The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Crossbow
  • Juan de Encinas
  • Spain
  • c. 1550
  • Steel, walnut, horn, cord and gold, damascened and inlaid
  • Length: 87 cm
    Length: 50.1 cm, span of bow
    Weight: 2.73 kg
  • Maker's mark Stamped four times
    Maker's mark Stamped four times
    Inscription: IVADE I NCINAS'
    Signature: 'IVANDENSINAS'
  • A1035
  • European Armoury III
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Crossbow, the steel bow secured to the stock by a bridle of twisted cord. It is stamped four times with the maker's mark and inscribed:

    D O M F E R N A N D O | R E I D E R O M A N O S

    On the inner side the mark again appears four times together with the inscription:

    I V A D E | N C I N A S

    The cord remains.

    Straight, slender stock or tiller of dark walnut, rectangular in section reinforced with steel plates at the passage for the bow and alongside the lock. The groove for the bolt is inlaid with antler, the nut of the same material. In front of the nut the Imperial eagle is inlaid in steel, while behind it is a simplified shield ensigned with the Imperial bonnet and charged with a double eagle and the Golden Fleece depending below. Steel transverse lugs for a goat's-foot lever.

    Long trigger lever of square section, the base overlaid in gold with arabesque foliage, and on the underside with the signature:

    I V A N D E N S I N A S

    At the tip are traces of further gold overlaid, the right side appearing to have borne an inscription now illegible, the left a form of key pattern. To the underside of the stock is hinged a small lever, which, when unfolded, rests on the inner surface of the trigger lever like a strut, thus preventing any movement of the latter and forming a safety-catch.

    Spanish, about 1550.

    Demmin, Guide des amateurs d’Armes, 1869, p. 500; Laking, European Armour III, p. 138, fig. 939.

    Provenance: Spengel, of Munich.

    From the inscriptions on the bow, which should read DON FERNANDO REY DE LOS ROMANOS and JUAN DE ENCINAS, it would appear that this crossbow was made for Ferdinand, King of the Romans, younger brother of the Emperor Charles V, by Juan de Encinas or Ensinas. As Ferdinand became Emperor on Charles' abdication in 1558, the bow must be prior to this event. It can be compared with the crossbow of Charles V at Madrid (J 18) which is signed by Juan de la Fuente and (the stock) by Juan Hernández.
    A Spanish crossbow of this type signed: Puebla en Madrid, and dated 1582, is in the late M. Pauilhac's collection.

    The coat of arms on the stock is ensigned with the Imperial Crown. The end of the lever-trigger acts directly on the underside of the nut.

    Neither the maker nor this mark are recorded in Neue Støckel. Harmuth, Waffen- und Kostümkunde, 1982, pp. 603-4, discusses Spanish crossbows including A1035. In addition to the bow by Puebla mentioned above, there are two more by this maker in the Instituto de Valencia de Don Juan, cat., nos. 176-7. The former is dated 1580 and belonged to Don Juan de Acuña (from 1612 Marqués de Valle Cerrato); the latter is dated 1557.