The Royal Gunroom at Sandringham

B2345

This book was published in 1989, in an apparently short print run. At launch it was a high priced book and is likely to command a currently high price if a copy can be found in a specialist book shop, or at auction. With a foreword by HRH Duke of Edinburgh, very high quality photography and production, it should be highly collectable today. This is the sort of book that every gun enthusiast and royal follower wants to own. Well worth the time of searching specialist book dealers.

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NAME: The Royal Gunroom at Sandringham
FILE: R2345
AUTHOR: David Baker
PUBLISHER: Phaidon-Christie’s Limited
BINDING: hard back
PAGES: 160
PRICE: £70.00 original cover price launched 1989
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: shotguns, sporting rifles, military guns, revolvers, self-loading pistols, miniature field guns, Purdy, Martini, Ross, Mauser, Lancaster, hammer lock, box lock, black powder, Rigby, Darra
ISBN: 0-7148-8040-X
IMAGE: B2345.jpg
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DESCRIPTION: This book was published in 1989, in an apparently short print run. At launch it was a high priced book and is likely to command a currently high price if a copy can be found in a specialist book shop, or at auction. With a foreword by HRH Duke of Edinburgh, very high quality photography and production, it should be highly collectable today. This is the sort of book that every gun enthusiast and royal follower wants to own. Well worth the time of searching specialist book dealers.

HRH Duke of Edinburgh always writes an excellent foreword on those rare occasions when he agrees to craft a foreword to a book. In this case, he has a particular personal interest because the collection in the Sandringham Gunroom was one of his personal projects, collecting together the unique selection of sporting guns and other firearms that have been used by the Royal Family. Originally, most sporting guns had migrated to Sandringham, although sporting rifles were also held at Balmoral. Some items had been kept at other palaces. By bringing them together, the Duke created a unique collection that includes a scaled down field gun with limber, equipment and ammunition that was presented by Napoleon III to the 14 year old then Prince of Wales, later Edward VII.

The sporting guns are, almost without exception, of the highest quality and from the leading gunmakers of their time. There are some fine Purdy shotguns and rifles and with guns of this quality there is considerable engraved decoration in what are essentially handmade and carefully finished specimens. All are capable of being used today but most are now used for display in the gunroom. Sandringham was bought by the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) as a country retreat in England and it has been very popular with the Royal Family since its acquisition. It occupies a large area in North West Norfolk, with excellent shooting and an efficient modern farm, with the Queen’s stud nearby. Sandringham House is the principle Royal Residence, but the Sandringham Estate includes a number of farm houses that are used by members of the Royal Family as their individual rural retreats. Even in the troubled times that have raised security issues, HM the Queen still drives herself and uses local shops. She has also taken to travelling to Sandringham by scheduled passenger train.

Guns in the collection include those presented to the Royal Family by other Heads of State and military commanders, including two M1 carbines presented on behalf of the US Army, one with wooden butt stock and one with folding paratroop metal skeleton stock. In addition to guns presented to the Royal family, there are some Winchester repeating rifles that are what remains of a stock purchased to present to other Heads of State.

This is one of those books that is produced for a specialist readership in relatively small numbers and rarely revisited by the author, publisher, or other authors and publishers. The author has to first convince the Royal Family that the project is worthwhile and that the author is a suitable person to write the book. The photography is another area that is carefully considered because it reflects on the Royal Family and on the subject. The author then has to be granted access to records for the research and assistance from members of the Royal Family and their staff. This can be time consuming and certainly represents a higher cost for author and publisher in the creation of the book and its illustrations. The production then adds further to the cost because the finest paper and binding will be used. The end result is a book that starts out as rare and valued with usually a high cover price. Stock usually sells very quickly and the book is soon out of print. From there on, copies only come on the market rarely, many originally being purchased by collectors. When a copy does come on the market, it is usually in mint condition, which adds further to the price it can command.

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