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A Gift from Napoleon

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Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte of France was well renowned throughout Europe as an arms enthusiast and frequently presented special pieces selected from his personal collection to friends or those associates that had distinguished themselves in his service. This elaborately engraved 20-gauge flintlock double fowler, made by the noted gunsmith Fatou of Paris, bears extensive gold and silver embellishments and is fitted with a purple velvet cheekpiece. Fatou is known to have worked as a gunsmith in Paris from 1780 to 1830 and produced many notable arms.

This double fowler has gold-plated flashpans to mitigate corrosion from firing blackpowder and is inlaid with extensive gold and silver wire inlays, as well as silver accent points fitted into the checkering. While a finely finished double, this smoothbore also shows evidence of having been fired in its history.

Made for Napoleon circa 1804, this shotgun was then presented by him to Count Jean Baptiste Jourdan, Marquis Faulte de Vanteaux of Limoges, one of 26 marshals appointed for Napoleon's army. Elements of the heraldic coat of arms awarded by Napoleon to his marshal form the engraving details for this piece. As part of the National Firearms Museum collection, this elegant shotgun is on daily exhibition as part of the "Regal Guns of Royal Houses" display.