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Old 25th April 2019, 05:21 AM   #1
Oliver Pinchot
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Default Spanish Maker

I saw an interesting Catalan musket which I wasn't able to photograph.

It had typically numerous marks at the breech; starting at the top:

-a cross set on an inverted V

-a fleur de lis

-a crowned maker's name inscribed:

GRE.
DAR
GAM
ANO

-a rampant lion facing left, flanked by 2 additional fleurs de lis.

All had been inlaid with gold originally, most of it was gone.

I don't have acces to my library at the moment. Can anyone identify this maker?
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Old 26th April 2019, 01:09 AM   #2
Fernando K
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Hello

Without an image, it is not possible to give an opinion. I remember that GRE. it is abbreviated So the appelled would be DARGAMANO. I think it's Italian It's just an opinion
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Old 26th April 2019, 09:24 AM   #3
fernando
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Red face Guessing ...

I don't know, Fernando; the way the letters are positioned, the escutcheon with the lion and all, are more the Spanish type.
The GRE. could stand for Gregorio; the other letters may not be the exact ones, as they sound somehow awkward for someone's name, whatever he is ... even possibly not a so famous one .
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Old 27th April 2019, 01:31 AM   #4
Jim McDougall
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Oliver,
As you know I am not real up to speed on firearms, but I did go to what general resources I have. In 'Gyngell' p.106 is this illustration of a marking configuration which seems to correspond to what you describe.

It does not have the rampant lion, and of course the 'stacked' in three name abbreviation does not match, but checking in Gardner ("Small Arms Makers", p.325, URQUIOLA is listed 1680-1714 in Madrid; then again in Madrid 1815-31.

While the makers name does not match, and the rampant lion is absent, I thought perhaps this marking convention might indicate at least possible Madrid manufacture. While Spanish type markings, the 'ANO' suffix does sound Italian. Not impossible that an Italian gunsmith might be there and use similar marking techniques. The absence of the lion may suggest subordinate to makers with royal contract ? or some such administrative situation .
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Old 27th April 2019, 01:55 AM   #5
Oliver Pinchot
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Thank you, Jim. That's precisely the design.
Just looking for that maker.
If the owner consents to allow me pics of the
piece, I will certainly post them.
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Old 27th April 2019, 04:05 AM   #6
Jim McDougall
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oliver Pinchot
Thank you, Jim. That's precisely the design.
Just looking for that maker.
If the owner consents to allow me pics of the
piece, I will certainly post them.


I don't have Lavin, or other gun books, but maybe search into Madrid makers might be good. Hope somebody out there might have such resources.
Pics would be great!
Meanwhile I always keep looking where I can .
All the best Oliver!
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Old 27th April 2019, 11:31 AM   #7
fernando
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It is a surprise that Oliver doesn't have Gavin's book.
I would not need to emphasize that, the three row letters group in a shield, is by far the marking system used by the then Spanish gunsmiths. They even used different schemes to initialize their names to comply (aesthetically) with such method.
The (rampart) lion comes next ... and the Latin cross right after.
Going through the sources (Lavin, Armeria), only one GRE. (gorio López) shows up.
But while Lavin admits that he lists in his work 110 smiths, he reminds that Støckel doubles that, although in may cases unable to indicate either the place or the smith's activity period.
An Italian smith using the Spanish marking type ? possible ... but, i have it for me that, this could be a less publicized Spanish smith; considering the accuracy of the initials memorized by Oliver. An image of the actual mark will be a nuclear factor.
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Old 27th April 2019, 05:20 PM   #8
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I was visiting a client who was unwilling to have the musket photographed.
He has since sent these pics.
I've checked my library, but am unable to find this maker.
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Old 27th April 2019, 08:18 PM   #9
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It really takes eagle eyes to discern the contents of such damaged lettering; i confess i couldn't do it myself.The GRº for Gregorio seems consistent; the rest, i wouldn't know. It still could be the name of a Spaniard; Arcano, Marcano.
I wonder what Fernando K has to say about this mark.
A (hunting) escopeta ... Africanized ?
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Old 27th April 2019, 08:28 PM   #10
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The owner insisted it was French, that he had bought it in France,
and that it had been there for "many generations." The inlays in the stock are bone and mother of pearl.
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Old 28th April 2019, 12:25 AM   #11
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Hello

Impossible to decipher something- I must say that the first thing is the name GREGORIO but from the rest I can not say anything, I think it's Italian: maybe, built in a Spanish possession, like Corcega, with imitation of the Spanish punches It catches my attention the incrustation in the butt, when in the Spanish arms it was not habitual. It is not a musquet, but a hunting weapon (shothgun)

affectionately
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Old 28th April 2019, 04:49 PM   #12
Oliver Pinchot
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Thanks, I should have said escopeta rather than musket.
The mother of pearl pieces look like gambling chips. I didn't
have the opportunity to study it for long as I was working.
I did notice that the mounts are both silver and steel, very
well inletted and engraved. There is no maker which even
approximates this name in Lavin. I must say, however, that
it was a pleasure to read him again. Very good piece of arms
history writing.

Looking again at the photo of the mark just now, it looks more like

GRE.
DAR
GUD
ANO


Whether the name itself is Spanish, all of the marks, including the lion countermark, point to Spain, do they not?

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Old 29th April 2019, 06:03 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando

But while Lavin admits that he lists in his work 110 smiths, he reminds that Støckel doubles that, although in may cases unable to indicate either the place or the smith's activity period.
An Italian smith using the Spanish marking type ? possible ... but, i have it for me that, this could be a less publicized Spanish smith; .


Fernando, you raise some interesting points for discussion.

