25 May 2011
The Gun Room: Holland & Holland
On the 19th floor of 10 East 40th Street is the Holland & Holland gun room. Gun rooms in NYC are as rare as places you can smoke. I'm always surprised how friends react to my love of guns. I don't know how many big city Republicans have told me the one thing we agree on is gun control -- only to drop their mouths when I tell them we don't.
Last night some gun lovers gathered at Holland & Holland for Burgundy (white and red), wild boar sausage and some real estate investment advice which, being the only poor Democrat in the room, I never really understood. "Save, schmave, I want that 20 gauge."
Everything about this room is tradition, and while I'm not into taxidermy it certainly suits Holland & Holland.
I was never much of a hunter until I was served a brace of smoked pheasant for lunch during a bird hunt in northern Illinois. I converted immediately.
I don't hunt that much and I promised myself after the army I would never go camping again. My idea of enjoying the four seasons is checking into one.
But the lore and history of guns speaks to the love of a well aimed shot. The smell of sulfur. The ejection of a shell and the sound of brass. The sweet banana smell of Hoppe's cleaning solvent...
and all that goes with it.
It's hard not to be impressed by the luxury of Holland & Holland. I have no idea what that cartridge box retails for. I don't want to know.
But the really interesting stuff isn't for sale. A small museum curated by H&H holds amazing treasures of history.
This is an 8 bore "Wild Fowling Hammer Gun' or what we would called in the army, "a B.F.G."
If you do work in fashion design and are still reading this...check out the imprint of the barrel above and below. This was done during manufacture and I think the same pattern would make for a pair of smashing batik trousers.
My favorite of the night was one of 10 replicas of the English Brown Bess. This musket was standard issue to the British soldier during the American Revolution or, what H&H might call, "The American War for Independence."