Original Scottish 18th Century Flintlock Brass Barrel Blunderbuss Pistol - by Segallas of London with Document
Original Item: One-of-a-Kind. Acquired from the Strakaty Collection of Vienna, Austria.
This is a fine brass blunderbuss barreled pistol by the maker Israel Segallas, who worked 1714-1773. He is the son of Israel Segalas who worked 1702-1763 and said to be Huguenots who were French Protestants that fled from France after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685.
This pistol is clearly marked in script SEGALLAS of LONDON so we may assume it is the son's work. This is most attractively made and decorated with engraved brass mounts and a very pleasing swamped brass barrel 7.5 inches in length. Overall weapon length is just over 14 inches.
Barrel shows London proof marks and Maker's Mark I.S. the pistol comes with a brass tipped ramrod that might be a period replacement.
The underside of the brass trigger guard is of the French early 18th century style and bears a faint engraving that reads-
This is the only this item we received marked "Alex Leith of Belchirie" presumably another family estate and we have found one document between George Leith of Freefold and Alex Leith of Belchirie to accompany it.
This pistol has an interesting history: Until 1963 this resided in the 'armory' at Leith Hall in Scotland, said to be the most haunted house in Great Britain. The Leith family can be traced back almost to medieval times and apparently were very supportive of Bonnie Price Charlie's Rebels and sheltered several after the Battle of Culloden in 1746. Many of the weapons in the armory were claimed to have been used in the '45 Uprising' and at that final Battle on April 16th.1746.
In 1963 the last remaining family member died but before hand she had had all the weapons removed by the family attorneys for safekeeping and upon her death willed the estate (without, in her view, those unwelcome arms) to the National Trust who have maintained the Leith Hall for public viewing until around 2006 when it was finally closed due to government cutbacks.
After Lady Leith's demise the Attorneys sold the weapons and a quantity of the old family documents to an English Dealer named Herbert Sutcliffe who in turn sold several pieces to a collector named George Strakaty of Vienna, Austria. Stakaty was a born Czech and actually was in the modern arms trade and worked for the Czech Government Arms Company of Omnipol in Prague. Strakaty's role was as an International salesman taking him all over the third world. However, Strakaty was a total Anglophile and every time he visited London would buy only British antique weapons.
Christian first met George Strakaty, at Omnipol, in 1971 and over the years they became close friends he leading Christian to many Government arms stashes he had discovered. As time passed George?s collection became quite extensive. In the late 1980s Strakaty, by then well past his prime, retired to Las Palmas in the Canary Islands together with his wife Ruth. Before doing so however he announced to Christian that he wanted him to buy the entire collection, it was a major undertaking and it took almost five years to pay off the debt.
Only in the last three or four years, now that, as Christian puts it "is truly on the home stretch himself", has he reluctantly been letting go of some of the Strakaty collection.
Lots of research potential here for a genuine very fine early 18th century pistol by a well-known maker, displayed at a Scottish Castle until 1963.
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