Solved! The mystery of Barré, one of Purdey’s best engravers…

JAMES PURDEY & SONS BEST BARRE ENGRAVE SIDELOCK SXS HAMMER SHOTGUN 12 GAUGE KING ALFONSO OF SPAIN
JAMES PURDEY & SONS BEST BARRE ENGRAVE SIDELOCK SXS HAMMER SHOTGUN 12 GAUGE KING ALFONSO OF SPAIN

Over the last twenty years, double-gun collectors have had many of their greatest mysteries solved, like the story behind the Czar’s Parker and the whereabouts of Bo Whoop, Nash Buckingham’s famous Fox shotgun.

In the SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2018 issue of Shooting Sportsman magazine, author Douglas Tate has solved another mystery: who was  The mysterious Purdey engraver Aristide Barré?

I don’t know how many guns Barré engraved for Purdey. The ones featured in the Shooting Sportsman article are in the Royal Gunroom at Sandringham. Other Barré-engraved Purdeys are in private collections, and every now and then, one pops up on the market, like the 12g hammer pigeon gun you see here.

This 12g Purdey with 32″ barrels was ordered in 1909 by King Alphonso XIII of Spain. According to Christie’s, Barré’s is mentioned as the engraver in the maker’s records.

JAMES PURDEY & SONS BEST BARRE ENGRAVE SIDELOCK SXS HAMMER SHOTGUN 12 GAUGE KING ALFONSO OF SPAIN
JAMES PURDEY & SONS BEST BARRE ENGRAVE SIDELOCK SXS HAMMER SHOTGUN 12 GAUGE KING ALFONSO OF SPAIN
JAMES PURDEY & SONS BEST BARRE ENGRAVE SIDELOCK SXS HAMMER SHOTGUN 12 GAUGE KING ALFONSO OF SPAIN
JAMES PURDEY & SONS BEST BARRE ENGRAVE SIDELOCK SXS HAMMER SHOTGUN 12 GAUGE KING ALFONSO OF SPAIN
JAMES PURDEY & SONS BEST BARRE ENGRAVE SIDELOCK SXS HAMMER SHOTGUN 12 GAUGE KING ALFONSO OF SPAIN
JAMES PURDEY & SONS BEST BARRE ENGRAVE SIDELOCK SXS HAMMER SHOTGUN 12 GAUGE KING ALFONSO OF SPAIN
JAMES PURDEY & SONS BEST BARRE ENGRAVE SIDELOCK SXS HAMMER SHOTGUN 12 GAUGE KING ALFONSO OF SPAIN
JAMES PURDEY & SONS BEST BARRE ENGRAVE SIDELOCK SXS HAMMER SHOTGUN 12 GAUGE KING ALFONSO OF SPAIN

Introducing Lisa Tomlin, Gun Engraver…

Engraving is one of those things that can make or break a shotgun. When it’s done right,  it add to a double’s overall elegance,  and pushes it to the level of a real Best gun.

Tomlin working on her latest project. Pic by Stacey Van Berkel
Tomlin working on her latest project. Pic by Stacey Van Berkel

Lisa Tomlin is an engraver who is a master engraver who’s an expert at doing it right. She started engraving in 1983 when she was hired by Ken Hurst. Eventually she went out on her own, working on custom knives and then firearms.

Today, she has engraved firearms for everyone from former President George H.W. Bush and General Normal Schwarzkopf to movie director/screen writer John Milius.

You can read more about her in the latest issue of Garden & Gun magazine:

One of the Country’s Finest Gun Engravers

“Constrained by trigger and bolt and breech, the gun engraver’s canvas is hardly the size of a playing card. A few square inches with possibly another stamp-size space or two. That’s where she is asked to express the surprise flush of a pheasant, the quiver of a pointing dog’s flank, the thunder of an elephant scenting danger…”

Read the entire article here.

You can see some photos of Lisa Tomlin’s work here and here.

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