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
  • Attributed to Luca Belli (1595 - 1637)
  • Italy
  • c. 1640 and 19th century
    19th century (chiselling of the barrel and the carving on the stock)
  • Steel, walnut and wood, chiselled, engraved and carved
  • Length: 117.7 cm, overall
    Length: 84.6 cm, barrel
    Width: 1.5 cm, calibre
    Weight: 2.385 kg
  • Maker's mark
  • A1113
  • European Armoury III
Commentary
History
Further Reading
  • Wheel-lock gun, the barrel octagonal at the breech, then polygonal, the former section chiselled in low relief with acanthus and guilloche ornament. A ridge at the base of the breech is incised with a sighting notch, steel foresight.

    Lock. External wheel with ring-shaped bearing-plate chiselled with acanthus foliage, the wheel lightly engraved with floral ornament. Duplicate cocks with baluster-shaped arms, the necks chiselled with acanthus foliage, the jaws similarly engraved. The lower jaw of the rear cock does not exactly match that of the front, as it is not engraved, and has different mouldings. Both pan and cover chiselled with acanthus ornament. Lock-plate quite plain and free from decoration. On the inner side is a maker's mark.

    Stock of Italian walnut, richly carved in relief. Slender butt, on either side of which is an oblong cartouche, one showing a combat and the other a siege with an artilleryman in the foreground; another between the lock-screws is circular in shape, and contains a duel of two armed warriors. In front of the trigger-guard are two putti carved in high relief, and at the ramrod socket a dragon assailed by two lions. The single ramrod pipe is in one piece with the stock, and is carved and pierced with flowers and foliage springing from a vase. The rest of the carving consists of flowing scrolls, foliage and acanthus decoration. Steel heel-plate chiselled with a grotesque mask, and furnished with a small steel protective knob. Trigger-guard chiselled with two masks and bordered with leaves, the centre being filled with a panel minutely chiselled with a terminal figure and interlaced foliage in very low relief.

    Wooden ramrod with steel, baluster-shaped tip.

    Italian (probably Brescian), about 1640.

    L'Art Ancien, III, 368, IV, 574; Musée Rétrospectif, 1865.

    Provenance: Frédéric Spitzer.

    Gaibi, Armi da fuoco, 1962, pl. 31; Blackmore, Guns and Rifles of the World, 1965, fig. 103; Diefenthal, 'Typical firearm forgeries . . .', American Society of Arms Collectors Bulletin, 28, 1973, fig. 15.

    Exhibited: Musée Rétrospectif, 1865, possibly no. 1980.

    The mark on the lock is not in N. Støckel. A. Gaibi attributed it to Luca Belli (1595-1637), a Gardonese gunmaker with a workshop in the Piazza del Duomo, Brescia, near the shop of the Cominazzi (letter of 13 January 1968).
    A1113 was examined by J. F.Hayward in 1963 when he concluded that the chiselling of the barrel was 19th-century, and that the carving of the stock, which is quite out of keeping with the period and with Brescia, was also 19th-century.