About this artwork
Under Catherine the Great of Russia the arms center of Tula produced many luxury firearms after the Western European style for use at court and as diplomatic gifts. This fowling piece was part of a set of hunting weapons given by the empress to the French ambassador Louis Charles Auguste le Tonnelier, Baron de Breteuil, in 1763, commemorated on the gilt face of the lock plate. The earlier date of 1745, engraved under the front spring on the lock, shows that the gun was older at the time it was given and perhaps redecorated. The barrel is a remarkable tour de force of a technique, called goldschmelz in German, whereby the barrel was acid etched with a pattern, filled in with gold, and then polished and blued to create a brilliant contrast.
- Ilya Salishchev
- Flintlock Fowling Piece Given by the Empress Catherine II of Russia to the French Ambassador
- Central Asia (Object made in)
- Steel, gilding, silver, walnut, and horn
- L. 150 cm (59 in.) Barrel L. 110.8 cm (43 5/8 in.) Wt. 7 lb. 7 oz. Caliber .60
- George F. Harding Collection