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
  • Daniel Sadeler , (decoration)
  • Hieronymus Borstorffer, (stock)
  • Munich, Germany
  • c. 1610
  • Steel, gold, antler, cow's or antelope's horn, amber or turtle-shell, ebony and snake-wood, chiselled, gilded and blued
  • Length: 57.4 cm, overall
    Length: 10.6 cm, barrel
    Width: 1.3 cm, calibre
    Weight: 1.56 kg
  • A1154
  • European Armoury III
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Wheel-lock pistol, the barrel of round section chiselled throughout its length with Renaissance ornament in low relief, blued on a gilt ground. The design includes figures of Mars, Jupiter and Bacchus beneath canopies, the rest of the surface being filled with floral scrolls, cherubs; heads, trophies and bunches of fruit.

    Lock. External wheel, covered with a flat oval case, chiselled with scrollwork, birds and fruit. Lock-plate chiselled with Tritons, nymphs and floral scrollwork. Cock with baluster-shaped arm, the jaws chiselled as a dragon's head.

    Stock of walnut entirely overlaid with plaques of white antler, engraved with that decoration then infilled with black. These overlays are outlined with narrow strips of inlaid cow-horn, stained black, or possibly of antelope horn, and further enriched with occasional inlays of scrollwork of the same material. Mounts of steel chiselled, blued and gilt en suite with the lock and barrel. Ramrod of snake-wood with moulded tip of gilt steel.

    By Daniel Sadeler of Munich, about 1610.

    Gazette des Beaux Arts, 1865, pl. XL, 1; L' Art Ancien, I, 163 and 165; Musée Rétrospectif, 1865, no. 1992; Lièvre, Musée Graphique, pl. XIV; H. Stöcklein, Meister des Eisenschnittes, p. 68 (D S 29), pl. XXV; J. F. Hayward, Apollo, XLIV, 1946, p. 119, fig. VII.

    Provenance: Frédéric Spitzer.

    The decoration of the barrel, lock and mounts are, like the next pair, from the hand of Daniel Sadeler. The figure of Jupiter on the barrel is taken from an engraving by Etienne Delaune (Rober-Dumesnil, 359). That of Bacchus is exactly similar to that on the barrel of A1156. Similar lock decoration may be seen on a gun in the Armeria Reale, Turin (M 11), and another at Vienna (G. & T., VIII, 4; Böheim, Album I, pl. XLIII). The Turin gun has however now been attributed to Emanuel Sadeler (F. Mazzini, 1982, No. 282). The Vienna piece, which uses the same source for the mer-folk, belonged to the Emperor Rudolf II (inv. no. D209). The whole stock is overlaid with enamelled silver plaques by the Augsburg goldsmith David Altenstetter (1547-1617).

    The stock, although unsigned, is almost certainly the work of Hieronymus Borstorffer (see also A1090).

    Gazette des Beaux Arts, XIX, 1865, pI. to face p. 434; Lièvre, Les arts decoratifs, pI. XLI; Hayward, Art of the gunmaker, I, 1962, pp. 167-76 and 288, pI. 31b; 1962.

    A similar gun was sold at Sotheby's 19 March 1973, lot 50, repr. in cat. In this case the dark strips outlining the antler overlays were of a red wood stained black, and the barrel was plain. A rifle with a stock comparable to that of A1154 is at Waddesdon Manor (see Blair, 1974, no. 105, with a list of similar pieces). A comparable stock on a rifle in the Bayerisches Nationalmuseum, Munich, is signed with the letters Hb conjoined, presumably a variant of Borstorffer's usual mark. Its barrel is signed CS for Caspar Spät (no.60/115; Schalkhausser, Waffen- und Kostümkunde, 1967, pp. 122-3, no. 35, figs. 103-4).