Whenever chequering first appeared around the 1770s, it tended to be large and square. It was often coarse, too, with the chequering lines deliberately overrunning the squares. Such chequering is known a “square chequering” and immediately gives a late 18th-century look to a gun.
The squares were often so big that they were infilled with a single dot to give extra grip. Such dot chequering certainly looks very handsome but must have been quite time consuming to create, getting the dots exactly in the centre of the squares.
Some of the better makers like John Manton and Durs Egg went further than this and inserted four dots. The actual chequering itself was far deeper that we are used to today but the use of the dots certainly gave a gun or pistol a very stylish look.
Towards the end of the 18th century, everything on sporting guns was refined: smaller locks, finer engraving, and, with this general trend, chequering was refined as well. The old coarse chequering with dots disappeared to be replaced with the finer, simple diamond pattern that we’re all familiar with today.
A flintlock sporting gun by John Twigg c.1785 with dot chequering.