The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Combined rapier and wheel-lock pistol
  • Combined rapier and wheel-lock pistol
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Augsburg, Germany
  • c. 1580 - c. 1590
  • Steel, gold and copper alloy, incised and gilded
  • Length: 105.8 cm, blade
    Width: 2.6 cm, blade, above the ricasso
    Weight: 1.59 kg
    Length: 121.8 cm
    Width: 22.6 cm, guard
    Balance point: 13.3 cm, forward of the guard block
  • Maker's mark: Three marks, one of which appears to be the pine-cone of Augsburg
  • A1241
  • European Armoury III
Commentary
History
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Rapier and wheel-lock pistol. Swept hilt with flattened, cylindrical pommel, with small button; oval grip bound with steel wire; diagonally curved crossguard, of oval section, terminating in scrolls; two side-rings arising from the end of the arms of the hilt, the smaller one at right-angles to the plane of the blade and enclosing a pierced plate, the larger one inclined towards the pommel and linked to the knuckle-guard by a loop-guard. A second loop-guard inside the hand joins the end of the rear arm of the hilt, and supports the end of a triangular pierced plate arising from the inner side of the ends of both arms. The pommel is inset with a gilt-brass panel of St. George and the Dragon, the guards with two equestrian figures in classical armour, and the knuckle-guard with a figure of Lucretia, the intervening surfaces incised with conventional flowers and foliage, the whole gilt.

    Stiff blade of diamond section, ridged down the centre, the facets hollowed; to the forte is fixed a small wheel-lock pistol (the barrel is on the left side of the blade, the lock on the right); the barrel has three maker's or proof marks, one of which appears to be the pine-cone of Augsburg; the pistol was discharged by means of a button (attached to the ricasso) operated by the thumb.

    The claws on the free end of the main-spring are visible through a hole in the underside of the lock-casing to serve as a safety indicator. The lock is overlaid with flowers and scrolls in gold and silver.

    German (Augsburg), about 1580-90.

    Hayward, 'Augsburg Swords', Waffen- und Kostümkunde, 1980, pp. 3-14 fig. 1.

    Provenance: A Monmarqué (?) (Une épée pistolet, 100 fr.’ Receipted bill, 28 November, 1869; this bill may refer to the sword and wheel-lock pistol A1242); Comte de Nieuwerkerke (?)

    Compare a combined rapier and wheel-lock pistol, formerly in Prince Soltykoff's collection, illustrated by Asselineau, pl. 106.

    The barrel-maker's mark is not recorded by N. Støckel. J. F. Hayward (loc. cit.) constructed a group of comparable weapons around A1241. The same bladesmith's mark occurs on the blade of a sword at Dresden, recorded as having come from Augsburg and as having been presented to the Elector Christian I in 1588. The comparable weapon formerly in the collection of Prince Soltykoff, cited in the 1962 Catalogue, is now in the Hermitage Museum, Leningrad (Z.O. no. 6599; Tarassuk, 1972, no. 524, illus.). It is dated 1590 and bears the Augsburg mark on the pistol barrel.