The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Stone-bow
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Italy
  • c. 1580
  • Steel, gold and yew, chiselled, blued and overlaid
  • Length: 103 cm
    Length: 56.6 cm, span of bow
    Weight: 1.68 kg
  • A1044
  • European Armoury III
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Stone-bow or prodd, with a plain steel bow, the double string with sling remaining in good preservation. Apart from the bow, all the steelwork is chased and overlaid with gold on a darkened ground.

    Slender, baluster-shaped foresight pillars; arched, pivoted backsight; the side members chiselled with masks.

    Stock or tiller of yew with curved neck, the whole decorated with carving in low relief. The forepart terminates in a wolf's head, the neck is ornamented on the sides with female monsters on either side of a heart-shaped shield, on the top a band of rosettes and a cartouche charged with a bull's head cabossed and encircled with the collar of the Golden Fleece. On the underside is a carved mask of Pan. The rest of the stock is carved on the sides with bands of rosettes, strapwork, and guilloche ornament, a dragon is carved in the round from the same piece of wood as the stock surface between the sight and the butt. The butt is of flattened mushroom form.

    The bow-string catch ends in a grotesque mask with open mouth, of which the projecting end of the trigger forms the tongue. The side plates, to which the bow-string catch is hinged, take the form of oval cartouches chiselled in low relief with classical figures. Trigger-lever with scrolled end, the fort part chiselled as a caryatid figure.

    Italian, about 1580.

    Blackmore, Hunting weapons, 1971, pI. 77, Skelton II, pl. XCVIII, fig. 1;

    Laking, European Armour III, p. 142; figs. 943, 944.

    Provenance: Sir Samuel Meyrick; Frédéric Spitzer.

    The arms are those of Baron Wratislaw II von Pernstein, Grand Chancellor of Bohemia (1530-82). He received the Order of the Golden Fleece in 1555.
    In the German Historical Museum, Berlin, is a wheel-lock pistol, the barrel of which is entirely decorated with etching which includes the same coat of arms as on A1044, and is inscribed: Wladislaus Herr von Beerestein. It is said to be dated 1539.