[Slowhand] Eric Clapton's guns for sale

John Mills turbineltd at btconnect.com
Tue Oct 7 12:48:24 EDT 2008


Eric Clapton's guns for sale

07 October 2008 16:33

He'd be more likely to shoot a brace of pheasants than the sheriff these
days. While the stars of his era were better known for driving Rollers into
swimming pools, Eric Clapton prefers shooting and fishing to more familiar
forms of rock n' roll excess. Shooting lessons at a London gun school, in
2003, ignited his passion for the sport.

That fuelled a fascination with collecting guns and an obsession with
finding the best, until Slowhand had a change of heart and decided it was
time for a clearout.

Today, a Norfolk auctioneers were cataloguing the collection, ready to put
it on sale, as Clapton himself spoke candidly about what it revealed about
his character.

Just as every angler recalls his first rod or a golfer waxes lyrical about
his favourite club, Eric Clapton clearly has mixed feelings about putting
his first "serious" gun - a Purdey over-and-under, purchased in 2003 - up
for sale.

"The action was steel-carved, very flamboyant," he said. "There I was, a new
shooter, going into the field with a gun that was quite bling, but I don't
mind going in at the deep end.

"I used it a lot and was very attached to it, until I realized I needed a
pair more than a single gun and started to collect pairs - now I have to let
it go, I need the space."

Shooting re-awakened one of Clapton's other character traits, the love of
collecting. Just as he sought the perfect chord with a guitar in his hands,
his collections over the years have followed a similar path.

"When I started to shoot, I wanted to shoot with beautiful guns," he said.
"I was also baffled by the fact no-one used English guns out in the field.

"It seemed like everyone used Spanish guns, or Brownings. Well I just
thought I'm not going to go down that road. I'd like to get some guns made
by just about every British builder that I can."

While a rocker's royalties mean Clapton could shop at the best gunmakers in
town, the sale - being carried out by Norfolk specialist auctioneers Holts -
marks a hiatus.

"It's following the same pattern as when I collected guitars, cars and
watches," Clapton said. "I start out with a fairly broad spectrum, get
obsessed and engulfed and finally narrow the collections down.

"I built a gunroom that can house a certain amount of guns and now I have to
clear the decks for the new guns I have on order.

"Also a custodian has a certain responsibility to keep things ticking over.
I like to keep my collections to manageable proportions, I feel
uncomfortable about owning things that don't get used."

The guns themselves - some less than a year old - are incredible works of
craftsmanship, exquisitely engraved with Clapton's initials EPC carried on
gold escutcheons underneath their stocks.

One pair of Wm Evans-manufactured 20-bores feature engravings of Clapton
sitting beneath a tree strumming a guitar, and playing a leaping trout.

Engraver Marcus Hunt, who personalised the guns, spent time fishing with
EPC. Yet his subject is in two minds about the end result.

"If you really want me to be frank, I'm in two minds about engraving,"
Clapton said. "I respect what master engravers do and I like what Marcus did
a lot.

"It's great to own things that re really personal but at the same time I
prefer things to be anonymous too. I like subtlety in beauty.

"I like a gun to look like a working tool but if you look closely you can
see it's a magnificent piece of art as well."

Clapton enjoys using guns as much as he enjoys looking at them. But he's
philosophical about his shooting prowess.

"I'm just an average shot, I'm never going to be a great shot because it's
not my first interest," he said. "Playing the guitar is my prime interest in
life, that's what I do. Shooting and fishing are hobbies and you can never
really become a master at a hobby.

"I find shooting a much more social pastime than fishing. I value them both
because I'm not that gregarious and shooting with groups of people up and
down the country has taught me a lot about how to get on with my fellow
human beings."

Clapton's collection includes guns by Purdey & Sons, Evans, Watson Bros and
EJ Churchill, which are expected to fetch between £30,000 and £120,000 when
they go on sale at Princess Louise House, Hammersmith, on December 11.

For more information go to http://www.holtandcompany.co.uk/

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