Author Topic: Louis's rifle  (Read 888 times)

Offline tallpine

  • Starting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 40
Louis's rifle
« on: September 04, 2020, 12:22:21 AM »
Can anyone offer any information on the rifle Lewis is holding in this portrait or steer me to some pictures of similar rifles


Offline Longknife

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1775
Re: Louis's rifle
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2020, 12:45:20 AM »
This painting was done a few years after the expedition and was undoubtedly a prop or the artists own interpretation of a long rifle. If that rifle did exist it would be a strange one with a longrifle type patch box, an english scroll guard and fore and aft military type sling fixtures,,,Ed
« Last Edit: September 04, 2020, 12:55:08 AM by Longknife »
Ed Hamberg

Offline mr. no gold

  • member 2
  • Hero Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 2065
Re: Louis's rifle
« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2020, 12:49:51 AM »
If not mistaken, I believe that rifle is in the Missouri Historical Society Museum in St. Louis. Louie Parker will probably comment on this soon as he has likely seen it. Anyway, you can start there. The Rifle may be a John Small of Vincennes gun. I have not seen it and tried to one time. but the displays were being redone and all guns were off-display. I haven't been back since.
Dick 

Offline Longknife

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1775
Re: Louis's rifle
« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2020, 01:01:43 AM »
The John Small rifle in the Mo Historical Museum is a half stock rifle and another other rifle in the museum was made by Philip Creamer They were both donated by the Clark family and both were owned by Capt. Clark. I have viewed and handled both of them,,,  Ed
Ed Hamberg

Offline louieparker

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 770
Re: Louis's rifle
« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2020, 01:04:18 AM »
Dick they have two rifles at the museum that were Clark's.. The John Small and the Creamer that I copied.  I would  agree with Longknife.  The rifle in the painting is probably of neither..  I don't recall seeing the Small but I doubt it looked like that..   LP

Offline Bob McBride

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2137
  • Short Mountain, TN
    • Black Powder TV
Re: Louis's rifle
« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2020, 01:12:58 AM »
If the rifle is anything like the outfit, which makes him look like a cross between an NDN Chief, a pole dancer, and a Roman Emperor is any indication, the rifle is probably artistic liscense. Awesome as the painting is.
-Bob

Black Powder TV
www.youtube.com/c/blackpowdertv

PB-TN

Offline mr. no gold

  • member 2
  • Hero Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 2065
Re: Louis's rifle
« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2020, 02:00:34 AM »
Thank you Louie for your input on the gun. Felt sure that if anyone knows anything about them, it would be you. I was operating off of information from one of the docents at the museum
and I ran with it way back when.  Big disappointment! Well, there is still the Small rifle at Grouseland over in Vincennes, I did get to see that one shortly after they acquired it. Fine, fine gun! Almost as Fine as the Small made 'Urn' Rifle. Anyone know who has that one today? One of the Koch brothers was reputed to own it once upon a time. I was fortunate enough to handle it before it went to auction. It is a real screamer!!!
Dick
 

Offline tallpine

  • Starting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 40
Re: Louis's rifle
« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2020, 03:49:50 AM »
Thanks fellows,my original thought was that the painter may have used a little artistic license. In probability, that that rifle ever existed. I read that Lewis was not particularly fond of that portrait.

Online Mike Brooks

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10577
    • Mike Brooks Gunmaker
Re: Louis's rifle
« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2020, 04:43:11 PM »
If the rifle is anything like the outfit, which makes him look like a cross between an NDN Chief, a pole dancer, and a Roman Emperor is any indication, the rifle is probably artistic liscense. Awesome as the painting is.
;D
NEW WEBSITE! www.mikebrooksflintlocks.com
Say, any of you boys smithies? Or, if not smithies per se, were you otherwise trained in the metallurgic arts before straitened circumstances forced you into a life of aimless wanderin'?

Online rich pierce

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 14224
Re: Louis's rifle
« Reply #9 on: September 04, 2020, 05:32:31 PM »
They sure killed a lot of weasels for that portrait. And the powder horn must be from the rare skinny-horned Straight River buffalo.

