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I was most interested to read that Purdey is now offering a service that provides the history and provenance of the sporting weapons made by that august house over the years. How things have changed since the days of Richard Beaumont.

I well remember in the late 1980s I bought a collection of ‘Maharajah’ rifles, which purported to have come from the armoury of the Maharajah of Udaipur. Among them was a single-barrelled Purdey .246 Express rifle that, to my mind, was rare if not unique.

I rang Richard to ask if he could confirm the provenance of this rifle. He was intrigued because he did not believe that Purdey had ever made a single-barrelled rifle and asked if he could see it.

I duly turned up at South Audley Street and was shown into the Long Room where, to my relief, Richard confirmed that, much to his surprise, the rifle was indeed a genuine Purdey and that it had been built on a single-barrelled trap gun action. I asked him if he could confirm for whom it had been made originally. He stated firmly that Purdey would never reveal a customer’s name.

However, perhaps because I had given him the opportunity to see what

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