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
  • South Germany
  • c. 1610
  • Steel, gold, walnut, antler and wood, etched, gilded and engraved
  • Length: 104.5 cm, overall
    Length: 80 cm, barrel
    Width: 1.3 cm, calibre
    Weight: 3.06 kg
  • A1085
  • European Armoury III
Commentary
History
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Wheel-lock rifle, the octagonal barrel etched for its entire length with guilloche ornament and running foliage, while the top facet is decorated with arabesques broken at intervals by small cartouches containing figures in classical costume, showing traces of gilding. There are no sights, though there are signs that a groove for a backsight has at one time existed and been filled in. Rifling of eight grooves.

    Lock with external wheel and ring-shaped bearing-plate. The surface of the lock-plate is entirely etched and gilt, with arabesque decoration including winged monsters.

    Stock of Italian walnut, the butt delicately curved on the underside. It is
    decorated with antler inlays of hunting scenes, animals and monsters, while on the side opposite to the lock a mounted archer is in combat with a lion. The two ramrod pipes of antler are engraved with full-length, male figures in Polish and Western European costume. Wooden ramrod tipped with antler. Trigger-guard with a long spur to serve as a finger rest, with an acorn finial. The trigger is missing.

    South German, about 1610.

    L'Art Ancien, IV. 574 and III, 368; Musée Rétrospectif, 1865.

    Provenance: Frédéric Spitzer.

    The antiquity of the etching on the barrel and lock has been doubted.
    The lock-plate has a fleur-de-lys apparently stamped on it, possibly as a mark of some sort.

    Exhibited: although Spitzer is credited in the caption of L'art ancien with the ownership of this rifle, it cannot be identified among the pieces he exhibited in the Musée Rétrospectif, 1865.

    In 1963 J. F. Hayward expressed grave doubts about whether this rifle was homogeneous. He was convinced that the barrel was associated.