The Wallace Collection

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Wheel-lock pistol with ramrod
  • Wheel-lock pistol with ramrod
  • Giovanni Battista Francino (1580 - c. 1646)
  • Bartolommeo Bonfadino (1623 - 1685), (stock)
  • Brescia, Italy
  • c. 1640
  • Steel and walnut wood, chiselled and engraved
  • Length: 50 cm, overall
    Length: 31.5 cm, barrel
    Width: 1.4 cm, calibre
    Weight: 0.88 kg
  • Inscription: 'GIO . BATT . FRANCINO'
    Stamp: 'A'
    Inscription: 'Barto Bonfadino' Stamped
  • A1186
  • European Armoury III
Commentary
History
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Wheel-lock pistol, the barrel octagonal at the breech and fluted, the top plane inscribed with the maker's name:

    GIO . BATT . FRANCINO

    The rest of the barrel is polygonal in section, finished at breech and muzzle with a narrow moulding. On the underside of the breech is stamped the letter A.

    The lock has an external wheel with ring-shaped bearing-plate chiselled with foliage. Lock-plate bordered with leaf ornament; baluster-shaped arm of cock chiselled with acanthus ornament.

    Stock of walnut, with flattened butt, the fore-end lightly carved with foliage, decorated with steel inlays finely pierced and engraved with intricate foliage and flowers in the Brescian style. The steel mounts are pierced and chiselled with similar ornament, and the butt-cap has a button formed as a mask. The large, flat trigger is pierced with ornamental foliage. On the underside of the stock in front of the trigger-guard is stamped the name:

    Barto Bonfadino

    Wooden ramrod with steel tip. There has at one time been a belt hook secured by the rear lock-screw. This has been removed and the holes for attachment filled in.

    Italian (Brescian), about 1640.

    Provenance: M. Martin, Musée Rétrospectif, 1865, no. 1987.

    For a note on G. B. Francino, see no. A1184-5. It is rare to find the stock of a pistol signed by the maker and no other example bearing the name of Bartolommeo Bonfadino is known. There is a fine pair of flint-lock pistols in the Walters Art Gallery at Baltimore with barrels by G. B. Francino, locks by Piero Alsa 'in Brescia' and the stocks signed: Gio. Marno in Bresia fece. The barrels of these pistols are also stamped with the letter A. Marno also signed the stocks of a pair of pistols with barrels by Antonio Francino in the Marzoli Collection in Brescia. A snaphaunce gun by G. B. Francino at Vienna is signed on the stock by Bortolo Rosini.

    The inscription on the stock is in capital letters, all of one size. On the inside of the lock-plate is struck a circular mark enclosing the letters CR under an open crown.

    Gaibi, Armi da fuoco, 1962, p. 105 and pI. 48b; Blair, Pistols of the World, 1968, fig. 78; Gaibi, Armi da fuoco, 1978, fig. 109.

    A. Gaibi (loc. cit., 1962) dated no. A1186 about 1620, and attributed the lock to Giovanni Antonio Gavacciolo (see under nos. A1184-5). The lock-maker's mark was discovered in 1967 when Gaibi attributed it to Carlo Rossi (born 1618), a member of an important Brescian gun-making family. He is recorded as a maker of wheel-locks in 1642 (letters of 24 and 30 November 1967). See also Gaibi, op. cit., 1978, p. 46, no. 13, but not identified. In Gaibi's drawing what seems to be a small bird appears in base as a difference. This mark is N. Støckel, II, p. 1087, no. b8157, and is also to be found on a wheel-lock pistol in the Museo Poldi Pezzoli, Milan (inv. no. 2284; 1980 cat., no. 928); on a pair of wheel-lock pistols at Madrid with barrels by G. B. Francino (Real Armeria, no. K.88-9); and on a wheel-lock carbine in the Museo Civico L. Marzoli, Brescia (inv. no. 798; Rossi and Carpegna, 1969, no. 248).

    For Giovanni Battista Francino see under nos. A1184-5. The mark under the barrel is not recorded by N. Støckel. Gaibi later gave the dates of Bartolomeo Bonfadino as 1623-85 (loc. cit., 1978).