The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Crossbow
  • Crossbow
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Germany
  • late 16th century
  • Steel, wood, cord, silk, horn, engraved and inlaid
  • Length: 69 cm
    Length: 65.4 cm, span of bow
    Weight: 4.43 kg
  • A1037
  • European Armoury III
Commentary
Further Reading
  • Crossbow, the bow of steel with loop for suspension above; it is bound to the stock with plaited cord decorated with the remains of silk tassels of dark blue or green; bow-string of twisted cord.

    Bulky stock or tiller of light wood, resembling pear-wood, the sides inlaid with mother-of-pearl and veneered on the upper and undersides with antler, rather crudely engraved with figures of crossbowmen: one shooting at a popinjay, another spanning a crossbow with a cranequin, and on the sides are inlaid figures shooting at ground game; upon the butt-plate is the figure of a lady seated, and there are numerous masks, heads and bands of ornament. The fore-sight does not permit of transverse movement, and there is a hinged aperture-backsight of steel which can be adjusted both vertically and horizontally; horn nut over which a spring of horn is fitted– the use of this was to prevent the bow-string slipping off the quarrel when it was strung; steel pin for the claw of the cranequin, hinged trigger, safety-catch and trigger-guard.

    German, late 16th century.

    Possibly L'art ancien, III, 368 (Spitzer).