The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Flint-lock pistol
  • Flint-lock pistol
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • France
  • c. 1660
  • Steel, gold, blued, walnut and wood, damascened, blued, engraved and carved
  • Length: 59.7 cm, overall
    Length: 41.4 cm, barrel
    Weight: 0.8 kg
    Width: 1.2 cm, calibre
  • Inscription: 'Ut pellem Alcides devicti snsigne Leonis / Sic Ludovicus ouans (sic) Belgica signa gerit / Sunt nobis Lilia cordi' 'As Alcides sports the conquered lion's skin, so does Louis flaunt in triumph the Belgic trophies. The lillies are dear to our heart'
  • A1210
  • European Armoury III
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • More works of art than weapons, this elegant and sumptuously decorated pair of flint-lock pistols were made for the French King Louis XIV. Their precise provenance is unknown; it has been suggested that they might have been made in celebration of the capture of Dunkirk in 1658, or perhaps they could have formed part of a gift from the city of Lille to mark and celebrate the annexation of that city by French forces in the 1667-8 Spanish Netherlands campaign against Philip II of Spain (in which case the fleur-de-lis with which they are profusely decorated might constitute a pun on the city’s name). The quality and craftsmanship is of the highest order; the stock is of carved walnut stained dark in imitation of ebony, while the gun-barrel is engraved, blued and damascened in gold. As was often the case with guns intended for Royalty, it does not bear the name of the maker.