The Wallace Collection

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Hunting trousse
  • Hunting trousse
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Solingen, Germany
  • 1732
  • Steel, bronze, gold, wood and velvet, engraved, etched and gilded
  • Length: 50.8 cm
    Length: 37 cm, clever blade
    Weight: 3.36 kg, complete
  • Inscription: 'GEORGE . FRIDERICH . CARL . MARCH . BRANDENBVR'
    Inscription: 'G . F . C . M . Z . B'
    Inscription: '1732'
    Incised mark: Remains of a cutler's mark
  • A703
  • European Armoury III
Commentary
History
Further Reading
  • Set of eviscerating instruments (Ger. waldpraxe or Fr. trousse de chasse), consisting of a large knife, sheath and six small knives and other implements.
    Large knife: the handle of gilt bronze is cast in the form of a stag attacked by a hound; broad heavy back-edged blade that could be used as a cleaver, increasing in width from 5.6 cm at the hilt to 9.1 cm at the point, a deep flute running the whole length near the back. The surface is etched and fully gilt with the crowned arms of Brandenburg mantled, and surrounded by a ribbon inscribed:

    GEORG . FRIDERICH . CARL . MARCH . BRANDENBVR

    Immediately above the shield are the initials:

    G . F . C . M . Z . B

    with below, the date:

    1732

    Scabbard of wood covered with red velvet and heavily mounted in gilt bronze, chased and engraved with sporting subjects, cast, pierced, and gilt; at the back two loops for suspension.

    Implements: these, six in number, have handles of gilt bronze cast and chased in the form of the heads and fore-quarters of hounds, and consist of three knives, two with the base of the blades etched and gilt with scrollwork and a stag, and the third with a bird. A fourth knife has a plain blade with the remains of a cutler's mark. There are also a bodkin and a file, from the end of which some implement is missing.

    German, blade probably Solingen, dated 1732

    Blackmore, Hunting Weapons, 1971, pI. 57. Provenance: Georg Friedrich Carl, Markgraf of Brandenburg-Culmbach (b. 1688, succeeded 1726, d. 1735). His son, Friedrich, Markgraf of Bayreuth, married in 1731 Sophia Frederika Wilhelmina, eldest sister of Frederick the Great, King of Prussia, and Elector of Brandenburg.

    Upon the blade was pasted an extract from a sale catalogue (since removed and preserved)

    '167 A SPLENDID COUTEAU DE CHASSE, enriched with chased ormolu emblems of the Chase, and scabbard with 6 implements, the arms of Brandenburg are engraved and gilt on the blade; stated to have been given by Frederic the Great of Prussia to Prince Charles Edward Stuart as a gage d' Amitié.

    On this is written in ink: 'From Charles Edward Stuart Count d' Albaine's sale. Bought May 188-(or 185-?).'

    The sale referred to above has yet to be identified, but it is very possible that this trousse belonged to one Charles Edward Stuart (1799?– 1880), brother of John Sobieski Stolberg Stuart, who had adopted the title of Count Albany in 1770. The brothers' real name was Allan, which they changed in 1829 to Stuart Allan, and in 1841 to Allan Stuart. Their pretension was based on the supposed birth of a son to the Countess of Albany in 1773. The brothers wrote Costume of the Clans, Lays of the Deer Forest, and formed a collection of Scottish relics.

    A very similar trousse belonging to Augustus the Strong is at Dresden.
    (Schöbel and Karpinski, Jagdwaffen, 1976, pI. 49). The sale referred to is that of Charles Edward Sobieski Stuart, self-styled Count d' Albanie, held at Foster's, London, 12 May 1881. No. A703 was lot 167 and was bought by Frederick Davis for £75-12-0 (marked catalogue in the Library of the Victoria and Albert Museum).

    According to tradition, when Prince Charles Edward applied to Frederick the Great for military aid to regain his father's rights, the Prussian King sent him a hunting knife as a hint that he should confine his activities to the chase. Another trousse thought to have belonged to Prince Charles Edward is in the collection at Abbotsford formed by Sir Walter Scott (M. M. Maxwell Scott and W. Gibb, Abbotsford, the personal relics and antiquarian treasures of Sir Walter Scott, 1893, pI. XXIII).