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
  • 1563 (stock)
    c. 1620 (barrel and lock)
  • Steel, silver, walnut, antler and wood, blackened and engraved
  • Length: 117.8 cm, overall
    Length: 87.8 cm, barrel
    Width: 1.4 cm, calibre
    Weight: 3.99 kg
  • A1094
  • European Armoury III
Commentary
History
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Wheel-lock rifle, with an octagonal barrel decorated along its entire length with heavy incrustations of floral ornament and cherubs' heads, the ground stippled and blackened (see also A1091, 1164). Near the breech is the figure of Justice, and at a point midway along the barrel, the Imperial eagle. The backsight is missing. Rifling of eight grooves.

    Lock with partly sunken wheel covered by a steel case. Both this and the lock-plate are ornamented with silver incrustations of foliage with feathery leaves en suite with the barrel. The cock has a pyrites-guard pierced and roughly engraved with a monster, and a cocking spur terminating in a disc-shaped button.

    Stock of German fashion, made of Italian walnut, heavily inlaid with engraved antler. On the forward part are hunting scenes, and the plaque covering the ramrod socket is engraved with a figure of Truth. On the cheek-piece of the butt is a representation of the Triumph of Bacchus, and on the opposite side amorini jousting from the backs of sea horses. On the underside is an armoured figure and scenes of Temptation and Fall. On the base of the butt is a female figure (? Fortitude) and the engraved date 1563. Steel protective knob and butt-trap with sliding cover. Indented steel trigger-guard incrusted with silver decoration. Wooden ramrod, the antler tip missing.

    German: stock, dated 1563; barrel and lock, about 1620.

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

    Provenance: Frédéric Spitzer.

    Barrels of this type, incrusted with silver decoration, belong to the group described under A1164.

    The barrel and fore-stock each appear to be joined near their outer ends.

    Diefenthal, 'Typical firearms forgeries. . .' American Society of Arms Collectors Bulletin, 28, 1973, fig. 16, but wrongly captioned.

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

    This weapon was examined on a number of occasions by F. Hayward and C. Blair. They concluded that the encrusting of the barrel was slightly dubious, while the inlay of the stock was probably 19th-century; the cock and the lock were probably 18th-century, the latter cut to fit; the encrusting of the lock-plate was certainly 19th-century; and a new bridle had been fitted to the axle-tree.

    N. di Carpegna has compared the decoration of the barrel with that on four others, three at Vienna (Hofjagd- und Rüstkammer, inv. nos. D98, D99, and Dll) and one in the Odescalchi collection, Rome (inv. no. 1527; Carpegna, Firearms, 1975, no. 19, n. 4 on p. 84).