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
  • Christoph Trechsler
  • Dresden, Germany
  • 1611 - 1612
  • Steel, copper alloy, gold, walnut, antler and wood, engraved and gilt
  • Length: 126.7 cm, overall
    Length: 99.5 cm, barrel
    Width: 1.5 cm, calibre
    Weight: 5.45 kg
  • Inscription: '1611'
    Maker's mark: Repeated
    Inscription: 'C.T.'
    Inscription: 'IS' in monogram and the date '1612'
  • A1088
  • European Armoury III
Commentary
History
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Wheel-lock rifle, the octagonal barrel widening slightly at the muzzle. A broad groove in the upper facet ends just behind the backsight. Foresight of brass. Slight engraved ornament at muzzle, breech, and by the backsight, in front of which is engraved the date 1611. At the breech is stamped a maker's mark, repeated, and the initials C.T., probably for Christoph Trechsler (see also nos. A1087, 1246).

    The lock has an external wheel encased in a cover of gilt brass engraved with birds and foliage. Cock with slight engraved ornament similar to that on the barrel, curved cocking spur ending in a small ring. The release-button for the pan-cover spring takes the form of a cherub's head in gilt brass, and another joins the screw of the cock to that securing its spring. The pan cover is not pivoted at the point where it is joined to the arm, and therefore draws back with a downward motion (see also nos. A1089 and 1093). A steel strip secured to the upper edge of the lock-plate covers the opening when the pan-cover is in the closed position.

    Stock of walnut of German fashion, with inlaid decoration of engraved antler in the form of elephants, bears, deer, etc., trophies of arms and musical instruments among curling tendrils. On the cheek-piece of the butt a finely-engraved trophy of armour and arms. Immediately in front of the lock is engraved the monogram IS and the date 1612. On the underside of the fore-part the ramrod is covered by strips of antler engraved and pierced in a guilloche pattern; at either end are plaques of solid antler carved in relief with fruit and flowers. Similar panels in relief ornament the fore-end cap, and breech-strap. The butt-trap cover is formed of one piece of antler engraved with a musketeer loading his piece. Wooden ramrod with antler top. Trigger-guard of gilt steel with finger indentations. Hair trigger.

    By Christoph Trechsler (?) of Dresden, dated 1611-2.

    De Beaumont Catalogue, pl. 12.

    Provenance: A. Beurdeley (Une magnifique carabine avec incrustations en ivoire gravé au millesime de 1612, 3.500 fr.; receipted bill, 15 February, 1867); Comte de Nieuwerkerke.

    Compare the marks on the barrel of A1087, and a rifle in the Victoria and Albert Museum, no. 2232-1855. A similar mark is on the barrels of a match-lock gun and a rifle in the Musée de l' Armée, nos. M 23 and 62, and on a wheel-lock gun in the Stuyvesant Collection, no. 173. See Støckel, p. 80.
    In 1972 C. Blair expressed doubts about the authenticity of this rifle, and particularly of the lock, which has a rotary pan-cover of a type much favoured by the Spitzer workshop (personal communication). There is, however, at present no evidence that A1088 was ever in the hands of Spitzer.
    The screw-holes in the stock are sleeved with antler, and the aperture for the lock is partly lined with it. The carving at the fore-end and on the underside near the breech is not very convincing.

    Hayward, The Art of the Gunmaker, I, 1962, pp. 283-4, pI. 15c. Illustrated in Vollon's Curiosités of 1868 (Savill, 1980).

    J. F. Hayward (loc. cit.) pointed out that the panoply of arms inlaid in the butt is copied from an engraving in the Panoplia seu armamentarium by Hans Vredeman de Vries (published by G. de Jode, 1572). A very similar gun signed by the same stock-maker is in the Kienbusch collection in the Philadelphia Museum of Art (cat., no. 642, pls. CXL and CXLI), and a similar pair of pistols in the Russell Aitken collection, formerly in the collections of F. Spitzer (1892 cat., VI, nos. 354-5 and pI. LIII) and of W. R. Hearst.