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
  • Daniel Sadeler
  • Hieronymus Borstorffer
  • Munich, Germany
  • c. 1620
  • Steel, gold, copper alloy, snake-wood, antler, ivory and wood, blued, chiselled and gilded
  • Length: 170 cm, overall
    Weight: 5.25 kg
  • Inscription: 'H.B.'
  • A1090
  • European Armoury III
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Wheel-lock gun, the barrel of circular section, blued, and decorated with three panels of elaborate Renaissance ornament finely chiselled in low relief on a gilt ground. The compositions include at the breech a figure of Actæon, at the muzzle Bacchus, and in the middle panel, Diana. The design is further enriched by being piqué with gold dots. Between the breech panel and that midway along the barrel the surface is longitudinally ridged and fluted, the flutes gilt. Backsight and gilded brass foresight. Near the vent is an indistinct mark.

    The lock has an external wheel with flat steel casing, chiselled with swags of fruit and a trophy of arms. Lock-plate chiselled with a representation of a bear hunt. The arm of the cock is chiselled as a sea monster and the jaws as a dragon's head. The release button of the pan-cover spring shows traces of a brazed repair.

    Stock with butt of modified fish-tail form, made of snake-wood, outlined with narrow strips of ivory, and further inlaid with compositions of delicate scrollwork and foliage. On a small ivory panel below the breech-strap are engraved the initials HB, of the famous Munich stockmaker, Hieronymus Borstorffer. Trigger-guard chiselled with fruit and floral ornament, and there is similar decoration on the steel heel-plate of the butt, in the latter case within a border of scale ornament. The four screws securing the barrel to the stock pass through steel bands passing round the stock, which also form ramrod pipes. These bands are chiselled en suite with the decoration of the barrel, the raised portions being enriched with gold dots and formerly blued, the ground gilt. Wooden ramrod with moulded gilt steel tip.

    German (Munich), about 1620. By Daniel Sadeler and Hieronymus Borstorffer.
    L'Art Ancien, VIII, 980 and I, 26; Musée Rétrospectif, 1865; Lièvre, Collections célèbres, 1866, pl. IX; Musées et Collections (3rd Series); Musée Graphique, pl. X; De Beaumont Catalogue, pl. 12; Hans Stöcklein, Meister des Eisenschnittes, p. 64, pl. XXII; J. F. Hayward, Apollo, XLIV, 1946, pp. 69-70, fig. IV Hayward, Art of the gunmaker, I, 1962, pp. 172, 176 and 288, pI. 32a; Peterson, Encyclopaedia of firearms, 1964, pI. 2; Blair, Pollard's history of firearms, 1983, pI. 345.

    Provenance: Comte de Nieuwerkerke.

    Daniel Sadeler, together with his brother and co-worker, Emmanuel, was in all probability the son of Emmanuel Sadeler or de Sadeleir, a bladesmith of Antwerp. The brothers were settled in Munich about the year 1590, and by 1600 were in high favour with the Electoral court, and many of their finest pieces, of which A1090 may be one, were executed for the personal use of the members of the Bavarian ruling house or as presentation pieces. Emmanuel died in 1610, Daniel surviving him until about 1633, when he died, probably of the plague. Three pistols in this collection, nos. A1154-6, are also the work of Daniel Sadeler. A gun from his hand, very similar to A1090, and with stock by Borstorffer, is in the Waddeson Bequest, British Museum, and further examples are in the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Musée de l' Armée (no. M 148); in the Royal Armoury, Turin (no. M 11, made for Maximilian I of Bavaria); the Metropolitan Museum, New York (nos. 14, 25, 1396-7); the Hofjagd- und Rüstkammer at Vienna (D 86, D 209); and in the collection of M. Paul Corbin, exhibited at Berlin in the Hunting Exhibition, 1937.

    Hieronymus Borstorffer, the stockmaker of A1090, as also of pistol A1154, stocked many guns for the Sadelers, his work being always remarkable for restraint and refinement of technique. He was working in Munich from about 1595 to his death in 1637. Examples of his work are to be found in the Hofjagd- und Rüstkammer at Vienna (D 86); in the Bayr. National Museum, Munich (C.S. 16); and four examples are in the Metropolitan Museum, New York. There are also the guns in the Waddeson Bequest and the Musée de l' Armée, referred to above. See also A1084.

    Exhibited: Musée Rétrospectif, 1865, no. 1965 (Nieuwerkerke, ex- Pourtalès collection).

    Provenance: Comte de Pourtalès-Gorgier; a receipt from the Cassette Particuliere de I'Empereur shows that this gun, having been purchased by the Emperor from the Comte de Pourtalès-Gorgier, was ceded to Nieuwerkerke for 9135 fr. on 17 June 1865 (archives of the Collection).

    See Schedelmann, 1972, p. 67 for a list of the works of Borstorffer; p. 56 for the works of Emanuel Sadeler; and pp. 72-3 for those of his brother Daniel. The pieces in the Hunting Exhibition in Berlin in 1937 were nos. 281 and 282.
    J. F. Hayward (op. cit., p. 172) compared the workmanship of A1090 with that of a gun in the British Museum (Waddesdon Bequest, 1927, cat., no. 8). He came to the conclusion that they could both date before 1610 and could therefore equally be the work of either Emanuel or Daniel Sadeler. Borstorffer's mark is N. Støckel, I, p. 126, no. c87. He was received as Master in the Gunmakers' Guild of Munich in 1598, and made his first delivery to the Bavarian court in 1604. In 1609 he had an un-named son working with him. From 1598 to 1616 he lived in 'der engen Gasse' in Munich, and thereafter in the 'Schaffergasse'. He probably died in 1637 or early in 1638.