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Old 27th June 2019, 02:24 PM   #1
corrado26
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Default Queen Anne Pistol by John Harman, London

Some time ago I could afford a further Queen-Anne pistol made by John HARMAN of London. A very nice piece in good condition with the silver hallmarks of London and of the silversmith "JS" of James Shruder on the but cap. For me, this type of flintlock pistols is most attractive and desirable and represents particularly the taste in weapons manufacture during the 18th century.
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Old 27th June 2019, 03:50 PM   #2
fernando
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Very, very nice indeed. An added value, proof marks, hallmarks, silver smith marks and all .
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Old 28th June 2019, 01:00 AM   #3
Jim McDougall
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This is indeed a magnificent pistol, and for me these 'Queen Anne' pistols have always recalled Blackbeard, and the 'Golden Age' of piracy. They are believed to have begun in England during the reign of Queen Anne (r. 1702-1707) but of course there may be more to it, also the term remained loosely applied to these type of pistols long into the 18th c.

Blackbeard, in the popularized illustrations, seems to typically be wearing several braces of what appear to be these 'Queen Anne' type pistols, but I have not found much in detail that substantiates that romanticized notion. It is presumed of course that obviously, with single shot pistols, and that these had to be dismantled (usually with 'turn off' barrels screwed off), that one in his 'line of work' would need multiple shot capacity, thus the number of them.

What is hard to imagine is that he somehow obtained not one pair (brace) of them, but up to three, and all seemingly matched. In paintings of his 'final action' vs. Lt. Maynard in 1718 off Ocracoke, N.C. he is shown with these pistols in place on his belts, while he fights with his sword. Why would these remain attached unfired? but that is artistic license.

Pirates of course used sundry weapons obtained through all manner of acquisition, and any sort of matching or 'typical' weaponry is mostly unlikely if not simply assumed or imagined.

Still, I would like to consider if this weapon, by a London maker might have been in use in the time of Blackbeard. While we know it is 'of the type' , and these were produced well into the 18th c., often even using earlier preferred styles, sometimes amalgamated with later, such as 'rococo' decoration ...it is interesting to try to consider.

John Harman (1693-1760) was apparently apprentice to Henry Antonison with James Freeman, and was 'turned over' to James Shaw in 1707. It is noted (Burgoyne, 2002, p.29-30) that he was 'free' of the gunmakers co. in 1714.
He worked at the 'Cross Guns over against Norfolk Street in the Strand' from 1718-45, and was gunmaker to Frederick, Prince of Wales from 1729.

As this pistol has the crowned proof and viewers marks (P and V) we would presume the gun was made prior to 1714, if by being 'free' on the Gunmakers Co. (of London) in 1714 means he was no longer 'under their jurisdiction'.
However the grotesque face (or pugnosed) was apparently first used by Turvey (London) c. 1720.
Silversmiths of course produced these elements privately, so it may be possible that James Shuder had begun using that form earlier, but that seems unlikely unless it is simply that Turvey was a more profoundly known maker than Harman.

While not being familiar with the mechanics and nomenclature of these pistols, I thought these historical notes might be of interest to readers and further research.

I took information from " The Queen Anne Pistol 1660-1780"
John W. Burgoyne, 2002, pp.29-30,
Recommended reading also:
"John Harman c. 1693-1760, London Gunmaker"
Howard L. Blackmore & DeWitt Bailey
in '18th Park Lane, London Arms Fair'
pp.31-36, Spring 2001
This was completed by Mr. Bailey when Mr. Blackmore unfortunately passed away in Nov. 1999.

The images are all Blackbeard except the far ight, which is Anne Bonney
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Old 28th June 2019, 06:26 PM   #4
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Default The Blackbeard Image and Queen Anne pistols

Just thinking more on the depictions of Blackbeard, and the appearance of usually six pistols worn in some sort of bandolier(s) somewhat consistently. It would seem that these pistols may represent 'Queen Anne's ' by the butt shape and plates. In my previous post I wondered if perhaps the pistol of the OP may be of the period including Blackbeard (d. 1718) or if perhaps artistic license is at hand.

The beginning source for 'Blackbeard' would best be construed as by the mysterious Capt. Charles Johnson's "General History of the Pyrates" (1724).
Apparently he took accounts from various persons, including Israel Hands, the mate in Blackbeards crew.
According to an account by Henry Bostock (Capt. of the ship 'Margaret' captured by Blackbeard) given Dec. 19, 1717:
"...he was dressed in a long sea captain coat, crossed by two belts-a sword belt and a bandlolier-while three brace of pistols hung from improvised holsters over his chest. He wore a small brown fur cap* with two small lengths of match poked out behind each ear"

*this was probably what was known as a 'thrummed cap', worn by sailors in cold weather...but as he was in Caribbean, odd. In first version of Johnson's book the cap is shown, but later changed to a tricorn hat.

