By Douglas Tate
Photographs by Matthew Brown
During the Italian Renaissance, some of the most sumptuous firearms, swords and armor were made strictly for ceremonial purposes. Called arms alla romana, their decorative form never hindered their practical function; they were usable arms in every sense of the word. England’s Longthorne Gunmakers, famous for its one-piece barrels, now has created the Renaissance model, which channels the spirit of those times.
I asked Longthorne Marketing Director Elaine Stewart about the model’s inspiration. “Our Renaissance gun has intricate but delicate scroll that is indicative of the 17th Century style,” she said. “We felt it was aptly named, as it means ‘rebirth.’ Chloe, my daughter, designed it, and we executed it in-house using a combination of mechanical methods, including laser and also some hand finishing. All the gold inlaying, of course, is done by hand. James [Elaine’s husband and the founder of the firm] does the inlaying. Chloe wanted to create something more delicate in style, as opposed to, for example, our Deluxe model, which features a much larger scroll and is not as intricate. Renaissance scrollwork tends to be more flowing, subtle and interesting. Most of the gold-inlaid birds are gamebirds.”
Longthorne’s Renaissance guns are available in 20, 16 and 12 gauge and have an extended, beaded trigger tang leading to an engraved grip cap with an underlever-style forend catch. A pair will set you back about £79,000, or $100,000 (including the VAT of 20%); a single gun is £39,950, or $50,000.
The essential element of Renaissance design is that it’s not restrained; it’s all about jewel-encrusted, ermine-trimmed opulence. Looking at the photographs of the new Renaissance models, it’s difficult to avoid the conclusion that Longthorne has successfully created guns that are luxurious yet usable.