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
  • Barrel and lock- Italy; stock- France
  • mid 17th century (barrel)
    early 17th century (lock)
    c. 1600 (stock)
  • Steel, gold, antler and wood, damascened, etched, blued, gilded, stained and engraved
  • Length: 48.9 cm, overall
    Length: 28.4 cm, barrel
    Width: 1.5 cm, calibre
    Weight: 0.92 kg
  • A1189
  • European Armoury III
Commentary
History
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Wheel-lock pistol, the barrel of blued steel, octagonal at the breech and overlaid in gold with minute arabesques involving a boar hunt and a hero in classical costume.

    Lock with external wheel etched with strapwork arabesques in relief on a gilt ground. The decoration is modern. The original lock was probably of the French type to fit the stock. The lock-plate has been severely cut at the rear end. The mechanism has been removed.

    Stock of French fashion, with faceted, pear-shaped butt, inlaid with a floral design in stained (green) and engraved antler interspersed with figures of animals, monsters, human heads, and plaques engraved with hunting scenes in the German style. A button (shown in the photograph in L' Art Ancien, 1868) is missing from the end of the butt, and the fore-end has been shortened.

    Wooden ramrod tipped with antler engraved en suite. There is no trigger-guard. On the nearside, opposite the lock, is a small curved plate, overlaid with gold arabesques like the barrel. This replaces the bearing-plate for the spindle of the wheel, which would have connected with the original lock.

    Barrel, mid-17th century; stock, French early-17th century.

    L' Art Ancien, V, 587; Musée Rétrospectif, 1865.

    Provenance: Frédéric Spitzer.

    A pistol with a stock of similar shape and decoration is in the Musée de Cluny, Paris. Another was in the Spitzer Collection (Paris, 1895, no. 355), and has since passed through the Bourgeois (sold Cologne, 1904, lot 1013), Leiden (sold Cologne, 1934, lot 766), and W. R. Hearst collections, and is now in the Royal Armouries (no. XII.1550). From these it is possible to learn the form of barrel and lock with which no. A1189 would originally have been fitted.

    The decoration is 19th-century. The hole in the stock for the pin retaining the main-spring has been filled. There are no holes for a trigger-guard.

    Exhibited: F. Spitzer is given as the owner in the caption of L' Art Ancien, but it is not identifiable in the Musée Rétrospectif, 1865.

    A stock by the same maker on a made-up pistol was sold by Sotheby's 21 December 1967, lot 168.