Thomas Darley’s rifle

By Edouard Aldahdah

Posted on January 13th, 2011 in General

Radwan Shabareq of Aleppo told me the fascinating story of what is believed to be Thomas Darley’s rifle.

Thomas Darley was Her Majesty’s Consul to the Levant, based in Aleppo, during the reign of British Queen Anne. In 1702, Thomas Darley acquired a young colt from the Fad’aan ‘Anazah Bedouins, which became the most prepotent of three foundation stallions of the English Thoroughbred horse breed. This was the “Darley Arabian”.

Radwan told me that he had heard the story of Darley’s rifle from Raymond Juwayyid, an elderly Alepine collector, many years ago. According to Juwayyid, an ‘Anazeh Bedouin came to an Armenian jeweler in downtown Aleppo in the early XXth century to sell a long rifle intricately ornated with silver. Upon being asked for its provenance, the Bedouin admitted that he stolen it from his Shaykh, who had had it in his family for several generation. He reportedly claimed that his Shaykh would refer to the rifle as “Darley’s rifle”, and it was treasured family heirloom. The Armenian jeweler bought the rifle, and later sold it to Nu’man al-Dali’ (see the entry on *Mirage’s strain below, which is how I learned of this story), who gave it to his heirs, who gave it to Raymond Juwayyid, who sold it to a wealthy Alepine gentleman a few years ago.

Photos of the rifle coming soon, as well as more details on the story itself.

One Response to “Thomas Darley’s rifle”

  1. Interesting!
    Look forward to hearing the next bit of the story.
    The word ‘Turk’ mentioned in the link is frustrating wrt early TB stock as obviously these horses were purchased during the period of the Ottoman Empire and the word ‘Turk’ did not have the same geographical connotations as it does for us today.
    I found it interesting too that from his description ( more so than the painting)he was clearly a ‘high white’, his blaze ”of the largest” like so many Crabbet horses,
    ( and Davenports??)
    Many people say that there was a Bedouin prejudice against a lot of white… this seems not to fit with the large number of modern Arabs with a LOT of white… another myth or were the Bedouin more ready to sell horses with a lot of white? Or do we just attribute the todays numbers of Arabs with white to the enormous influence of Rodania and Messaoud ?
    Can you imagine what Darley Racing would pay for this rifle ?

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