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
  • Family of Erttel (active between: c. 1670 - c. 1750)
  • Netherlands and Dresden, Germany
  • 1624 and c. 1680 (stock and barrel)
    1680 (lock)
  • Steel, mother-of-pearl, copper alloy and wood, engraved, pierced and chiselled
  • Length: 154 cm, overall
    Length: 122.5 cm, barrel
    Width: 1.9 cm, calibre
    Weight: 6.15 kg
  • Inscription: '1624'
    Inscription: 'ANTE FERIT QVAM FLAMMA MICET' 'It strikes before the flash is seen'
    Stamp: A mark
    Inscription: 'ERTTEL A DRESDEN'
  • A1112
  • European Armoury III
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Large wheel-lock gun, the octagonal barrel flaring slightly at the muzzle, the upper plane bearing the date 1624 and the fire-steel motto of the Order of the Golden Fleece:


    ('It strikes before the flash is seen')

    The planes on either side of the inscription are engraved with running scrollwork. Backsight and large scroll-shaped foresight pierced with two lateral holes. A mark is stamped on the underside.

    Lock with interior wheel, the lock-plate being bossed out to receive it. The cock and the plate covering the ends of the cock spring are pierced and chiselled with dolphins. Lock-plate with engraved borders inscribed:


    Stock with combed butt, profusely inlaid with oval plaques of mother-of-pearl, those on the butt being engraved with horsemen and architectural subjects, those on the fore-end with architectural subjects, hares and hounds. The intervening spaces are filled with small mother-of-pearl inlays engraved as fruit and flowers, and ending with scrolls of brass wire. Brass heel-plate, steel trigger-guard engraved with foliage. Wooden ramrod, the tip inlaid en suite with brass and mother-of-pearl.

    Stock and barrel, Dutch, dated 1624; lock, German (Dresden), about 1680.

    The brass heel-plate is 19th-century.

    The motto occurs on a coin of Philip IV, dated 1626, and this gun may possibly have been used in the Spanish Netherlands.

    The lock does not belong, the gun having probably originally been fitted with a match-lock. Match-lock guns of this type are not uncommon and examples (unconverted) with the same shape of stock and decoration are in the Musée de l' Armée; the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (Henderson Bequest and Stead Loan); and another, converted to flint-lock, is in the Royal Armouries, inv. no. XII. 46. Two others of the same type, both match-locks, are in the Royal Armouries (from Norton Hall, with merchant's mark) and in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.

    For a note on the Ertel family, see A1201-2.

    A comparable musket, also dated 1624 and also converted, but with a wheel-lock made in Haarlem, is in the Tøjhusmuseum, Copenhagen (cat., no. B319; Kist, Puype and van der Sloot, 1974, figs. 9-10). A similar barrel dated 1611, also with the same motto, but fitted with an Amsterdam match-lock, is in the K. Livrustkammar, Stockholm (no. 11673; Kist, Puype and van der Sloot, op. cit.. figs. 14-16). G. M. Wilson described a comparable musket in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, giving a list of further examples (MacGregor, 1983, p. 194, no. 87, n. 20).

    It is not clear whether the upper corner of the stock has been rounded off and reinforced to compensate for damage done by grounding arms too violently, or, as Wilson suggested, to give a somewhat old-fashioned stock a more up-to-date profile (op. cit., p. 195). In the Duchess of Kingston's sale, at Thoresby Hall, Nottinghamshire, Christie's, 16 -23 June 1789, lot 70 on the 6th day was 'One ditto (i.e. pair of rifled barrel short guns) by Ektell (sic) of Dresden'.