The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Crossbow
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Flanders
  • mid 17th century
  • Steel, wood, copper alloy, gold and horn, engraved and gilded
  • Length: 103.5 cm
    Length: 67.3 cm, span of bow
    Weight: 5.87 kg
  • Maker's mark Stamped in three places
  • A1039
  • European Armoury III
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Windlass crossbow, the strong steel bow stamped in three places with a maker's mark. The cord remains.
    Stock of dark wood, furnished with a steel stirrup at the forward end, grooved for the bolt, and at the rear deeply slotted and reinforced with brass for a windlass. Antler nut. There is a curved, steel spring to hold the end of the bolt in place. The underside of the stock has a large projection in the centre to provide a firm grip for the left hand. The edges are outlined with fine lines of antler.
    Bridle of steel overlaid with brass plates; these are en suite with the brass supports to the trigger-guard, both are engraved with ornament and formerly gilt. On the left bridle plate is a figure of Minerva, and on the right, Diana, surrounded by running foliage and small satyrs, animals and terminal figures. Each strap is finished at the rear tip with a small, flat plate pierced with floral ornament. The forward trigger-guard support is engraved with figures of Mars on one side and on the other Cupid hunting, with two captives, among foliage, birds, animals and insects; the rear plate has a trophy of arms and two Tritons blowing conch-shells. The remainder of the trigger-guard is of steel. The brass butt-plate is engraved with foliage and a butterfly.

    The lock is cocked by pressing a button or lever which projects on the upper side of the stock. Between this and the nut is a transverse groove from which some part is missing, possibly a peepsight. Behind the cocking button is a kidney-shaped, stag's horn projection with probably served as a grip for the right thumb.

    Flemish, mid-17th century.