The tricorn hat seems more in line with the fashions of c.1720s, and I am thinking perhaps that the following illustrations of Blackbeard, following the style context with the hat. might follow the pistols as well.

It is known that other pirates wore pistols in similar fashion, but it seems they often used ribbon tied around the handles as with the case of 'Black Sam Bellamy' (note the 'Black' appellation, cf. 'Blackbeard') . He and Blackbeard were both in the crew of Benjamin Hornigold c. 1716.
In Feb. 1717 he became captain of the captured English slaver "Whydah".
In an account on Bellamy, it was said he always wore black coats (hence 'Black' Sam) and had four 'dueling pistols' in his sash.

The Whydah wrecked in April 1717 off Cape Cod, and in 2004 wreck was found. One of the relics was a 'Sun King' pistol, which still had silk ribbon tied around it, as it was known some pirates did, and draped them around their necks. It would seem unlikely that four full size pistols (of the probable French cavalry size c. 1710 =sun king?) would carry well in his sash, so perhaps two on a ribbon?

Regarding the ribbon on guns:

From "X Marks the Spot" Skowronek & Ewen, 2006, "...one of the most intriguing finds is a French made pistol with a silk ribbon wrapped around its handle. According to a first hand account from the compiled "The Pirates Own Book" (Charles Ellms, 1837), Bartholomew Roberts once appeared in battle wearing two pair of pistols hanging at the end of a silk flung over his shoulders, according to the custom of the pirates" .

Apparently Roberts was actually John Roberts, who took the name Bartholomew when he 'went on account' (entered piracy in 1719)...then became known as 'Black Bart'...………...hmmmm….another dark moniker.

The reason for this 'voyage' is I am wondering why the 'Queen Anne' pistols seem so consistently aligned with Blackbeard. It does appear that various pirates, also acquainted with him in degree, also carried braces of pistols, but of more regular size (if I dare make such an assumption).
Even more boldly, might I consider the occasional proposal that Blackbeard, Teach, or whatever his name was, was a Jacobite...………..hence perhaps the name of his flagship...….'Queen Anne's Revenge' ??

Perhaps the 'artistic license' evident in altering the cap, to a tricorn hat, in later illustrations of Johnson's book, may have included such a subtle nuanced symbolism?

Fully expecting a 'broadside' here at this most tenuous notion, it is still intriguing given the mystery and romance of the history of pirates, even authors of their accounts, and very much of these wonderful pistols.


The pictures :
Johnson's "General History of the Pyrates" (1724)
2) the first ed. (left) showing the thrummed cap
the 2nd with tricorn
3) The Dutch edition of 1725 showing thrummed cap
4) the French pistol from Whydah and silk ribbon
5) the silk ribbon-Whydah artifact (1717)
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Last edited by Jim McDougall : 28th June 2019 at 06:38 PM.
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Old 29th June 2019, 07:18 AM   #5
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Jim, I think you have done an amazing job of noting the characteristics of Blackbeard as noted by his peers and other contemporary accounts. Your sheer amount of knowledge on the subject and keen interest is exceptional. The arguments you put forward are the same ones many scholars argue over to this day and I don't know if we will ever have a clear answer. it would seem from all accounts that Teach did indeed carry a brace of pistols. Why would't he? In an era where you only got one shot per pistol, it wasn't an uncommon practice. That the pistols were "Queen Anne" types is still a reasonable (but perhaps not provable, without more facts being presented over time) suggestion. Sea captains did take the screw-off barrel pistols to sea, often carrying them in their 'great pockets' as protection when going to shore. As you mention, it has been theorized that Blackbeard might very well have been a Jacobite and a 'fan' of Queen Anne, thus naming his ship (his choice, BTW) the Queen Anne's Revenge. So...if he liked the queen, named his ship after her, why not carry the pistol type also named in her honor? They were very popular and their screw barrels were supposedly an improvement or at least faster to load than other types of the era.

As far as your mention of possible Jacobite symbolism in his dress, who knows! I know you're read Kevin Duffus' fine treatise on the pirate and saw all of the varied theories, possibilities and hypothesis of everything from his real name, place of origin and why he did the things he did (spoilers- lighting his beard on fire to detract mosquitoes, real last name perhaps actually being 'Beard', possibly being of African heritage, etc). In any case, a fascinating character who lived right in Bath, NC not far from my home!!

Corrado, you are a very lucky man to possess such a fine armament!!
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Old 29th June 2019, 09:34 AM   #6
corrado26
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Many, many thanks for these really very interesting posts with lots of details that have been unknown to me until today. For your pleasure find two pictures of modern drawings/paintings of Captain Blackbeard. And for thos who would like to see more than one Queen Anne pistol I attached another foto.
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