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
  • Pierre Le Bourgeois (+1627)
  • France
  • c. 1615 - c. 1625
  • Steel, gold, walnut, copper alloy, silver, mother-of-pearl, ivory and whalebone, gilded, overlaid and engraved
  • Length: 111.2 cm, overall
    Length: 79.5 cm, barrel
    Width: 1.4 cm, calibre
    Weight: 2.29 kg
  • Maker's mark: 'P.B.'
    Stamp: '61'
    Stamp: '200'
  • A1110
  • European Armoury III
Commentary
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Wheel-lock gun, with a barrel which is round in section save for a flattened plane along the line of sight. The surface is darkened and overlaid with arabesques in gold at breech and muzzle. Fore- and backsights. At the breech is stamped a maker's mark which resembles that on A1176.
    Lock of French type with external wheel. Release button for the pan-cover catch. The outer edge of the wheel and the bevelled edges of the lock-plate have finely-notched borders. The retaining stud for the wheel is gilt. There is no further decoration.

    Slightly combed stock of walnut, inlaid with scrolls in brass and silver wire, and with small plaques of mother-of-pearl, shaped and engraved as buds and flowers. Behind the breech-strap is a sunk ivory medallion carved in relief with a bust of a Roman warrior. At the base of the fore-end is stamped the number 61, and on the left of the breech-strap 200. The screw-plate, which also acts as a bearing-plate for the wheel-spindle, is engraved with foliage and gilt. The mounts are of plain steel, save for two brass ramrod pipes. Whalebone ramrod with ivory tip and steel ferrule threaded for a worm.

    French (by Pierre Le Bourgeois of Lisieux), about 1615-25.

    Lenk, Flintlåset, 1939, pls. 13, 3 and 4. Dr. Lenk attributes this gun to the hand of Jean Le Bourgeois of Lisieux, though the initials incorporated in the mark appear in this case to be P.B. rather than I.B.

    The decoration of the stock is in the same style as that of pistol A1176. As the inventory number stamped upon it shows, this gun, like the latter and A1111, was originally in the possession of the Royal House of France. Under no. 61 the Inventaire du Mobilier de la Couronne reads: Une arquebuse de 3 pieds 4 pouces, le canon rond, un petit pam tout au long doré en couleur d'eau, le rouet tout uny, montée sur un bois rouge orne de quelques fleurons d'argent, de cuivre et de nacre de perle; il y a aux deux costez de la crosse deux L couronnées. The crowned L's are no longer visible on the stock. They were perhaps engraved on the two oval plaques of mother-of-pearl on either side of the butt.

    Kennard, French pistols and sporting guns, 1972, p. 19; Hayward, 'Further notes on the invention of the flintlock', in Held, Art, Arms and Armour, 1979, pp. 238-51, no. 8, figs. 23-5, attributed to Pierre Le Bourgeois, but accidentally captioned as being by Jean Le Bourgeois.

    The mark on the barrel is N. Støckel, I, p. 132, no. b 7135, ascribed to Pierre Le Bourgeois of Lisieux, brother of the better known Jean (see under A1176 here) and Marin. He is described in the Archives of Lisieux as an 'armurier' and was reported to be dead in 1627 (C. Blair, letter of 2 July 1962, attributing A1110 to him). Louis XIII owned at least two other pieces by him, a wheel-lock gun, no. 93 in the Royal Inventory, and a flint-lock gun, no. 134 in the Inventory, now in the Metropolitan Museum, New York (no. 1972.233; Hayward, op. cit., respectively no. 9, figs. 26-8, and no. 7, figs. 18-22). A pair of pistols with barrels marked in this way are also in the Metropolitan Museum, no. 19.53.13-14 (Hayward, op. cit.. no. 10. figs. 29 and 30).