Sporting Classics points out that Turgenev owned a Joseph Lang, Hemingway the above Westley Richards, and Karen Blixen (Isak Dineson) a Rigby.
Russian author Ivan Turgenev, whose efforts to free the serfs produced the Sportsmanâ€™s Sketches, bought a Joseph Lang gun. Ernest Hemingway acquired a Westley Richards while Isak Dinesen, famed for her farm in Africa, was gifted a John Rigby.
â€œTurgenev had discovered the existence of the gunsmith Joseph Lang, of Cockspur Street,â€ wrote biographer Patrick Waddington in Turgenev and England. â€œSome years earlier, Lang had brought to Britain the new Lefaucheux shotgun and made some improvements in its performance. For Turgenev, â€˜Lengâ€™ (as he pronounced the name) was simply the worldâ€™s best craftsman.â€ The Russian Ã©migrÃ© paid Â£41 for his breechloader and wrote: â€œHow beautiful it is! It makes you feel like going down on your knees! And what an aim it has!â€ In reality, the â€œaimâ€ took some adjustment since Turgenev fired 50 shots to bag just 11 brace while walking up grouse on the 12th at Fincastle near Pitlochry in 1871.
Turgenevâ€™s clipped sentences and snapshot characterization influenced Ernest Hemingwayâ€™s writing sometime after Sylvia Beach encouraged Papa to read Sportsmanâ€™s Sketches. Hemingway borrowed the book often from Beachâ€™s Left Bank lending library and appeared to have learned its lessons well.