Joseph Lang and the Sporting Gun

My husband is always telling me that we need to stock more mantiques, mantiques being those antiques that are of particular interest to men. With this in mind we have acquired a rare Victorian deactivated sporting gun (with an accompanying deactivation certificate) by Joseph Lang (Figure 1).

Joseph Lang was a very influential figure in country sports and the development of recreational guns. He first set up his own business the “Gun and Pistol Repository” in 1821, eventually buying out the entire stock of his prior employer the gunmaker Alexander Wilson in 1825 to becomes Londons largest gun dealer. During this time Joseph Lang sold the highest quality sporting guns, including those produced by James Purdey. His association with Purdey steadily strengthened with Joseph Lang marrying Purdey’s daughter Eliza in 1828.  Joseph Lang’s first son Joseph was born in 1829, and his second son James was born in 1835. Joseph the younger was then apprenticed to James Purdey and Joseph the younger then joined his fathers business in about 1853.Joseph Lang 1

Figure 1 Joseph Lang Sporting Gun

Joseph Lang the elder was renowned for playing a key part in introducing the breach-loading gun to British sportsmen. Prior to this guns were loaded the traditional way via the muzzle and these new fangled breach loading guns steadily creeping into use on the continent were viewed with scorn. Joseph Lang didn’t really agree with this, and in a radical move started to manufacture high quality breach loading shot guns for the British market. Being a businessman with a good view on taking commercial opportunities and being recognised as a very good shot, he then went on to prove the value of the breach loader in shooting competitions in which he out-shot competitors who used the old fashioned muzzle loading guns.  Needless to say, demand for his guns increased and he provided custom made guns to leaders in Victorian society, including the Prince of Wales in 1868.

Our particular example is a hammer action 12 bore shot gun with intricately engraved double barrels. The gun carries the makers name Joseph Lang (Figure 2a and 2b). along with the serial number 3834, dating it to 1867, the year before the Prince of Wales bought his Joseph Lang. This gun will be for sale at the Wetherby Antiques Fair on the 27th and 28th of July 2013, and potentially for sale if we still have it at the Stafford Bingley Hall Antiques Fair on the 9th, 10th and 11th of August 2013. Come and see and get a 20% discount on this gun or any other item of our stock if you can tell us you have read our WordPress blogs.

Josph Lang 3Joseph Lang 2

Figure 2a showing a closeup of the firing assembly and ejector system, 2b shows the makers name Joseph Lang.

For further information on Joseph Lang, see Best Guns by Joseph McIntosh

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2 Comments

  1. I am currently workingon a mantiques blog post! awesome info thanks. found it inspiring

    Reply
  2. Good to be of help, looking forward to seeing your blog on mantiques.

    Reply

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