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Old 7th May 2019, 09:11 PM   #1
dana_w
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Default Fancy French Blunderbuss, c1750

I have speculated that blunderbusses like this were likely carried by an attendant to one of the gilded coaches that you can see at Museu Nacional dos Coches the National Coach Museum in Lisbon, Portugal. I am looking for period art that shows a blunderbuss with a fancy French coach. Most of the images I've found are more pedestrian, like English Mail coaches.

I would also like to find any additional information I can about the maker.

Fancy French Blunderbuss, c1750

This fancy French blunderbuss was made by Louis Lamotte in St. Etienne France, circa 1750. St. Etienne has been well known for arms making since the 16th century. It was even briefly named Armeville (Arms Town) during the French Revolution (1789–1799). The Lamotte family made luxury firearms in the area during most of the 18th and 19th century.

A blunderbuss could be considered to be an early form of a shotgun. This one is obviously a luxury item with silver and gold decorations is high relief. The decorations include flags, drums, cannons, cannon balls and other “trophies of war”, along with floral decoration, wreaths, scrolls, fruits, and horns of plenty.

Right now I am looking for more information on Louis Lamotte and his family. Volume I of “Le Qui est qui de l'arme en France de 1350 a 1970” (The Who's Who of the weapon in France from 1350 to 1970), on page 241 list “Lamotte Louis - Arquebusier a Saint-Etienne (Loire) en 1740-1760”. According to "Der Neue Stockel" (vol. 1, pg. 677) “Jean Louis Lamotte worked in St. Etienne, France 1747-1791, was the son of Joseph Lamotte and was known for his hunting weapons.”



Images (C) 2019 by Dana K. Williams, all rights reserved
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Old 7th May 2019, 09:45 PM   #2
Battara
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Nice complete piece. I especially love the gold work on the barrel.

Since this is European, I will move this to the European side where you can get more help.
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Old 7th May 2019, 09:59 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Battara
Nice complete piece. I especially love the gold work on the barrel.

Since this is European, I will move this to the European side where you can get more help.


Thanks Battara. I'll try to post in the right forum in the future.
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Old 8th May 2019, 11:06 AM   #4
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You may chose between magnificent and superb, Dana !
I wouldn't mind having one of these instead of a handful of my blunderbusses.
Can you show us a close up of the frizzen face ... must be something amazing.
I wouldn't know if Jean-Louis was 'only' famous for his hunting weapons but, as publicized in the label you posted, Louis was able to "produce and sell a wide variety of weapons, from edged to firearms, including tromblons (blunderbusses); gold and silver mounted, as also in polished steel, as per English taste".
You know that these top luxury weapons didn't have to see field use, as they were mainly made to embellish the houses of rich customers. In a period when 'signs of wealth' were shown by having several (oil) paintings hanging in walls, these high end guns served the same purpose. Still today the term we use for closet, 'armoire' in French and 'armario' in Portuguese, derives from the term 'arms', which originally was where arms were hanging, those luxurious ones being well at sight, right as you entered wealthy residences. As said, not necessarily for use but, for exhibition.
Also to note some confusion out there with Louis having lived between 1747-1791, whereas that was the living dates of Jean-Louis.
https://gw.geneanet.org/pierfit?lan...georges&pz=jean.

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Old 8th May 2019, 11:19 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
You may chose between magnificent and superb, Dana !
I wouldn't mind having one of these instead of a handful of my blunderbusses. Can you show us a close up of the frizzen face ... must be something amazing.


I took a shot of that yesterday and will post it soon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
I wouldn't know if Jean-Louis was 'only' famous for his hunting weapons but, as publicized in the label you posted, Louis was able to "produce and sell a wide variety of weapons, from edged to firearms, including tromblons (blunderbusses); gold and silver mounted, as also in polished steel, as per English taste".
You know that these top luxury weapons didn't have to see field use, as they were mainly made to embellish the houses of rich customers. In a period when 'signs of wealth' were shown by having several (oil) paintings hanging in walls, these high end guns served the same purpose. Still today the term we use for closet, 'armoire' in French and 'armario' in Portuguese, derives from the term 'arms', which originally was where arms were hanging, those luxurious ones being well at sight, right as you entered wealthy residences. As said, not necessarily for use but, for exhibition..


