The Best of British

The Best of British

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A sumptuous and detailed volume celebrating the best of British gunmakers.



David Grant is an internationally renowned photographer of guns and in this book he has photographs of the best examples of contemporary British gunmaking along with choice historical examples. Detailed captions describe the guns illustrated and there is strong emphasis on the craftsmen who built these guns. The book includes an appendix which provides history and background information on the various gunmakers and companies involved and this also includes contact information. Amongst the manufacturers whose work appears in the book are examples from David MacKay Brown, Purdey, Holland & Holland, Boss, Greener and Peter Nelson, Westley Richards,William Powell, David Sinnerton and many others.


David Grant is an internationally renowned photographer of guns and in this book he has photographs of the best examples of contemporary British gunmaking along with choice historical examples. Detailed captions describe the guns illustrated and there is strong emphasis on the craftsmen who built these guns. Vic Venters (text) is the Senior Editor of America's Shooting Sportsman magazine. A lifelong shooter, he attended university in London and is a graduate of the University of North Carolina. He has travelled widely in the gun trade in the UK, Spain, Belgium and Italy and has visited many of the world's most important gunmakers. He met David Grant when commissioning photographs for Shooting Sportsman. Vic enjoys game and clay shooting, especially for grouse, woodcock and snipe.


Book Specifications

Additional Information

Sub Heading A Celebration of British Gunmaking
ISBN 9781846890697
Author David Grant and Vic Venters
Binding Casebound
Extent 230 x 280mm, 214 pages
Illustrations Colour photographs throughout
Ebook No

"I doubt I'll see a more sumptuous or well-presented book this year... Choosing one word to define this book is an easy matter: stunning." Big Sky Journal

"For anyone with an interest in gunmaking, The Best of British is a must. This book is also a celebration of outstanding gun photography - the work of David Grant is exceptional, and combined with the words of Vic Venters, it makes for quite a package". Fieldsports

"A professionally produced, detailed volume celebrating the best of British gunmakers. The photographs are accompanied by detailed text on modern and historical gunmaking and the excellent craftsmen involved. This is an indispensable guide to add to any sporting library. Purdey, Holland & Holland, Westley Richards - the roll call is impressive to look at and an important record". The Field

"Quiller's new book The Best of British - A Celebration of British Gunmaking, does just what it says on the dust jacket. It is a catalogue of the exceptional products of the Birmingham and London gun trades from about 1806 to present day. The Best of British is a fine tuned collaboration between the American shooting journalist Vic Venters and the internally renowned gun photograher David Grant. The book starts with a thoughtful introduction by Mr Venters that charts the fortunes of the British gun trade from its lowest ebb in the 1970s through to its current renaissance and pre-eminence... The body of the book is filled with Mr Grant's glorious colour photographs. They are complemented by Mr Venter's informative captions, which includes details about the artists who made the pieces. The whole of the British trade is represented, from Atkin to Woodwood. It is gratifying to see smaller makers included rather than solely the great gunmaking houses. Production quality is excellent and at £35 it's exceptional value for money. It's always easy to dismiss works of this kind as mere coffee table volumes. That would be unfair - this book is a commemoration of the excellence of a British industry that has weathered the storms of three centuries and whose breathtaking products continue to excite admiration and marvel". Shooting Times< />

"A coffee table classic. In this stylish book, David Grant's excellent photographs illustrate the best products of today's British Gunmakers. He is aided by Vic Venters' text which is concise, educated and literary. Writing about guns can get technical and dull, but Vic carries off his narrative perfectly. There are studies of important guns from older firms, such as Lancaster's four-barrel 20-bore, Lang's self-cocking hammer gun, and John Dickson's side-by-side-by-side 16 bore, but the real focus is on today's output. The book's value to many will be that it helps them discover makers whose work is known to gun-trade insiders and collectors but perhaps not to the wider public: names such as David Sinnerton, David McKay Brown, David Dryhurst, George MacFarlane, Peter Nelson and Tony White. All make guns of the highest quality and this book gives them equal billing to the bigger firms - and rightly so. As a brilliant photographic record of the best contemporary and classic British gunmaking, this is a useful reference book, showing who is building what, where and how. This is a good time for The Best of British to emerge - it serves as a reminder that, in the field of gunmaking at least, that phrase still means 'the best there is'. Long may our gunmakers go from strength to strength. Any any gun buff who needs to update his visual and factual reference points will find this book showcases the state of the art with clarity and panache". Sporting Shooter

