Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia (1729-1796) was born Sophie von Anhalt-Zerbst and was the child of a Prussian Prince. At age 15, she was invited to Russia to meet and later marry the next heir to the Russian throne, Peter III of the Romanov family.
In early 1762, Peter III assumed the throne, but his position was fleeting. In the first six months of his reign, he was essentially overthrown and arrested by his bride. On July 9th of the same year, Peter was forced to abdicate the throne.
This flintlock blunderbuss was made at Russia’s Imperial Arms Factory in Tula at the behest of Catherine the Great. It’s inlaid with gold and features the royal arms of France and a silver inlaid engraving of a portrait bust of King Louis XV of France.
We cannot confirm the specific reason for the gift, but it was made around the time that Russia and France concluded an alliance to defeat the Kingdom of Prussia.
Embellished arms always have been a popular symbol of peace and cooperation between countries.