Iím not a student of the Lewis and Clark expedition but I believe that Lewis and/or Clark had a private gun or two, one of which was a fowling piece to collect bird specimens for documenting wildlife of the west. Another was the air rifle.
St. Louis, Missouri

Offline dogbest

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 76
Re: Louis's rifle
« Reply #10 on: September 04, 2020, 07:21:37 PM »
 Might be an 1803 Harpers Ferry which was carried by some of the men in the expedition.

Offline johngross

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 75
Re: Louis's rifle
« Reply #11 on: September 04, 2020, 09:23:18 PM »
There is a 12 page article in a 1999 issue of MAN AT ARMS magazine titled "The U.S. Contract Rifle - Pattern of 1792 -", by Frank Tait. He discusses the arms used on the Lewis and Clark expedition, and provides numerous footnotes where you can follow up on further research.

FWIW, he pictures an engraving of the painting shown in the OP and the caption reads in part "The engraving closely follows a watercolor painted from life by Saint-Memin, a portraitist renowned for his accuracy of proportion and detail. The rifle illustrated is believed to have been the one actually carried on the expedition. It shows the sling swivels that would have been added at Harpers Ferry, where it was in storage in 1803."

Offline vanu

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 178
Re: Louis's rifle
« Reply #12 on: September 04, 2020, 10:21:00 PM »
A little more context for the watercolor:

"the most eligant peice"

I'M NOT GOING TO REPRODUCE THE ABOVE IMAGE HERE

Caption: Meriwether Lewis wearing the tippet Cameahwait gave to him

Historic painting of Meriwether Lewis by Memin
Collection of the New York Historical Society

Painting by Charles B. J. F. de Saint Memin, 1807, Watercolor over graphite. Actual size, 6-1/8 x 3-3/4 inches

"Although William Clark was said to have considered this "an excellent likeness" of Lewis, the facial features seem graceless beside the better-known charcoal profile by St. Memin, or Charles Willson Peale's famous oil painting. Compare this portrait of Lewis with that of his younger contemporary Stephen Decatur in terms of pose, attire and setting.

It is untypical of St. Memin because of the frontal pose rather than a profile, and because it is a miniature only six and one-eighth inches high. Furthermore, although St. Memin usually produced multiple copies of his portraits, this is the only copy known to exist. The artist William Strickland, more famous as the architect of the U.S. Mint and Bank of the United States in Philadelphia, produced an engraving of the little portrait for the Analectic Magazine and Naval Chronicle in 1816, making it possibly the first image of Meriwether Lewis published"

- So, it was painted in 1807, Wm Clark thought it accurate - which leaves the question, what rifle is it? St. Memin is noted for accuracy in all his works, which leads one to assume that the rifle is based on a real example not conjecture...but until it is identified it's still a mystery. Side opening box at that date, maybe Virginia, Lewis is from Virginia after all, heck - i've even seen somewhere that it is attributed to GF Fainot! (which i doubt...) and of course the well known side opening patch boxes from SE Pennsylvania. If the image is at all accurate, this rifle bears little resemblance to any of the early 19th century arsenal rifles or contract examples from the 1790's; so most likely a civilian arm.

Bruce

Offline Longknife

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1775
Re: Louis's rifle
« Reply #13 on: September 05, 2020, 06:15:55 PM »
Might be an 1803 Harpers Ferry which was carried by some of the men in the expedition.

Very little chance of it being a rifle from the expedition as all equipment and supplies were disposed of at auction in St Louis.
There is a 12 page article in a 1999 issue of MAN AT ARMS magazine titled "The U.S. Contract Rifle - Pattern of 1792 -", by Frank Tait. He discusses the arms used on the Lewis and Clark expedition, and provides numerous footnotes where you can follow up on further research.

FWIW, he pictures an engraving of the painting shown in the OP and the caption reads in part "The engraving closely follows a watercolor painted from life by Saint-Memin, a portraitist renowned for his accuracy of proportion and detail. The rifle illustrated is believed to have been the one actually carried on the expedition. It shows the sling swivels that would have been added at Harpers Ferry, where it was in storage in 1803."



Take that Article with a grain (or two) of salt!
« Last Edit: September 05, 2020, 06:22:19 PM by Longknife »
Ed Hamberg