The Wallace Collection

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Snaphaunce pistol with ramrod
  • Snaphaunce pistol with ramrod
  • Guiseppe Guardiani Anghiari
  • Tuscany, Italy
  • c. 1789 - c. 1794
  • Steel, walnut wood and horn, chiselled and blued
  • Length: 30.7 cm, overall
    Length: 17.5 cm, barrel
    Width: 1.2 cm, calibre
    Weight: 0.635 kg
  • Inscription: 'Guiseppe Guardiani Anghiari' Maker's name
    Inscription: '1794'
  • A1198
  • European Armoury III
Commentary
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Snaphaunce pistol, a pair with A1197. The barrel of blued steel, octagonal at the breech; on the top plane is a gold stamp crowned and inscribed:

    PIS/TO/IA

    The breech-strap is of bright steel, the end of the securing-pin being chiselled as a cherub's head.

    Lock. Lock-plate chiselled with a human figure ending in foliage at the end of a mask, the breast of the cock with a mask and the end of the securing-pin with a human face, while yet a third mask is chased on the pin securing the arm of the steel. The spring of the last retains some of its original bluing. On the inside of the lock-plate is engraved the name of the maker:

    Giuseppe Guardiani Anghiari

    The year 1794 is engraved inside the lock; the pair to this pistol is dated 1789 on the sear.

    Stock of dark walnut carved with foliage, the mounts of chiselled steel. The butt-cap is terminated by a classical bust. The open-work screw-plate is pierced with foliage and terminal figures, with a portrait medallion in the centre. The rear lock-screw also secures a belt-hook. The scutcheon-plate is formed of a small portrait medallion surmounted by a crown and flanked, as on the screw-plate, by female busts. The trigger-guard is chiselled in the centre with the same laureate portrait bust as before. Ramrod with horn tip, the steel ferrule toothed and pointed.

    Italian (Tuscan), about 1789-94.

    Anghiari is a small town S.E. of Florence between Arezzo and Borgo San Sepolcro. This pair of pistols belongs to a group of firearms made in Tuscany and Emilia. They are distinguished by the mounts being of a style resembling that of a hundred years before the dates engraved on the locks. There are three examples in the Odescalchi Collection at Rome, dated 1763, 1767, and 1789 on the locks (communicated by Dr. N. di Carpegna). He also cites a pair of pistols signed by Guardini, dated as late as 1819, but in a different style. See also Angelucci in his Catalogo della Armeria Reale at Turin, 1890, p. 425.
    If the figures engraved on the mechanism of these pistols represent the date of manufacture, they indicate an unusually late survival of the snaphaunce system. The style and decoration (e.g. the small human heads on the locks) recall the end of the 17th century.

    There was a flint-lock gun in the possession of the late Avv. F. Bosi of Florence, with chased lock and steel mounts, the barrel stamped with Pistoia in gold, on the inside of the lock the name Giuseppe Guardini, and on the outside Anghiari. A flint-lock in the Herbert Jackson collection (European Hand Firearms, p. 25, fig. 61) was also signed: Giuseppe Guardiani Anghiari.
    Stamps of a very similar kind are found on the barrels of a pair of pistols at Windsor Castle (nos. 469, 470), and on a pistol in the Litchfield Collection (Loan Exhibition, New York, 1931, no. 311).

    Gaibi, Armi da fuoco, 1962, pI. 200A; and Armi da fuoco, 1978, fig. 581.
    An exhibition of firearms made at Anghiari was arranged by M. Terenzi at Anghiari in 1968 (Mostra delle armi da fuoco Anghiaresi e dell' Appennino Tosco-Emiliano). Nos. 51, 52, 73, 74, 78, 81, 82, 84, 85, 86 and 88 were additional works signed by G. Guardiani. Many others are known.

    Apparently there were two men of the same name; the first one was active from 1762 to his death in 1839; the second from 1781 to his death in 1852 (see Terenzi, Gli armaioli Anghiaresi, 1972, pp. 52-3 and 79-90; and N. di Carpegna, J.A.A.S., VIII, no. I, pt. I, II, pp. 2-3).