's great great grandson
Collaborator on book Alexander Henry Rifle Maker by Donald Dallas


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kuduae
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Re: A historic weapon goes on show for first time [Re: NitroX]
      #328291 - 12/05/19 07:00 PM

Quote:

A ".450", what sort of .450 would this have been in 1873?



Regarding the date and the maker, most likely Alexander Henry's own .450 3 1/4" BPE.


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RichB
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Re: A historic weapon goes on show for first time [Re: kuduae]
      #328293 - 12/05/19 08:34 PM

Detailed in here :

Previous outings at auction houses :

https://www.bonhams.com/press_release/21582/#/MR3_length=12&m3=3

https://www.invaluable.com/auction-lot/alexander-henry-double-rifle-presented-christmas-10e424ea7e

--------------------
Alexander Henry's great great grandson
Collaborator on book Alexander Henry Rifle Maker by Donald Dallas


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Ripp
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Re: A historic weapon goes on show for first time [Re: NitroX]
      #328303 - 13/05/19 08:38 AM

Quote:

Two posts on this one.


A ".450", what sort of .450 would this have been in 1873?




NOT that it really matters, but believe this one was up first..

Incredible piece of history..

--------------------
ALL MEN DIE, BUT FEW MEN TRULY LIVE..


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NitroXAdministrator
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Re: A historic weapon goes on show for first time [Re: RichB]
      #328315 - 13/05/19 12:11 PM

Quote:

Detailed in here :

Previous outings at auction houses :

https://www.bonhams.com/press_release/21582/#/MR3_length=12&m3=3

https://www.invaluable.com/auction-lot/alexander-henry-double-rifle-presented-christmas-10e424ea7e




".450 Black Powder Express" is mentioned but not a definitive answer.

--------------------
John aka NitroX

...
"I love the smell of cordite in the morning."
"A Sharp spear needs no polish"


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NitroXAdministrator
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Re: A historic weapon goes on show for first time [Re: NitroX]
      #328319 - 13/05/19 12:28 PM

A old piece like this with some history will probably just see the collectors shelves.

But what a wonderful old rifle in a useful chambering for modern medium game at short to medium ranges. Would make a dandy deer, boar, bear, or moose rifle.

--------------------
John aka NitroX

...
"I love the smell of cordite in the morning."
"A Sharp spear needs no polish"


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NitroXAdministrator
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Re: A historic weapon goes on show for first time [Re: NitroX]
      #328320 - 13/05/19 12:50 PM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4i5G7ZSvtvA

Lot 1560 Queen Victoria Presentation Alexander Henry Rifle

James D. Julia
Published on 13 Oct 2017
Lot 1560
https://jamesdjulia.com/item/51678-1-...

ALEXANDER HENRY DOUBLE RIFLE PRESENTED CHRISTMAS 1873 BY QUEEN VICTORIA TO HER ESTEEMED SCOTTISH SERVANT, FRIEND, CONFIDANTE, (LOVER? MORGANATIC HUSBAND?), AND SAVIOR JOHN BROWN, WITH ORIGINAL CASE AND ACCESSORIES, PLUS SUPPORTING BOOKS AND DVD.

--------------------
John aka NitroX

...
"I love the smell of cordite in the morning."
"A Sharp spear needs no polish"


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NitroXAdministrator
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Re: A historic weapon goes on show for first time [Re: NitroX]
      #328321 - 13/05/19 12:51 PM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EjF3IJnGaug

Alexander Henry - Rifle Maker by Donald Dallas (video by Andrew Brown)

James D. Julia
Published on 16 Oct 2017
This is a video about Donald Dallas’ new book "Alexander Henry Rifle Maker" which Mr. Dallas put together along with Richard Brown (Alexander Henry's great great grandson) and Andrew Brown (Alexander Henry’s great great great grandson). It includes a reference to the Alexander Henry double rifle presented on Christmas of 1873 by Queen Victoria to her personal Scottish servant, friend and confidante (lover? morganic husband?) John Brown, which is being sold in James D. Julia's October 2017 Extraordinary Firearms Auction as lot 1560 at this link: https://jamesdjulia.com/item/51678-1-...

