Join Date: Dec 2004
it could be an old goat indeed.
Besides the goats foot, i like the atypical stock and love that frizzen spring 'shield', which must have been the pride of its original owner.[/QUOTE]
I recently got my copy of Daehnhardt/Gaier ESPINGARDARIA PORTUGUESA and have been studying the examples of pé-de-cabra locks in the exhibit. The three pistols are all dated to the first quarter of the 19th cent., and the locks have features true-to-form for that era. For instance, the two in plate 11 (p 45) have French-style lockplates; the one in plate 14 (p 51) has a more conservative fecho de molinhas style plate BUT the cock's jaws are at a right angle to the stem which is a late fashion (you see it on later Spanish and Neapolitan miquelet cocks as well). NONE OF THESE LOCKS HAVE FRIZZEN-SPRING SHIELDS LIKE ON THIS BLUNDERBUSS.
The patilha lock on Dom João's hunting gun , plate 2, p 27 has a shield with ornamental curlicue extensions from its lower edge, with a repeated motif on the cock bridle as well. These curlicues are also seen on 17th cent. Spanish patilla locks (see J D Lavin. A HISTORY OF SPANISH FIREARMS, 1965, fig. 22), and survived in vestigial form on provincial locks into the following century (Lavin, plate 81). The shapes on the frizzen shield of your friend's gun appear to me as an especially flamboyant, perhaps provincial, interpretation of this aesthetic. As though a Portuguese gunsmith, familiar with Spanish prototypes, decided to dial up the degree of ornamentation and do one better!
A lot of features of the rest of the gun point to perhaps end 18th cent and later, but the style of the lock, plus the amount of wear and pitting, suggest that it is an older mechanism re-used. I agree that the stock is unusual, but the lock may exceed it in significance and age. Even more reason to try every means to pry it out of your friend's paws.
If money means nothing to him, surely in your collection there must be a piece that he will fall in love with and be willing to swap for.