A. The photo of the maker's punzón is quite clear as to the lettering except for some defacement on the penultimate line. Taking DAR ... ANO and checking the listing in Stöckel reveals no such combination, no matter what letters may fall in between. As you suggest, it may reflect the name of an obscure maker. And it may be that there's more work to be done in documenting all those Iberian gunsmiths whose names have not appeared in the published references to date. As a small example, over a year ago I purchased a very fine Eibar-made shotgun, ca 1790s, signed on lock and marked on barrel by a maker with a very unusual surname - Murúa. No mention of him in Lavin, Neal, or Stöckel. At first I even doubted it was Spanish, and only after checking the US Census Dept's list of Spanish surnames was able to verify that indeed it was.

Furthermore, there is no requirement that we take the 3-letter combinations in Oliver's photo at face value. If you would re-read Lavin pp 214-215 he explains that these can be quite cryptic, including abbreviations, using non-standard spellings, or even incorporating place names.

B. I do believe that although the identity of the maker is a mystery at this moment, I can recognize certain stylistic elements that point to this shotgun originating in the Eibar area (foothills of the western Pyrenees adjacent to the Bay of Biscay, where Spain's sporting arms industry is centered even today). The boot-shaped "Catalan"style buttstock was popular here, as was a half stock barrel mounting with a single capucine on the abbreviated forestock. Also, the cock jaws on locks made in this region are long and slender, a conservative feature harking back to the 17th century but remaining in vogue through the end of the 18th. This basic format (albeit minus the rather garish stock inlays) can be seen on an Eibar fowling piece of restrained elegance but of the highest quality in the Metropolitan Museum of Art acc. no. 16.135, bearing the marks of Antonio Guisasola (barrel) and Juan Navarro (lock). The Murúa shotgun in my collection shares the same design.

C. The Spanish format of barrel breech markings was used in Italy - specifically Naples, which is not unexpected considering that this city was the seat of Spanish rule over the southern half of Italy which lasted for centuries. The familiar features that we associate with Spanish markings: the cross upon the arched base, the fleurs-de-lys, punzones and heraldic seals, are present.
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Old 29th April 2019, 01:18 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip
... If you would re-read Lavin pp 214-215 he explains that these can be quite cryptic, including abbreviations, using non-standard spellings, or even incorporating place names...

As i have tried to put in post #7 ... perhaps in an insufficient manner ...
Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
... I would not need to emphasize that, the three row letters group in a shield, is by far the marking system used by the then Spanish gunsmiths. They even used different schemes to initialize their names to comply (aesthetically) with such method...
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Old 29th April 2019, 10:36 PM   #15
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Wonderful insights here!!
If I may, with these characteristics of the punzone grouping, the apparent absence of this makers name in Spanish records, and what appears an Italian suffix in the name.....is it possible this is a provincial piece?

If this format of marking was also used in Naples, a province of Spain, could this maker have fashioned this gun with the influence of the Catalan style which must have been somewhat known there? Certainly such an apparently quality piece might have been commissioned requesting that character.

While we know the fluer de lis was not exclusively French, but with the Bourbon denominator known in Spain and Italy of course, what of the rampant lion?
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Old 30th April 2019, 03:11 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
Wonderful insights here!!


If this format of marking was also used in Naples, a province of Spain, could this maker have fashioned this gun with the influence of the Catalan style which must have been somewhat known there?



Jim,
Should I assume that by "Catalan style" you are referring to the shape of the buttstock? If so, here are my thoughts.

A problem with linking Neapolitan origin and Catalan stock shape is that the vast preponderance of surviving Neapolitan shoulder weapons are stocked in the so-called Madrid style, with its fluted butt. The boot-shaped Catalan buttstock is very seldom encountered in Naples or anywhere else in southern Italy. I did see a rare exception, a miquelet blunderbuss in rough shape, at a recent Las Vegas arms show, and a very rustic example is in the Royal Armouries (# XII-1096, published in Blackmore, Guns and Rifles of the World fig. 253). I have a third example, a fine custom-built carbine incorporating a damascus-twist Austrian barrel, whose stock is "Catalan-ish", clearly influenced by but not a n absolutely faithful imitation of the style.

Boccia / Coelho, Armi da Fuoco Italiane and Marcello Terenzi, L'Arte di Michele Battista contain a number of very good toi superlative Neapolitan sporting guns, and all have Madrid stocks. This is corroborated by my experience of seeing and handling dozens of these at auction in Europe.

Another issue involves the stylistic flourishes on the lock of the shotgun under consideration (which I have covered in my prior thread) -- they are more indicative of Eibar than either Ripoll or Naples.

Oddly enough (and at risk of wandering a bit off the focus of this thread), Neapolitan gunmakers did occasionally take a nod to the Catalan tradition in the realm of PISTOLS. The iconic Ripoll ball-butt pistol with its folksy pierced-metal stock overlays was produced in some quantity in Naples. Take a look at figs.82-84 in W K Neal's Spanish Guns and Pistols. Here is a gun which looks for all the world like it was born in Ripoll except for -- markings of the Armeria Reale di Napoli on the barrel, and a lock with the typical Neapolitan C-shaped cock neck (as opposed to the typical columnar or baluster-shaped neck on Ripoll-made products.
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Old 1st May 2019, 02:55 AM   #17
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Philip, thank you so much for such a detailed and highly informative explanation! Clearly these arms are WAY out of my field, but I have found this so interesting. It is extremely hard to understand these nuances of style as they permeate other regions, and it takes expertise such as you have shared here to know what to look for.

My main objective was to isolate a potential area where the makers name might by found, and the Italian suffix (I presumed) in the name in the tiered lines in a Spanish context was the reason for the suggestion.
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