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.