The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Wheel-lock pistol with ramrod
  • Wheel-lock pistol with ramrod
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • North Germany
  • 1577 and 1578
    1577 (barrel)
    1578 (stock)
  • Steel, antler and wood, engraved
  • Length: 55.3 cm, overall
    Length: 32.5 cm, barrel
    Width: 1.3 cm, calibre
    Weight: 2.15 kg
  • Inscription: '1577' and 'No. 53' Engraved
    Inscription: 'H.S.V.Z' and '1578' Engraved
    Inscription: An eagle and the number '78' Engraved
  • A1140
  • European Armoury III
Commentary
History
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Wheel-lock pistol, one of an exact pair with A1139, the barrel octagonal at the breech and swelling slightly at the muzzle. On the upper facet of the octagonal portion is engraved the date 1577 and no. 53.

    Lock with wheel sunk into the lock-plate and covered with a solid steel casing. The pan-cover is fitted with a knob. Release button for the pan-cover spring and safety-catch. The spring of the cock is on the inside of the lock-plate.

    Stock with large ball butt, closely inlaid with engraved antler in the form of interlacing foliage and arabesques interspersed with small figures of amorini, birds and animals. On a tablet near the forward end of the lock-plate are engraved the initials H.S.V.Z. and the date 1578. On the base of the pommel is a circular plaque engraved with an eagle and the number 78. Wooden ramrod, originally tipped with antler, the tip now lost. Steel belt hook.

    North German, probably Brunswick, dated 1577 and 1578.

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

    Provenance: Frédéric Spitzer.

    The pan-cover release-spring is mounted to the rear of its usual position. The screws securing the lock have their heads on the right side, and screw into the belt-hook.

    A1140 differs from A1139 only in that the eagle on the butt faces in the opposite direction.

    Exhibited: Musée Rétrospectif, 1865, possibly no. 2002 (Spitzer).

    Carpegna, Firearms, 1975, n. 5 on p. 31, giving a list of comparable pieces dated between 1577 and 1593; Glage, Das Kunsthandwerk der Büchsenmacher im Land Braunschweig, 1983, n. on p. 35. A similar pistol with the same initials and date is in the Musée de l' Armée, Paris (no. M.05007), another is in the Cleveland Museum of Art (no. 16.672; Gilchrist, 1924, no. F3, pI. XXXIV). Another with the initials VZ and the date 1573 was sold at Sotheby's, 3 May 1948, lot 24, repr. in cat., and again 13 June 1952, lot 151. This type of lock is found on the pistols of the type made for Duke Julius of Brunswick in 1579 (Blair, Pistols of the World, 1968, fig. 16). W. Glage, describing yet another comparable pair of pistols, also dated 1578, in the Jagdschloss Grünewald, Berlin, has suggested that the group of firearms to which nos. A1139-40 belong was made in Brunswick (op. cit., p. 44, figs. 37-8).