The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Flint-lock pistol with ramrod
  • Flint-lock pistol with ramrod
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Maastricht, Netherlands
  • c. 1660
  • Steel, ivory and silver, engraved and chiselled
  • Length: 53.5 cm, overall
    Length: 34.4 cm, barrel
    Width: 1.2 cm, calibre
    Weight: 0.87 kg
  • Maker's mark
  • A1232
  • European Armoury III
Commentary
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Flint-lock pistol, a pair with A1231. Barrel octagonal at the breech and finished at the muzzle with a narrow moulding. The octagonal portion is lightly engraved with running foliage. On the underside is stamped a maker's mark.

    Lock. The lock-plate is chiselled in low relief with an open pattern of acanthus scrolls. The cock is ring-necked, chiselled and pierced en suite, as is also the steel and pan-cover.

    Stock of solid ivory, carved round the breech-strap and in front of the trigger-guard with grotesque masks. The butt, which is formed by a separate piece, is carved in the shape of a head wearing a plumed helmet surmounted by a monster. At the junction of butt and stock is a collar of engraved silver. Steel trigger-guard. Single, silver ramrod-pipe engraved with an owl. Ivory ramrod with a silver cap engraved as a six-petalled flower.

    Dutch (Maastricht), about 1660.

    There are a number of pistols with ivory stocks of this type in existence, including two pairs in the Musée de l' Armée (M. 1713, 1781), and a pair in the Musée de Cluny, Paris. There was a pair in the Keasbey Collection with locks signed by Jan Hermans (American Art Association, 1924, lot 152). A pair in the Metropolitan Museum, New York, and another at Moscow, have wheel-locks, but in most cases these pistols are fitted with flint-locks. For an account of this class of pistol, with further instances, see Major Ilgner, Z.H.W.K., XII, 210; XIII, 19, 68, 166, 288; XIV, 58; and Lenk, Flintlåset, pls. 52, 53, where they are ascribed to stock-makers working at Maastricht. Compare the mark on the barrel of A1173, which is inscribed: A. Maestrech. One of Major Ilgner's two pairs of ivory-stocked pistols, by Johan Louroux of Maastricht, is now in the Generaal Hoefer Museum at Leiden, and described by C.A. Hartmann in the Bulletin of the Belgische Vereniging Liefkabbers Wapens, Sept.-Oct., 1954. There is also a pair at Dresden, signed: Kosser in Maestricht, and a pair in the Royal Armouries with similar stocks, (XII. 1319-20).

    There is no side-plate. The side-screws do not penetrate right through the lock-plate. There is no external bridle.

    Provenance: these pistols were exhibited in one of Lord Hertford's cases of Oriental arms and armour at the Musée Rétrospectif, 1865 (illus. in L' art ancien, pls. 204 and 346). They are not, however, identifiable in the catalogue.
    The barrel-maker's mark is not in N. Støckel, but see under A1173. Of the comparable firearms cited in the 1962 Catalogue, one of those in the Musée de l' Armee (No. M. 1713) is signed by Johan Laroux, Maestricht (Peterson, Book of the Gun, 1962, cover illus.), and M.1781, a double-barrelled pistol, is signed Acquis Granis, meaning Aachen. Another pair by Laroux is in the Historical Museum at Göteborg, Sweden (GM. 691). Another pair by lean Hermans in the armoury of Prince Esterhazy is illustrated by Szendrei (1896, no. 2998). Other examples by Jakob Rosters are in the Royal Scottish Museum, Edinburgh (no. 1878. 62 and A. Norman, 1972, no. 71), in the Tojhusmuseum, Copenhagen (cat. no. 1942/B 90), and in the K. Livrustkammer, Stockholm (inv. nos. 4645-6; Ossbahr, 1897, I, pI. XXXI, nos. 5657-8). There was apparently a pair in the collection of R. Napier of West Shandon, Dumbarton, signed L. van Mersen à Maestricht (1865 cat., no. 2150). Daniel Voldas of Maestricht signed a single pistol in the armoury of Prince E. Batthyany-Strattman, at Schloss Kormend (Szendrei, 1896, no. 3420). See also H. L. Visser, 'Dutch ivory-stocked pistols', Bulletin of the American Society of Arms Collectors, no. 53, 1985, off-print.