Breech-Loading Pistol thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
British Galleries, Room 56, The Djanogly Gallery

Breech-Loading Pistol

About 1690 (made)

Object Type
Like other firearms made by Dolep, this flintlock pistol has several ingenious mechanical features. They include an automatic priming magazine, a reloadable metal cartridge and a hinged, drop-down barrel. This barrel allows the pistol to be loaded very quickly. It is operated by pressing upward on the front of the trigger-guard.

People
Andrew Dolep is thought to have come originally from Germany. He is first recorded in July 1681, in the Minute Book of the London Gunmakers' Company, and he died in May 1713. Dolep worked near Charing Cross - probably in St Martin's Lane. Initially, he faced considerable opposition from the Gunmakers' Company as he preferred to employ foreign workmen, but he became reconciled with the Company in his later years. He was also employed by the Board of Ordnance, which controlled the manufacture of firearms and cannon in London.

Use
In general design Dolep's pistols are characteristically English, with the usual restrained chiselling and engraving. His firearms were expensive because of their mechanical complexity and his clients were wealthy. They included Charles II and William Legge, Ist Earl of Dartmouth, Master General of the Ordnance, as well as Cosimo III, Grand Duke of Tuscany. This pistol was made for a member of a prominent Lancashire family, Brown of Blackburn. It would have been carried on a journey and used for self-defence.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Wood, silver and engraved steel
Brief Description
Breech-loading pistol, London, ca. 1690, by Andrew Dolep
Dimensions
  • Length height: 15.5cm
  • Width: 52cm
  • Depth: 5.5cm
Dimensions checked: Measured; 21/04/1999 by DW
Gallery Label
British Galleries: This pistol has an innovative mechanism that includes an automatic priming magazine, a reloadable metal cartridge and a hinged barrel that drops down to make reloading easier. Andrew Dolep produced such finely decorated firearms for royal and aristocratic patrons.(27/03/2003)
Credit line
Transferred from Bristol Museums and Galleries
Object history
Made by in London, probably by Andrew Dolep (probably born in Germany, died at Mountsorrel, Leicestershire, 1713)



This pistol was formerly on long term loan to the Museum from Bristol Museums and Galleries and was transferred to the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2014. The pistol is by Andrew Dolep and was made in around 1690. Dolep is an important London maker (of German origin) known for his technical ingenuity. This is a breech-loader which was unusual at that date.
Summary
Object Type
Like other firearms made by Dolep, this flintlock pistol has several ingenious mechanical features. They include an automatic priming magazine, a reloadable metal cartridge and a hinged, drop-down barrel. This barrel allows the pistol to be loaded very quickly. It is operated by pressing upward on the front of the trigger-guard.

People
Andrew Dolep is thought to have come originally from Germany. He is first recorded in July 1681, in the Minute Book of the London Gunmakers' Company, and he died in May 1713. Dolep worked near Charing Cross - probably in St Martin's Lane. Initially, he faced considerable opposition from the Gunmakers' Company as he preferred to employ foreign workmen, but he became reconciled with the Company in his later years. He was also employed by the Board of Ordnance, which controlled the manufacture of firearms and cannon in London.

Use
In general design Dolep's pistols are characteristically English, with the usual restrained chiselling and engraving. His firearms were expensive because of their mechanical complexity and his clients were wealthy. They included Charles II and William Legge, Ist Earl of Dartmouth, Master General of the Ordnance, as well as Cosimo III, Grand Duke of Tuscany. This pistol was made for a member of a prominent Lancashire family, Brown of Blackburn. It would have been carried on a journey and used for self-defence.
Other Number
LOAN:BRISTOL MUSEUM.1 - Previous loan number
Collection
Accession Number
M.12-2014

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record createdMarch 27, 2003
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