By Douglas Tate
Some guns are made to create a brilliant impression in their entirety. Others are intended for detailed delectation engraved in a way that rewards close inspection and insists on their handling and the play of light. The Tallett-engraved Charles Boswell .410 pictured here is a rare example of both.
Chris Batha of Charles Boswell (Gunmakers) commissioned rising-star Bradley Tallett to engrave this .410 with multiple species of quail. Tallett, who lives and works near England’s south coast, chose to engrave the right lock with a California quail, the left lock with a bobwhite quail and the underside with a scaled quail. I asked Tallett about the work. “The client had kindly given me free rein to do as I wished but had expressed a liking for a square-bodied .410 Purdey I had engraved a year or two back, with Texas birds and animals integrated and running through the scroll. I tried a couple of designs in this vein, but I felt it didn’t quite work with the round-bodied action, so I opted for a slightly less-busy format combining birds in the scrollwork and a game scene . . . . A small well-made action of this quality invites you to look closer, and that closer look must be rewarded with detail in design and execution. This means many hours—in this case in excess of 400.
“Looking at the photos, it seems amazing to me that the lockplates on that gun are little bigger than my thumb!”
This tiny gun was created on a Purdey/Woodward-type O/U action by Richard Barnes, who has worked with Purdey, Holland & Holland and Boss. The 30″ barrels are by Mike Kay, with blacking by Johnsons & Co. It was stocked by Stephane Dupille, and the wrist and forend were “checkered by Greener’s secret checkerer,” according to Batha. The gun was finished by David Sinnerton. The hardening and coin finish were by St. Ledger and the case by Vince Rickards.