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Augustus and Louis. French firearms of the 17th and 18th century

Project organizers:
Musée de l´Armée, Hôtel National des Invalides, Paris

During his grand tour in 1687, Prince Friedrich August (the Strong), the later Elector of Saxony and King of Poland, visited France and the court of Louis XIV. Later – 1714/15 – his son and successor, Electoral Prince Friedrich August (King August III of Poland), did likewise. They each brought several firearms made by the best French gunsmiths back to Dresden.
Being enthusiastic hunters and weapon collectors, they both later sent specially commissioned agents and diplomats to purchase many more top-quality hunting guns and pistols. These include works by the Paris (court) gunsmiths Thuraine, Le Hollandois, Chasteau, De la Bletterie, Piraube, Brion and Le Languedoc, as well as by Pessonneau of Lyon and Le Lorain of Valence.
The style of their richly decorated firearms spread throughout Europe in the course of the 18th century, a development in which the Dresden court gunsmiths played an important role. In addition to the ornate flintlock pistols and guns dating from the late 17th and early 18th century, the Rüstkammer also holds an exclusive collection of French wheel-lock pistols from the early 17th century, which are richly decorated with mother-of-pearl.
The Dresden collection contains nearly 300 French guns and pistols from the 17th and 18th centuries, about which there has hitherto been little research and few of which have ever been exhibited. It is the largest of such collections in the world.

Project manager:
Prof. Dr. Dirk Syndram, Director of the Rüstkammer

Research team:
Dr. Bernhard Roosens, Rüstkammer
Gernot Klatte M.A., Rüstkammer
Olivier Renaudeau, Conservateur du Département Ancien, Musée de l´Armée
Jean-Pierre Reverseau, Conservateur Honoraire, Musée de l'Armée


Intended results and aims:
Complete catalogue of the holdings of French firearms
Exhibition at the Musée de l´Armée, Paris