The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Crossbow
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Germany
  • c. 1520
  • Whalebone, cane, wood, antler, parchment, paint, cord, leather, steel, incised
  • Length: 72.5 cm
    Length: 63.7 cm, span of bow
    Weight: 2.17 kg
  • A1034
  • European Armoury III
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Crossbow , with a composite bow built up of layers of cane and whalebone, covered with parchment painted to imitate fish-skin with a double band of scrolled foliage along the top. It is bound to the stock with cord and plaited leather thongs; steel loop at the top; bow string of twisted cord.

    Stock or tiller of wood veneered with longitudinal strips of antler incised with lines; there is a slot at the top for a movable foresight (now missing); it has a revolving nut, is pierced with a steel bar for the claw of the cranequin, and has a long steel trigger.

    German, about 1520.

    Provenance: Henry Courant (1 arbalette avec cranken (?) gravé, 600 fr.; receipted bill, 14 July, 1869); Comte de Nieuwerkerke.

    For the construction of the composite bow, see Baron de Cosson and J. Clements in Archaeologia, LIII, 1893, pp. 453-59, and D. Rhode in Z.H.W.K., XVI, 1940, p. 53.

    The lever-trigger acts directly on the back of the nut.