Holland & Holland 'The Royal' Gunmaker

Holland & Holland 'The Royal' Gunmaker

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This superb new edition brings the history of the firm right up to date, beautifully illustrated with new photographs included and new appendices added


In May 1885, Holland & Holland advertised their new trade mark, ‘The Royal’ – intended to apply to their best guns and rifles only. ‘Royal’ guns and rifles have been in production since that date, the choice of the name symbolising the excellence of the firm’s output.

And yet, gunmaking played no part in the early history of Holland & Holland. The founder of the firm, Harris Holland was a musician and entrepreneur with an interest in live pigeon shooting. Turning this interest into a business venture, he began to retail guns in the 1830’s. His nephew Henry Holland joined the business in 1860 and made an outstanding contribution to the field of gunmaking with 47 patents to his name. Several of these inventions are still in use today – the 1883 Royal hammerless action, the 1904 belted rimless cartridge case and the 1922 self-opening mechanism. In 1876 the uncle and the nephew created a partnership and Holland & Holland was born. By this time rifle making had become the speciality of the firm, their prowess at this obvious to all after winning every class in The Field rifle trials of 1883.

The 20th century saw the firm’s tradition of innovation and experiment continue. Henry Holland’s son, Jack Holland, a decorated officer of World War One. ran the firm in the difficult years pre and post World War Two. Following on from his death in 1957, the Holland family interest in the business declined and from the early 1960’s, new owners in a fresh approach, continued to expand, research and produce very high quality sporting guns and rifles revered throughout the world.

Several appendices will be of great interest to enthusiasts and owners. All 51 patents are described, the dating of Holland serial numbers is given from 1855 to the present day, all the trade labels are illustrated and the rifle cartridges developed and introduced are examined in detail.

This brand new 2nd edition brings the history of the firm right up to date. A considerable number of new photos have been included and new appendices added. This book is written with the full approval and co-operation of Holland & Holland and is the authoritative history of the company.


This is Donald Dallas’s 11th book on the history of gunmaking. He is by profession a teacher of history, his particular interest being the history of the British sporting gun and rifle. His previous books include Boss & Co, Builder of Best Guns Only; James Purdey & Sons, Gun and Rifle Makers; The British Sporting Gun, Pursuit of Perfection 1850–1900; Charles Gordon, Magnificent Madness; David McKay Brown, Scotland’s Gun and Rifle Manufacturer andJohn Dickson & Son, The Round Action Gunmaker.

After the first edition of this book was published in 2003, Donald continued to research Holland & Holland and gather new material. After this edition sold out, the firm asked him to use this research to produce a brand new second edition.

Book Specifications

Additional Information

Sub Heading The Complete History New Edition
ISBN 9781846892028
Author Donald Dallas
Binding Casebound
Extent 310 x 250mm, 440 pages
Illustrations Colour throughout
Ebook No

'The revised edition of Holland & Holland: The Royal Gunmaker is arguably the best of its type in Dallas's series on individual gunmakers. It also is the one the author rightly describes as the "most comprehensive". Game and Gun Gazette


'Current aficionados of British guns and those of future generations can thank Dallas for the originality of his research and for his writing skills—and for the tenacity with which he tackles subjects that otherwise would be lost to time.' Shooting Sportsman 

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