The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Wheel-lock pistol
  • Wheel-lock pistol
  • Lorenz Herl (+1622) , (barrel)
  • Lorenz Herl (+1622), (barrel)
    Master of the Castles, (stock)
  • Nuremberg, Germany
  • early 17th century
  • Steel, gold, ebony, antler, mother-of-pearl, ivory and wood, blued, engraved, gilded and stained
  • Length: 76.8 cm, overall
    Length: 25.2 cm, barrel
    Width: 0.9 cm, calibre
    Weight: 1.54 kg
  • Stamp: Nuremberg mark
    Maker's mark
    Stamp: Nuremberg guild mark
    Maker's mark: 'H.R.' and a sun
  • A1152
  • European Armoury III
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Wheel-lock pistol, one of a pair with A1153. The slender barrel is octagonal at the breech, and the muzzle terminates by a turned moulding. The surface formerly blued; decorated at breech, muzzle and at the junction of the octagonal and rounded sections with floral arabesques engraved and gilt. At the breech are stamped the Nuremberg mark and that of the maker.

    Lock. External wheel, with ring-shaped bearing-plate. Lock-plate formerly blued, engraved with a running hound and a border of ribbon ornament, gilt, and stamped with the Nuremberg guild mark, a maker's mark, H.R. and a sun. The end of the sear is prolonged to project through a slot in a small steel plate on the left side of the stock, to which is pivoted a gilt safety-catch.

    Stock of ebony, with faceted oviform butt; inlaid with bands of engraved antler between which are plaques of mother-of-pearl, horn and green-stained ivory, portraying animals of the chase, buildings, trees, etc. On the left side near the lock-screws is a representation of Pyramus and Thisbe in mother-of-pearl. An antler panel at the ramrod socket is engraved with Leda and the Swan, and panels by the breech-strap with a halberdier and musketeer. Trigger-guard of steel, gilt, as is the trigger. Wooden ramrod with antler tip.

    German, Nuremberg, early 17th century.

    The maker's mark on the lock also occurs on the lock of A1151. The decoration of the stock is similar to that of a pistol in the Murray Bequest in the Victoria and Albert Museum; and a pair of pistols in the Musée de l' Armée, no. M 1560. Compare also a pistol in the H. Jackson Collection (European Hand Firearms, pl. III).

    The outline of a small heart is struck under each barrel, and inside the tail of each lock-plate. The first mark on the barrel and the first mark on the lock-plate of A1153, are probably Nuremberg town marks over-struck with a punch consisting of a quarterly coat of arms; 1 and 4, a fesse dancetty, 2 and 3, five maces in pale, three and two. These are the family arms of Schenk von Limpurg of the Speckfeld line (H. Nickel, personal communication, and Rietstap, Armorial General, II, p. 695, 1 and 4 gules and argent, 2 and 3 azure and argent).

    Provenance: ? Graf Eberhard Schenk von Limpurg (1596-1622). The stockmaker of A1152 and A1153 was first isolated and studied by L. G. Boccia, who named him 'The Master of the Castles' (Maestro dei castelli), because he includes representations of castles in his inlay. His materials are invariably mother-of-pearl and antler in ebony or ebonised wood frequently enriched with engraved, gilt scrolls and foliage. (Move secoli di armi da caccia, 1967, pls. 84-6, and n. on p. 166). C. Blair also gave a list of pieces from the workshop of this master, the surviving products of which are very numerous and include the powder flasks nos. A1287 and 1288 here (1974, nos. 104 and 130-2). N. di Carpegna also discusses the work of this stockmaker and lists examples of his work (Firearms, 1975, no. 11, n. 5 on p. 54, and no. 12). A small arquebus at Veste Coburg (no. IV. E.I 3) by this stockmaker also bears the same lock-maker's mark as nos. A1150, 1151 and 1153.

    The small heart-shaped mark does not appear to be in N. Støckel, but occurs on three pistols at Waddesdon Manor closely comparable to A1152-3 (Blair 1974, nos. 130-2), the second of which also has the same lock-maker's mark as A1152.

    The maker's mark on the barrel of A1153, which is clearer than that of A1152 but appears to be the same punch, resembles N. Støckel, I, p. 522, no. a 529, attributed to Lorenz Herl, Herold, or Hörelt of Nuremberg, who was active from 1572, and died in 1622 (but see under A1072 and 1073 for other marks which might be his).