Westley Richards

The Art of Engraving

The embellishment of weapons dates back many centuries. Prior to the introduction of firearms, swords, daggers, shields and armour was often elaborately engraved by skilled artisans to reflect the status of their patrons. Such highly ornate weapons were often gifts for Royalty and Statesmen, taking what was already a superb work of the armourer's craft and turning it into a truly unique piece of functional art.

The skills of the gun engraver take a lifetime to master, each craftsman developing an individual style and set of skills. At Westley Richards we take great pride in developing these skills by commissioning a wide variety of styles of embellishment for our clients. Our work with Alan Brown in the 1980's and with Peter Spode and Rashid Hadi since the mid 1990's and more recently with Vince Crowley and Shaun Banks shows the firms commitment to producing outstanding and unique work for our clients.

A best pair of 16 gauge flintlock officers pistols
The embellishment of a gun has always had the purpose to enhance what is already a unique item of craftsmanship and this can take on many forms. The hours spent on engraving can vary considerably depending on the specification, from a simple makers name in gold which allows the skill of the gunmakers to be seen unadorned, to highly relief carved scenes and coloured gold inlays, the choice being limited only by the imagination of the client and the artisan engraver.

In recent decades highly ornate embellishment has been commissioned by many of the world's great gun collectors. Westley Richards works closely with both its clients and engravers to come up with unique designs and concepts to suit every expectation and occasion.

Westley Richards traditional full scroll engraving with case colour hardened finish.
Deluxe foliate scroll engraving with etched background, gold name and carved fences.
Work in progress deluxe foliate scroll engraving with gold naming and numbering

A trio of deluxe foliate scroll, game scene and gold name 12 gauge round action sidelock shotguns
A pair of fine rose and scroll with game scene engraving 20 gauge round action sidelock shotguns.
A trio of deluxe foliate scroll engraved 12 gauge hand detachable lock shotguns with gold name in banner
The cover plate of a .577 hand detachable lock double rifle with fine game cameo of a bull elephant.

Hinged cover plate with relief scroll work and a flush inlayed dog in platinum and red gold
Engraver's concept sketch for a 20 gauge hand detachable lock shotgun realised below right
Hinged cover plate with extra fine scroll and flush gold game scene inlay

A presentation relief steel and gold 28g hand detachable lock shotgun
A pair of exhibition raised carved steel and fine scroll 20 gauge hand detachable lock shotguns

A .500 Nitro Express sidelock double rifle with inlaid raised steel reliefs and fine scroll with gold detailing

Relief and flush gold inlays on a pair of 12g hand detachable lock shotguns

A 28g hand detachable lock shotgun with very fine deep cut scrollwork combined with gold accents and game scenes

A presentation multi colour gold inlay 'Hummingbird' 28g & .410 hand detachable lock shotgun

The Westley Richards "Boutet" style 12g sidelock shotgun which combines all the skills of the engraving partnership of the Brown brothers

Work in progress showing carved game scenes with gold inlay bordering
The .600 Nitro Express "Gorilla Gun" deep carved engraving.

Fine multi colour gold inlays combined with decorative scroll and case colour hardening.

Exhibition carved scroll and game scene engraving on a .470 Nitro
Express sidelock double rifle.
Exhibition carved foliate scroll and fine gold line engraving on a .375
hand detachable lock double rifle

Exhibition fully carved cover plate, grip cap and trigger guard from a .600 Nitro Express hand detachable lock double rifle

Exhibition carved game scene and gold inlay engraving of a pair of 20 gauge hand detachable lock shotguns
Engravers from left: Shaun Banks; Rashid El Hadi; John Barratt; Peter Spode; Vince Crowley