Video used with permission. The book by Donald Dallas is available from http://www.donalddallas.com

--------------------
John aka NitroX

...
"I love the smell of cordite in the morning."
"A Sharp spear needs no polish"


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NitroXAdministrator
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Re: A historic weapon goes on show for first time [Re: NitroX]
      #328322 - 13/05/19 12:54 PM

https://www.rockislandauction.com/detail...ss-hammer-rifle

Well Documented and Historic Cased Alexander Henry Black Powder Express Double Barrel Hammer Rifle Presented by Queen Victoria to Her Personal Attendant and Confidant John Brown
Estimate Price: $80,000 - $130,000
Item Views
1159
Serial #
Serial number obfuscated
Manufacturer
Henry Alexander
Model
Double-Rifle
Type
Rifle
Gauge
450 Express
Catalog Page
328
Barrel
28 inch solid rib
Finish
brown/casehardened
Grip
Stock
walnut
Class
Antique
Rating
Description
Offered here is an extraordinary piece of British history: the only Queen Victoria presentation rifle known to exist. This rifle was a Christmas present from the Queen to her personal attendant and confidant John Brown in 1873. The presentation is documented in the included May 2016 dated letter from noted firearm historian and prolific author Donald Dallas. As confirmed by Dallas, this rifle, serial number 3210, is listed in the Alexander Henry ledger as being completed on December 20, 1873, for "Her Majesty the Queen (For John Brown)" and verifies the barrel length of 28 inches. A gold shield shaped presentation escutcheon is located on the left side of the buttstock and reads, "FROM/V.R./TO/J. BROWN ESQR/CHRISTMAS/1873." The story of Queen Victoria and John Brown is tantamount to a royal scandal, which continues to fascinate scholars to this day. Born in 1819 to Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn, the fourth son of the reigning King of the United Kingdom, George III and Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, Victoria was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from June 20, 1837 until her death on January 22, 1901. She gave herself the additional title of Empress of India in May 1876. Lasting on the throne for 63 years, seven months and two days, Victoria was the longest reigning British monarch and longest reigning queen until the record was surpassed by her great-great-granddaughter Elizabeth II in September 2015. During the age that bears her name, Victoria oversaw the creation of an empire measuring some 40 million square kilometers occupied by 387 million subjects. She was the ruler of Britain at its height of world power. In 1840, Victoria married Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. The marriage has been viewed in history and popular culture as one of the greatest love affairs of the British monarchy. Albert died in 1861, leaving Victoria heartbroken. For the rest of her life she mourned his death by wearing only black clothing. John Brown was born in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, to a family far removed from European royalty. He went to work as an outdoor servant known as a ghillie or gillie at Balmoral Castle. The castle was leased and later purchased by Victoria and Albert, and it was at the castle where the famed relationship between gillie and Queen began. In 1851, Brown became Prince Albert’s personal gillie and often found himself teaching sporting education to the young princes. Brown also frequently encountered the Queen. In a letter to her uncle, King Leopold of the Belgians, Victoria spoke highly of Brown, writing, "We have had a most beautiful week, going out everyday and taking luncheon in a basket on the back of a Highlander, and served by an invaluable servant I have who is my factotum here and takes the most wonderful care of me, combining the office of groom, footman, page and maid, I might also say, as he is so handy about cloaks and shawls etc…He always leads my pony and it is quite a sorrow to leave him behind." In the aftermath of Albert’s death, Brown became a close confidante to the Queen, a constant companion attending her wherever she went. Writing in 1865 Victoria explained, "Have now appointed that excellent Highland servant of mine to attend me always…so unlike an ordinary servant and so cheerful and attentive." Brown saved the Queen’s life on two separate occasions: once by rescuing the Queen from a carriage accident in 1863 and the second time outside Buckingham Palace by foiling an assassination attempt on her life in 1872. The latter incident earned Brown a gold medal and annuity. This rifle could quite possibly be an additional gift in response to Brown’s actions during the assassination attempt. Given the social standards of the day the relationship between royalty and a perceived uneducated, drunken, tactless Scottish Highlander received criticism from both family and government. Scathing articles and unflattering cartoons about the couple were published in the press. Brown died in 1883. Victoria erected a memorial to Brown at Balmoral. The memorial inscription read in part, "This stone is erected in affectionate and grateful remembrance of John Brown, the devoted and faithful personal attendant and