The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Wheel-lock rifle with ramrod
  • Wheel-lock rifle with ramrod
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Germany
  • c. 1580 - c. 1590
  • Steel, silver, copper, gold, walnut, antler, copper alloy and wood, engraved and gilded
  • Length: 113.6 cm, overall
    Length: 87.6 cm, barrel
    Width: 1.3 cm, calibre
    Weight: 2.77 kg
  • A1083
  • European Armoury III
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Wheel-lock rifle, with an octagonal barrel of watered steel inlaid with silver in a flowing pattern. There is a foresight, but no backsight. Rifling of eight grooves.
    Lock with wheel sunk into the lock-plate and covered on the exterior with a casing of copper engraved and gilt. The surface of the lock-plate is engraved with close-set foliage. There is a safety-catch and a release button for the pan-cover catch. The spring of the dog-head is covered with a small engraved plate. The jaws of the dog-head are engraved on the outside and serrated inside.

    Walnut stock of German fashion, inlaid with hunting scenes in engraved antler, the free spaces being closely filled with a pattern of flowers and leaves in antler and stained ivory (green and yellow). On the cheek-piece is portrayed the Conversion of Saul, while on the underside of the butt is a plaque engraved with a medallion of Francis I of France. This last is part of a modern insertion. The ramrod pipes are banded with plaques of antler engraved with nude allegorical figures, including those of Justice and Love, while a plaque on the underside of the stock is engraved with a figure of Lucretia.

    The sliding cover of the butt-trap is missing. Wooden ramrod tipped with antler, engraved en suite. The trigger ends in a round knob, and the trigger-guard is indented for the fingers.

    German (possibly Saxon), about 1580-90.

    L'Art Ancien 587; Musée Rétrospectif, V, and possibly III, 368, 1865.

    Provenance: Frédéric Spitzer.

    The barrel is in the Turkish style. Compare that on a wheel-lock rifle in the Victoria and Albert Museum, no. M 612-1927.

    The touch-hole is inlaid with brass. The decoration of the lock-plate is of 17th-century type. The plate itself appears to have been cut to fit the stock. Much of the inlay of the stock appears to be 19th-century. The allegorical figures are probably based on Flemish engravings, but these have so far not been identified. The cover of the butt-trap was still present in 1865 when it was illustrated in place in L'art ancien, 587.

    Exhibited: Musée Rétrospectif, 1865, no. 1970 (Spitzer).

    The barrel appears to be a Turkish one remounted, but whether during the working life of the stock or in Spitzer's workshop is not clear.