Unlike many fancy weapons that I've handled this one shows some signs it was carried and used.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
Also to note some confusion out there with Louis having lived between 1747-1791, whereas that was the living dates of Jean-Louis..
Thanks for the info.
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Old 8th May 2019, 02:16 PM   #6
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Here you go Fernando, a magnificent & superb frizzen.
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Old 8th May 2019, 02:31 PM   #7
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Excellent, Dana !
Speaking of outstanding frizzens, i have once seen (and handled) a beautiful musket in the collection of a well known personality, in which the frizzen had the face of Voltaire, so that its owner, who hated him, could shoot his face at will.
... Believe it or not, that's what i was told.
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Old 8th May 2019, 02:52 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
Excellent, Dana !
Speaking of outstanding frizzens, i have once seen (and handled) a beautiful musket in the collection of a well known personality, in which the frizzen had the face of Voltaire, so that its owner, who hated him, could shoot his face at will.
... Believe it or not, that's what i was told.


I believe it. Wish this piece was marked with the owner's name.
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Old 8th May 2019, 03:32 PM   #9
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Still if you dismount the barrel, you may find other marks.
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Old 8th May 2019, 05:54 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
Still if you dismount the barrel, you may find other marks.


I'm not ready to "dismount the barrel" but I doubt the owner information would be found there anyway. The maker's name can also be found engraved forward of the trigger guard. Note the wear that supports the likely hood that this weapon was more than a wall hanger.
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Old 8th May 2019, 08:37 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dana_w
I'm not ready to "dismount the barrel" but I doubt the owner information would be found there anyway...

I meant 'other' marks, not that of the one who signs the gun work. One other i know signed by Louis Lamotte has under the barrel 'Jean Merley St. Etienne', the actual barrel maker.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dana_w
...The maker's name can also be found engraved forward of the trigger guard. Note the wear that supports the likely hood that this weapon was more than a wall hanger.

Mind you Dana, i am not (at all) trying to demote your perfectly operational blunderbuss to a 'wall hanger' status; only suggesting that you don't go out on a daily basis with such luxurious piece; like the coaches you see at the Lisbon National Museum . Certainly the owners of these fine pieces had more mundane versions for current occasions ... says i .

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Old 9th May 2019, 12:14 AM   #12
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Oh my ... ! How about STUPENDOUS!
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Old 9th May 2019, 12:25 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaleH
Oh my ... ! How about STUPENDOUS!


Thanks for the additional adjective suggestion DaleH.
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Old 9th May 2019, 11:21 AM   #14
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As you keep digging, you find that the Lamotte were a numerous family of Stephanois (Saint Etienne natives) gunmakers, active from end XVII to mid XIX centuries;Joseph Lamotte having being of the first in the line (1716-1807).
By the way Dana, how is your French ? Perhaps if you contact the FRENCH MUSEUM OF ART AND INDUSTRY they may be able to pass you precise information on the very Louis Lammote. They seem to be A VIABLE SOURCE.


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Old 9th May 2019, 11:48 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
As you keep digging, you find that the Lamotte were a numerous family of Stephanois (Saint Etienne natives) gunmakers, active from end XVII to mid XIX centuries;Joseph Lammote having being of the first in the line (1716-1807).
By the way Dana, how is your French ? Perhaps if you contact the FRENCH MUSEUM OF ART AND INDUSTRY they may be able to pass you precise information on the very Louis Lamotte. They seem to be A VIABLE SOURCE.


Thanks for the info and suggestion. Unfortunately, I only speak English. But I do have a few French friends.

-

Last edited by fernando : 9th May 2019 at 01:08 PM. Reason: name spell
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Old 9th May 2019, 12:51 PM   #16
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By the way, the correct name is Lamotte and not Lammote
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Old 9th May 2019, 01:07 PM   #17
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You are right, Udo
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Old 15th May 2019, 01:15 PM   #18
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Hi Dana: As is occasionally mentioned: "I don't think it gets any better than this" !!! Absolutely wonderful piece. Congratulations.

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Old 15th May 2019, 01:26 PM   #19
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Default ustrian Cuirassier TRombone 1759/81

In order to add a not so decorated but at least as effectiv trombone I show you the Austrian cuirassier trombone M 1759/81 In each regiment of cuirassiers only 12 men used to have such a gun. A look in its impressive and most threatening muzzle might have had along lasting effect.
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Old 29th May 2019, 06:12 PM   #20
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Hi Corrado

That second piece is a very nice trombone military example, and appears in great condition. I believe the barrels are sometimes referred to as elliptical.
You seldom see these barrels today. My guess is there was no real ballistic advantage of the oval versus the round bell muzzle (?) This one is probably the best specimen I've seen.
Another interesting side note is the dog-style, external safety. The Austrians - and especially Dutch - military continued this safety feature long after the rest of Europe discontinued it's use. So it's not surprising to see it on this gun.

Again, great piece.

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