beloved friend of Queen Victoria in whose services he had been for 34 years." It has been revealed that the Queen’s casket contained keepsakes from Albert and John per her wishes. Items linked to Albert such as his dressing gown and plaster casting of his hand were place on the floor of the casket while items related to John such as a photo, lock of his hair, letters and his mother’s wedding ring were kept close to her body. The ring given to her by John was worn on her third finger of her right hand and the photograph and lock of hair was held in her left hand. This rifle expresses the devotion and love between a queen and her servant. But how far did the relationship actually progress? It is a question that is still debated within scholarly circles. So outraged by the relationship the Queen’s son and heir to the throne, King Edward VII, ordered the destruction of personal papers and mementos such as photos, diaries and letters that connected his mother to Brown. In the absence of a historical record, conjecture and wild theories always fill in the gaps. Rumors were abundant, suggesting that Brown and Victoria were romantically involved and even married. To this day there is little proof that Victoria had a second marriage or that their relationship was anything more than platonic. The rifle was once part of the famed Clay P. Bedford collection and is documented in the book "Early Firearms of Great Britain and Ireland from the Collection of Clay P. Bedford" published by The Metropolitan Museum of Art on page 103. The book accompanied the Met’s exhibition of the Clay P. Bedford collection in the early 1970s, and the rifle was the largest firearm of the exhibit. The fact that this rifle has survived is astonishing. At the time of Brown’s death, Queen Victoria ordered Brown’s possessions to be sealed in rooms, serving as time capsules that saved the memory of her beloved confidante, but when the Queen died in 1901, her son King Edward VII ordered the removal of Brown from memory through destruction of personal papers and mementos that connected his mother to Brown. Not all was destroyed. This rifle happened to be among the personal items returned to the Brown family. The rifle was later purchased by Bedford. The rifle has Damascus barrels fitted with a beaded front sight and two leaf rear sight (one fixed and one folding) for 100 and 200 yards. The matte barrel rib is marked "ALEXANDER HENRY, 12 SOUTH ST. ANDREW ST. EDINBURGH. PATENT No 2377./MAKER TO THEIR ROYAL HIGHNESS’ THE PRINCE OF WALES AND DUKE OF EDINBURGH." The barrel flats and water table are marked with the serial number "3210" and "AH" for Alexander Henry. The underside of the barrels under the forearm are marked with three British "crown/letter" proofs, "PATENT/2673" and "HENRY’S PATENT A&T 1356." Additional "crown/V" proofs are stamped on the water table. A fine foliate scroll engraving is featured on the hammers, the action, and furniture, and the lock plates are marked "ALEXR HENRY" in a banner. The serial number is repeated on the trigger guard tang. Sling eyelets are mounted on the underside of the barrels and buttstock. The action has hammer safeties. The handsome pistol grip stock features multi-point checkering, cheekpiece, horn grip cap and checkered bare butt with scalloped steel plates at the toe and heel. The original brass mounted, leather bound oak case has fitted pig skinned lining and is stamped in gold letters on the exterior of the lid "JOHN BROWN ESQ./H.M.P. ATTENDANT/BALMORAL." The inside of the lid has a paper Alexander Henry label. The accessories include leather bound W. Bartram powder flask, bullet mold and case trimmer numbered to the gun, capping/decapping tool, oil bottle, wad cutter, screwdriver, cleaning rod (no attachments) and other tools. The books "Leave from the Journal of Our life in the Highlands from 1848 to 1861" (first edition, 1868) and "More Leaves from the Journal of Our Life in the Highlands from 1862 to 1882" (third edition, 1884) written by Queen Victoria are included. The former was the first book published by a British monarch, dedicated to Prince Albert and views Brown as a hero who is mentioned 21 times, and the latter was a tribute to Brown. A third book, "John Brown: Queen Victoria’s Highland Servant" by Raymond Lamont-Brown (2000), is also included.
Condition
Fine. The barrels retain 70% of the Damascus pattern with a smooth gray patina showing traces of original brown finish in the protected areas. A few scuff marks are present on the left barrel. The action retains 30% of original case colors in and around the protected areas, otherwise a smooth gray patina with a crisp engraving. The wood is also fine showing some minor pressure dents and scratches and some blemishes in the checkering (mostly on the forearm). Mechanically excellent. The case is good showing overall wear and handling/storage marks and typical high spot wear on the lining. The handle is missing. Do not miss your chance to own a high quality British express double rifle documented to Britain's most powerful ruler, Queen Victoria! This rifle, which has already gained the attention of a renowned American museum, would find a place in the most advanced antique British or European sporting arms collection!

