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Double barrel percussion shotgun, 12 gauge, manufactured by James Rosier Snr

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13 Mar 2011
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James Rosier Snr. appears in census records working as a clock and watchmaker in the mid-1830s in England, before the family moved to the township of Bedford, Bedfordshire. Here, Rosier Snr. advertised himself as a gunmaker, a line of work he pursued up until the family's immigration to Australia at the end of 1849. It was to his father that James W. Rosier was apprenticed as a gunsmith in the mid-1840s at ten years of age, and in this line of the work that he would establish his own name in Melbourne.

The untimely death of Rosier Snr. due to illness in 1852, only a few years after the family's arrival in Victoria, saw James, as the eldest son, take responsibility for the family and at the age of 21, under the terms of his father's Will, he inherited Rosier Snr.'s tools of trade.

This cased percussion shotgun is the only known example of James Rosier Snr's work as a gunmaker in Bedford before the family came to Australia. Beautifully engraved with classic English scrollwork and hunting scenes on both locks, it provides a wonderful example of the skill and craft associated with English sporting gun production during the mid-nineteenth century, even by a provincial gunmaker.

Found in Tasmania several decades ago by an earlier Rosier collector who recognised the significance of his find, it was lovingly restored back to its original condition; a fitting beginning to the telling of the Rosier family story.


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Photo of Llantrisant
3 Mar 2011
Last seen
12 Jun 2014


Collections that contain Double barrel percussion shotgun, 12 gauge, manufactured by James Rosier Snr:


Photo of ArfurSo8
Posted on 6 Feb 2014
Dear Llantrisant, I wonder if you could help? I have a 12 guage James Rosier hammer shotgun no.36588 with the inscription "made for James w rosier Melbourne" on the top rib. The gun has been in my family for the last 70years. I would like to trace the movements of this gun. Why would it be "Made For" if the gun is a rosier? Was it made in England or sent over from Melbourne for sale here? Nigel
Photo of Llantrisant
Posted on 13 Feb 2014
Dear Nigel, without knowing the gun itself you are probably quite correct when you suggest it was manufactured in England for retail by Rosier in Australia. The barrel proofmarks will give you a good indication, most likely being Birmingham proofed. A rather prominent court case in Melbourne in 1895 concerning another of the city's gundealing families had Rosier Jnr take the stand as a witness, and he remarked that since the International Trade-marks Act had been introduced, 'Made for J W Rosier, Melbourne' had to be engraved on all guns manufactured for them by English makers. Previously, he notes that manufacturers had simply applied the Rosier name, inferring that the 'Made for ...' was as a result of the Act coming in to effect. It's likely he was referring to the Patents, Designs, and Trade Marks Acts 1883, so firearms manufactured in England for Rosier after that date will probably carry the 'Made for ...' prefix. Hope that helps.

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