"For anyone with an interest in British Gunmakers, this celebration of their artistry and skill is the perfect book. Sumptuously illustrated by David Grant, the guns really are the star of the show. Vic Venters' love for the topic really shines through in his writing too". Shooting Gazette

"This glossy tome is exactly what it says, a pictorial homage to the work of this country's finest craftsmen in sporting guns. David Grant's stunning colour photographs highlight outstanding examples of the gunmaker's art from the last two centuries and are accompanied by informative descriptions from writer Vic Venters. In his introduction Venters hails the revival of the British trade from its nadir in the 1970s and 80s and indeed the book concentrates on shotguns built in the last decade, showcasing the extraordinary variety now being built to modern standards but in traditional style. Many of these beautifully engraved and finished guns by the likes of Purdey, Holland & Holland and Boss are one-offs destined to be collector display pieces or locked away for investment purposes. Perhaps the only chance we will get to see them is in the pages of this superb coffee-table book". BASC Shooting and Conservation

"The Best of British is an uncompromisingly stylish and upmarket book, but its most lasting appeal lies in content, not presentation: its clear knowledge of, and respect for, guns of all different types. Grant and Venters treat guns not just as functional tools or artistic pieces, but as cultural and historical objects that form a key part of the British identity. This book will inspire no small amount of fascination and nostalgia in rifle shooters". Sporting Rifle

"Both David Grant and Vic Venters are known for their dedication to British Gunmaking, David through his amazing photographs, and Vic through his love of the English language and its use to describe all aspects of shooting sports. Their collaboration in this book brings out the pinnacle of their joint talents and here we have a feast of both text and photographs to delight and inform us. It is difficult not to be over effusive in praise of their book... The photos in this book are absolutely stunning and show us in minute detail the talent of the Gunmakers, engravers, stockers and all those other craftsmen, and women, who make up our trade. Vic Venters is known to the cognoscenti of the shooting world through his editorial wisdom as the Senior Editor of America's Shooting Sportsman Magazine and love of fine British gunmaking. Here, in this book, he stuns us with the depth of his research and knowledge which is so elegantly coupled with David's photography. Dipping into the book is like plunging one's hands into an immense bowl overflowing with glittering jewels. It truly is a feast for the eyes... Technical details of the guns themselves enliven the pages and no-one who has ever held a gun could fail to be impressed with both the knowledge of the authors or their obvious pleasure in presenting us with this feast of British gunmaking at its best". GTA Newsletter

"With The Best of British you get just what it says on the cover - a cavalcade of gunmaking excellence that should imbue any British gun enthusiast with national pride. That the text is the work of a very respected American journalist underlines this praise and the quality of the workmanship is enhanced by the superb photography". Sporting Gun

"Venters teamed up with photographer David Grant to produce a coffee table-sized book that is so lush and lovely, so over-the-top beautiful that some have described it as gun porn...  Once inside, the photos show the range of tastes of those individuals who order these fine guns.  Some lean toward the understated elegance of game scenes - sometimes plain, sometimes etched in gold.  Others prefer elaborate rococo scrollwork and representations from classical mythology.  A personal favorite is Plate 98 of a Purdey Ultra-Round Bar 28-bore completed in 2004 and engraved by Phil Coggan.  'Raised and carved quail peer from raised leaves against a backdrop of flush inlays of multicoloured gold.'  Not quite as ornate as a Faberge Easter egg but certainly in that direction.  In addition to the stunning plates, there is gunmaker information about those currently doing business.  The detailed descriptions of three dozen producers of the British Best make for fascinating reading."  Virginia Sportsman

'David Grant is widely recognised as the dean of British gun photographers, and his striking images, nicely paired with Venters' words, celebrate the venerable tradition of British gunmaking...  The book is beautifully designed and laid out, as should be the case with a book that's intended to be a visual treat, and some aesthetic genius deserves special kudos for the endpapers, which feature the business cards of gunmakers arranged in an eye-catching way.  For lovers of fine guns, even those of us who can only look and vicariously lust when British guns are in the offing, this work is the visual equivalent of what Playboy centerfolds have long been to a quite different kind of audience - eye candy.'  Sporting Classics

'Vic Venters provides textual accompaniment to the museum-quality photography of David Grant... Venters's thoughtful words and Grant's timeless images celebrate the artistry of fine gunmaking in our time.'  Gray's Sporting Journal

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