--------------------
John aka NitroX

...
"I love the smell of cordite in the morning."
"A Sharp spear needs no polish"


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NitroXAdministrator
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Re: A historic weapon goes on show for first time [Re: NitroX]
      #328323 - 13/05/19 12:54 PM

I will be adding more photos of the rifle and its history soon.

--------------------
John aka NitroX

...
"I love the smell of cordite in the morning."
"A Sharp spear needs no polish"


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RichB
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Reged: 01/07/17
Posts: 66
Loc: Edinburgh
Re: A historic weapon goes on show for first time [Re: NitroX]
      #328330 - 13/05/19 08:43 PM

NitroX ... this is all great stuff. Thanks for doing some of the work for me!

Also I may be Alex Henry’s great great grandson, surname Brown (thanks to Henry’s foreman Alex Brown marrying Henry’s eldest daughter Eliza), but as far as I know I’m not related to John Brown !!

--------------------
Alexander Henry's great great grandson
Collaborator on book Alexander Henry Rifle Maker by Donald Dallas


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RichB
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Reged: 01/07/17
Posts: 66
Loc: Edinburgh
Re: A historic weapon goes on show for first time [Re: NitroX]
      #328331 - 13/05/19 08:44 PM

Thanks

--------------------
Alexander Henry's great great grandson
Collaborator on book Alexander Henry Rifle Maker by Donald Dallas


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RichB
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Reged: 01/07/17
Posts: 66
Loc: Edinburgh
Re: A historic weapon goes on show for first time [Re: Ripp]
      #328333 - 13/05/19 10:26 PM

My one in "Double Rifles" was up the day before … "not that it matters" !!

--------------------
Alexander Henry's great great grandson
Collaborator on book Alexander Henry Rifle Maker by Donald Dallas


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NitroXAdministrator
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Reged: 25/12/02
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Re: A historic weapon goes on show for first time [Re: RichB]
      #328338 - 13/05/19 11:47 PM

Quote:

My one in "Double Rifles" was up the day before … "not that it matters" !!




Yeah apologies for that. I would have combined them if I could. And yours WAS first ...

--------------------
John aka NitroX

...
"I love the smell of cordite in the morning."
"A Sharp spear needs no polish"


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RichB
.275 member


Reged: 01/07/17
Posts: 66
Loc: Edinburgh
Re: A historic weapon goes on show for first time [Re: NitroX]
      #328342 - 14/05/19 12:38 AM

Hard to know which sub-section it should be in anyway!

--------------------
Alexander Henry's great great grandson
Collaborator on book Alexander Henry Rifle Maker by Donald Dallas


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RichB
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Reged: 01/07/17
Posts: 66
Loc: Edinburgh
Re: A historic weapon goes on show for first time [Re: RichB]
      #329689 - 27/06/19 06:27 PM

The Wild and Majestic exhibition opened yesterday, at the National Museum of Scotland.

Here is how the Henry double looks :

https://hosting.photobucket.com/images/z...5-original.jpg?

Edited by RichB (27/06/19 06:33 PM)


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