Throughout history, regardless of culture or country of origin, some firearms have been decorated to exquisite detail. These pieces, usually commissioned by those of wealth and status, were displayed like works of art and rarely actually discharged. This trend went into decline during the mid-19th century, when industrialization made mass-production possible and thus individually crafted firearms became a thing of the past.
1. A Sri Lankan “toe-lock” gun with an ivory-inlaid butt. Early 18th century. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
2. Christian V’s rifle, signed Lars Berrig, Trunheim. Made in Norway, c.1685. Tøjhusmuseet, Copenhagen
3. Charles XI’s rifle, made in Sweden, c.1650. Livrustkammaren, Stockholm
4. Small-bore rifle made in France, c.1640. A.R. Dufty Collection
5. Rifle, signed Marin le Bourgeoys, Lisieux. Made in France, c.1605. State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg
6. Rifle, signed Jean Conrad Tournier, Massevaux. Made in France, 1646. Tower of London Collection