A 12-Bore Percussion Belt Pistol by Westley Richards, No. 671. With sighted octagonal barrel, signed ‘Westley Richards. 170. New Bond St London.’ retaining traces of regional brown, foliate engraved breech block with platinum vent and line. Foliate engraved tang fitted with rear-sight. Signed lock, fitted with safety catch and decorated with scrolling foliage, the cock decorated en suite. Full-stocked in walnut, cut with deep chequering at the grip, fitted with steel belt hook. Engraved steel trigger guard, numbered ‘671’ and decorated with scrolling foliage on the bow, engraved ramrod pipes, fitted with captive ramrod.
Richards, William Westley & Westley (son) [1812-1872]
William Westley Richards was born in Birmingham, England in 1788 of a family of merchants and silversmiths. In 1812 he established a gunsmiths shop at 82 High Street, Birmingham, selecting his gunsmiths from the already thriving gun trade in Birmingham. His first production was high-grade flintlock fowling pieces. In 1813 he was an active petitioner in establishing the Birmingham Proof House through an act of Parliament.
He had the foresight to realise that he had to have a London outlet for his firearms, as the London market was by far the largest, and also for possible export trade to the Continent.
He chose the most fashionable quarter of London, a street made famous as the resort of the luxury class to which his guns appealed. The establishment was opened in 1815 at the then numbered 170 Bond Street.
A. Merwyn Carey (1954) English, Irish and Scottish Firearms Makers, Acro Publishing Company, New York.
William Westley Gunmaker, Birmingham from 1812. Retail shop (with William Bishop as agent) 170 New Bond Street.,1826-72; 25 Lawrence Pountney Street., 1853-5. Gunmaker to Prince Albert. Died 1865. Firm then run by son, Westley Richards.
Howard L. Blackmore (1986) Gunmakers Of London, 1350-1850. George Shumway Publisher. USA.
Bore: 12 Bore
Barrel Length: 6 Inches (15.24 cm)
Overall Length: 10.5 Inches (26.67 cm)