12 Mar 2010

Faure LePage Duelling Pistols

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Lot Number 73, in Amoskeag Auction Company’s Auction #76 – March 27, 2010 sale, is a really spectacular Pair of Duelling Pistols with Original Accessories by Faure LePage, whose shop at 8 Rue Richelieu operated between 1865 and 1913.

Faure LePage was clearly a very worthy representative of a family of gunmakers descended from Perin LePage, assistant to Nicolas Boutet at the manufacture Imperiale de Versailles, 1793 until 1813, then Arquebusier de l’Empereur to Napoleon I. Perin LePage’s manufactory at Versailles was sacked by Blucher in July, 1815. LePage subsequently built fine firearms in Paris originally with Nicolas Bernard as his barrel maker. Bernard left to establish his own firm in 1821.

LePage Duelling pistols were renowned for their accuracy. Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin brings Лепажа3 стволы роковые [VI:25: LePage's fatal barrels] to his duel with Lensky, and John Leonard, in the New York Times, notes:

Lensky, a reader of Goethe rather than Rousseau and therefore a much nicer person than Eugene, falls victim in the verse epic to ”fell barrels” hand tooled in Paris by Lepage. So, too, did Pushkin insist on Lepage pistols for his appointment with d’Anthes, pawning some table silver to pay for them. And as if to salt this open sore, the all-knowing and all-telling Binyon informs us that the pistol d’Anthes used to kill Pushkin was borrowed from the French ambassador’s son, who would use it four years later to kill Mikhail Lermontov.

The LePage duellers being offered by Amoskeag this month are demonstrated to have been made some decades later by their splendid Art Nouveau ornamentation, probably during the 1890s.

These beautiful weapons come down to us carrying all the romantic associations of the Mauve Decade and the gas-lit Paris of Trilby, Absinthe, and Toulouse-Lautrec, when Honor was still a vital part of human existence, and members of the upper classes of society were expected to be prepared to defend theirs. Generals fought Prime Ministers (Boulanger v. Floquet) and painters (Manet v. Duranty) and novelists (Proust v. Lorrain) sought satisfaction from their critics. The owner of this set of pistols knew he would have one final glimpse of luxury and beauty, if worst came to worst.


Ilya Repin, Дуэль Евгения Онегина и Владимира Ленского [Duel Between Eugene Onegin and Vladimir Lensky], 1899, Pushkin Museum, St. Petersburg.

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6 Feedbacks on "Faure LePage Duelling Pistols"

Dom

Fauré le Page opened his shop down the Avenue de l’Opera in 1716 – 8, rue de Richelieu, exactly. This store still exists at the same place, but it no longer manufactures any firearms since long already, neither it sales any since successive bans and regulations crippled the gun industry in France, from 1939 on (just before the Germans invaded France, ironically).
Fauré le Page still sold fine side-by-side shotguns until the late 80’s. Those guns bore the mark “Fauré le Page” but trully were handcrafted by a contractor based in Saint-Etienne. They were beautiful and expensive guns, to the extent of $19,000 for a pair of richly engraved shotguns with removable platines. However, they were known as not very strong guns since they were made with soft steel.
By the end of the 80’s, Fauré le Page experienced serious financial difficulties, and brand and store were sold and converted into a shop selling luxury products and fancy accessories relating to hunting activities. As in 1981, the owner still had the Faure le Page order books in which this pair of pistols figures, associated to the exact dates of order and delivery, and the name of the purchaser.
Other prestigious French gunsmiths, such as Calens & Modé, and Gastine Renette, experienced the same sad end during the early 80’s too.



stephen richardson

Beautiful pistols. I have a 16 bore Faure LePage shotgun dated 1874 No 248 and have been trying to confirm who it was made for. Oral provenance with the gun is that it was made for the American Fanny Vandergrift Osbourne, who became the wife of Robert Louis Stevenson. Does the correspondent above know of the fate of the Faure LePage order books?



David Macdonald

I have a cased percusion dueling set by La Page. Can e-mail pictures. Would like to sell but do not know the fair value. I bought them in Brussel a while back. Both guns have the identical serial #.
Please contact me @ bvracer@gmail.com
Thank you!



Mark Robinson

I have a complete set of lepage dueling pistols. I would like to get the appraised. Any suggestions would be appreciated.



JDZ

Try a reputable auction company. I’ve had good results selling guns through Amoskeag Auctions in New Hampshire.



Ray Decorby

I’m in possession of an H. Faure Le Page 16 bore sxs gun. Serial # is N564, with demascuss barrels by Leopold Bernard. It has lovely Grifins engraved on it and seems of high quality. It looks like turn of the century and has crests on the butt and oval. I was told it had belonged to the Duke of Lyon? Anyway, it’s a fine piece and I’m interested in any info. on this company/barrel maker and any other guns by them. I’ve got some good pics of it, if anyone is interested. ray@polardevelopments.com



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