The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Wheel-lock gun with ramrod
  • Wheel-lock gun with ramrod
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Germany
  • c. 1590 and late 18th century
  • Steel, copper alloy, gold, wood and antler, engraved and gilded
  • Length: 93.3 cm, overall
    Length: 65.5 cm, barrel
    Weight: 3.95 kg
  • Maker's mark: Several marks
  • A1078
  • European Armoury III
Commentary
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Wheel-lock gun, the barrel octagonal at the breech and broadening to a muzzle of flattened, bell-mouthed shape. Large brass foresight. Makers' marks stamped on the underside.

    Lock with external wheel bordered with a casing of brass engraved and gilt. There is a spring pan-cover catch, the button of which takes the form of a lion's mask of gilt brass, and an applied ornament with a female bust also in brass, chased, pierced and gilt is applied to a small plate which joins the pivot screw of the dog-head to the screw securing the spring of the cock. There is a safety-catch. The engraved cock may be of slightly later date than the lock.

    Stock of German fashion, closely inlaid with antler in close-set pattern of interlaced strapwork, interspersed at intervals with birds and animals, including monkeys, an elephant and a camel. On the underside of the fore-end a long plaque is engraved with a hunting scene, and behind this another engraved with a figure of Fortune. The sliding cover of the butt-trap is engraved with a soldier in the costume of the late 16th century bearing a flag, and on a plaque on the heel of the butt is another military figure holding an arquebus.

    Trigger-guard indented for the fingers, and trigger with screw adjustment to regulate the pull-off. Wooden ramrod tipped at either end with antler.

    German (probably Saxon), about 1590.

    An early example of the blunderbuss.

    The close-set ornament of the stock is frequently found on German wheel-lock arms of this kind, and represents a definite style at present unidentified. See also nos. A1091, 1139-40, 1144.

    Some of the decoration of the lock appears to be 19th-century. There is a vertical join about half-way along the fore-stock which is more noticeable on the right side. The stock was x-rayed by the Conservation Department of the Courtauld Institute in May 1968. In front of the join the stock proved to be impervious to x-ray; the portion behind the join was not. This adaptation was presumably made to accept the flared end of the barrel which comes from an Austrian Cavalry musketoon Model of 1781. Blackmore, Guns and Rifles of the World, 1965, fig. 112; Baxter, Blunderbusses, 1970, pI. 4; Diefenthal, "Typical firearms forgeries...", American Society of Arms Collectors Bulletin, 28, 1973, fig. 12. Stocks inlaid with antler with very tightly scrolled strapwork inhabited by small birds and animals, as on no. A1078, are often ascribed to a workshop in Wasungen in Thuringia. The evidence of a single stock decorated in this style and signed there, is insufficient to attribute others to this town (see also under no. A1144).