The Wallace Collection

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Wheel-lock rifle with ramrod
  • Wheel-lock rifle with ramrod
  • Christoph Trechsler , (barrel)
  • Dresden, Germany and Nuremberg, Germany
  • c. 1600
  • Steel, gold, antler and wood, gilded, engraved, etched, damascened and blued
  • Length: 123.5 cm, overall
    Length: 95.5 cm, barrel
    Width: 1.4 cm, calibre
    Weight: 4.595 kg
  • Maker's mark
    Inscription: 'C.T.'
    Stamp: A mark
    Stamp: Nuremberg mark
    Maker's mark
  • A1087
  • European Armoury III
Commentary
History
Further Reading
  • Wheel-lock rifle, the octagonal barrel, decorated throughout its length with gilt ornament, the top plane is chiselled with the heads of Roman emperors in very low relief and gilt, the intervening spaces filled with fruit and scrollwork, deeply engraved and gilt; the planes on either side are overlaid in gold with strips of vase and flower ornament, the ground throughout blued. At the breech are stamped a maker's mark repeated, and the initials C.T. (of Christoph Trechsler), while a third mark is stamped on the underside. The breech ends in a raised band. Rifling of twelve grooves. There are no sights.

    The lock has an external wheel entirely enclosed in a steel case decorated en suite with the barrel, there is a safety-catch and a release button for the pan-cover spring. Lock-plate decorated with a lightly-etched and gilt design of floral arabesques and exotic birds on a blued ground, and stamped with the mark of Nuremberg, and a maker's mark. The inner curve of the arm of the cock is filled with tracery, pierced and engraved with a design of sea monsters, and the jaws are overlaid in gold with floral arabesques en suite with the barrel. Similar gold overlaid ornament on pan- and safety-catch; the ground throughout blued.

    Stock of German fashion, inlaid with ornament in engraved antler. On the fore-end are hunting scenes and on the butt figures in the costume of the late 16th century, playing musical instruments. A large antler plaque at the ramrod socket is engraved with the figure of a gentleman in contemporary dress. Between this and the trigger-guard is a representation of Judith, underneath the butt another of Lucretia. The butt-trap has a sliding cover of antler engraved with a second male figure in the dress of the time. The antler heel-plate has a round, steel knob and is engraved with a lady and gentleman walking hand in hand accompanied by a dog. Indented trigger-guard of gilt steel. Trigger with screw adjustment. Wooden ramrod with antler tip.

    Barrel by Christoph Trechsler of Dresden, about 1600; lock, Nuremberg.

    Exhibited: Musée Rétrospectif , 1865, no. 1968 (Spitzer).

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

    Provenance: Frédéric Spitzer.

    For other examples of Trechsler's work, see nos. A1088, 1246. The mark on the lock is similar to that on the lock of a pistol in the Doge's Palace, Venice (Lucia, no. 109), and on an all-steel, double-barrelled pistol in the Castel di Sant' Angelo at Rome, and compare also the mark inside a rectangular shield stamped on the lock of a pistol in the von Berchtold sale, Cologne, 1898, lot 492.

    The first two marks on the barrel are Støckel, I, pp. 306-7, nos. a 260 and b 259 respectively. Christoph I Dressier, or Tressler, maker of gun-barrels and instruments in Dresden, is recorded from 1571 to 1624. He was the son of Lorenz Dressier, gun and instrument maker, and brother of Baltasar I also a gunmaker. He is known to have been working for Duke Wilhelm V of Brunswick in 1587. His son, Christoph II, was probably the man who signed a pair of pistols in Vienna (Hofjagd- und Rüstkammer, inv. nos. A1472-3; Schedelmann, 1972, p. 152 and pI. XXI).

    The third mark on the barrel is N. Støckel, II, p. 1418, no. a 3652, about which nothing appears to be known.

    The maker's mark on the lock-plate is very similar to N. Støckel, II, p. 1251, no. b 3585, ascribed to Nuremberg about 1585.

    J. F. Hayward examined this rifle on a number of occasions and concluded that the overlay both of the barrel, which he felt was, in any case, associated, and of the lock were 19th-century, but that the rather worn etching on the lock-plate was original.