A VERY RARE 60 BORE SEVEN-BARRELLED FLINTLOCK VOLLEY GUN BY HENRY NOCK, LONDON, GUNMAKER TO HIS MAJESTY, CIRCA 1791-3
Browned twist barrels arranged as six around a central seventh, signed in full on the rib and rifled with seven grooves, fitted with silver fore-sight, engraved breech decorated with foliage and with gold-lined vent, engraved case-hardened breech block variously numbered on the face 2917 and 103, engraved tang decorated with foliage inhabited by waterfowl and incorporating a folding back-sight of two leaves set at right angles, stepped bevelled lock signed within a gold-lined oval, fitted with bolt safety-catch, gold-lined pan, and roller, figured walnut half-stock (the underside expertly repaired diagonally from the beneath the lock to the rear ramrod-pipe), chequered grip, engraved blued iron mounts comprising trigger-guard decorated with a hound putting up a brace of birds on the bow and with pineapple finial, butt-plate with a further vignette, rear ramrod-pipe en suite with the trigger-guard, a further browned ramrod-pipE, and brass-tipped ramrod 51.5 cm; 20 in barrels, overall length 92.5cm.
A similar rifle by this maker made for H.R.H. the Prince of Wales in April 1793 is in the Royal Collection at Windsor. Colonel Thomas Thornton, perhaps the most flamboyant sportsman and falconer of the 18th century, author of A Sporting Tour through the Northern Parts of England and A Sporting Tour through France was a notable exponent of Nocks goose rifles. For an account of Nocks seven barrelled naval and also sporting guns see Blackmore 1955, pp. 165-182 The engraving on the mounts is probably by the master engraver William Palmer (1737-1812). His accounts for the years 1791, 1792 and 1793 record 3, 9, and 7 volley guns respectively, decorated by him. See Clancy & Griffin (privately published), p. 18.
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