The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Wheel-lock spanner
  • Wheel-lock spanner
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Germany
  • 1st half of 17th century
  • Steel, gold and copper alloy, blued and inlaid
  • Length: 10.6 cm
    Weight: 0.1 kg
  • A1322
  • European Armoury III
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Wheel-lock key, of blued steel. Double-ended key-cylinder, from the centre of which projects a screw-driver. The cylinder is ornamented with two bands of chiselled acanthus foliage and two inlaid gold lines. Stem with turned mouldings, chiselled with acanthus, and inlaid with a single gold line. Above the mouldings the stem is faceted and to the outer face is applied a cherub's head in brass. The stem ends in a large, flat, oval thumb-plate pierced with a hole in the centre and inlaid with Renaissance ornament in brass, the outer face having at the top a lion's mask in relief with strapwork and scrolls only. The edge is inlaid with diagonal gold lines, many of which are missing. This small key was probably intended to be used on a pistol.

    Probably German, first half of the 17th century.

    Provenance: previously catalogued as being purchased by the Comte de Nieuwerkerke from the dealer, Baur, but the receipted bill is more likely to refer to A1326.

    C. Blair suggested that this might be a turning-key for a harpsichord (personal communication, 1975).