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SN 41159. Cal. 12 ga. 2-3/4″ Chambers. This fine gun with a unique engraving treatment was commissioned by Holland & Holland in the early 1990’s utilizing the extraordinary talents of Rashid El Hadi, self taught engraver, born in the Sudan, who originally worked for John Wilkes and went freelance in 1985. Some of Rash’s other customers included Purdey, Rigby, and Peter Chapman. After finishing “The Swan Gun” he went on to work for Westley Richards for a number of years, doing many of their best high art guns. They parted company in 2012. “The Swan Gun” has 28″ chopper lump bbls with “Holland & Holland” inside gold wire rectangle on narrow swamped game rib. Bbl flats are stamped with 1991 London nitro proofs for 2-3/4″ chambers, and bbls are fitted with H&H patented self-opening assist spring. Pinless sidelock “Royal” action features automatic safety, raised rib tumbler end cocking indicators, and dbl triggers. This gun exhibits the expected high quality of a Holland “Royal” throughout, but its most spectacular attribute is the overwhelming impact of the superb high relief engraving with multi-colored gold inlaid accents. The theme taken from the style of Japanese wood block prints, is of an oriental pool, with major subjects gold inlaid. The gun got its name from the scene on the left side portraying a central figure of a white gold swan with yellow gold beak, wings outspread, landing. As he hits the surface of the water he is surrounded by stylized splashes of water in scrolling form, with yellow gold highlights, adding depth, and reddish gold droplets emanating from the wave tips. Bottom of action portrays a tranquil pool with white gold relief heron in front of stylized flush yellow gold bamboo shoots and leaves. The heron seems to contemplate a gold frog on trigger guard bow. There are beautifully rendered relief dragonflies alighting on branches. The heron’s beak and eye are of yellow gold, the dragonfly bodies and heron’s leg, are of red gold. The dragonfly wings are in white gold. To this catalogers eye the best scene is on the right side with koi poking its head out of a pool, with swirls of water as background. The koi seems to be looking at swan’s head carved into thumbpiece of top lever. The fish has red gold body and white gold spots, as well as a yellow gold head with red and white gold eye. The pool has yellow gold accents to its slightly disturbed water (simulating sunshine), and has a white gold water lily with yellow gold leaves floating at left. The theme of moving water continues in high relief on fences, breech ends of bbls, and top lever. Thumbpiece is relief engraved with aforementioned swan head with bill and eye in yellow gold. “Holland & Holland” is in rectangle on bottom of each side of action. Single beaded trigger guard continues the water theme with gold frog sitting on lily pad on bow, and a yellow and red gold snail on tang which also has SN in gold on rectangle. Steel heel and toe plates also are engraved with a water background. Heel plate is punctuated by a 3-color gold butterfly. Signature and date “Rash ’94” is on trigger plate. Strikingly marbled and well figured European walnut straight grip buttstock measures 15-1/8″ over checkered wood butt with steel heel and toe plates. Stock features typical Holland drop points, diamond hand, and point pattern checkering. Matching splinter ejector forend has Anson release, and engraving theme continues with stylized water on forend tip, and on central escutcheon, two dragonflies in multi-colored gold, are on bottom of iron where they are part of bottom scene when gun is assembled. Bore diameter: left -.728, right – .726. Bore restrictions: left – .023 (mod), right – .013 (lt mod). Wall thickness: left – .032, right – .033. Drop at heel: 2-1/4″, drop at comb: 1-7/16″. Neutral cast. Weight: 6 lbs. 12 oz. LOP: 15-1/8″. Best oak and tan pebbled leather case with brass corners and central medallion, has matching canvas and leather outer cover with snap closure. Interior is lined in two color royal blue and purple cloth with russet leather gold embossed H&H label in lid. Oak frame of top has geometric ebony marquetry border. Bottom section is french fitted for gun and accessories, all Holland marked, including 2-pc ebony and German silver cleaning rod, 3 turnscrews, chamber brush, square crystal oil bottle, and pair of snap caps. A small covered compartment holds mop, brush, and jag, along with family crest pin, and engraved silver square portraying similar crest, with motto “Dictum Meum Pactum” (My word is my bond). PROVENANCE: This gun is pictured and described on pp. 207-209 of “British Gun Engraving” by Douglas Tate. There is also a biography of the engraver on page 274. Copy of article on Rashid El Hadi, and some Facebook posts regarding this gun. CONDITION: Excellent, very close to new, appears unfired since proof, retaining nearly all finishes on wood and metal, with only a few very light handling marks, most notably four small dings on fore part of wing of heron on bottom of action. Mechanically excellent. Case is excellent. Outer cover has some light marks. Case interior and accessories are excellent. A momentous achievement undoubtedly taking thousands of hours. Technically, the work is truly exceptional, and the water treatment exudes wetness. 51848-1 MGM (70,000-110,000) – Lot 1590

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Auction: Firearms - October 2017
Please Note: All prices include the hammer price plus the buyer’s premium, which is paid by the buyer as part of the purchase price. The prices noted here after the auction are considered unofficial and do not become official until after the 46th day.