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
  • Italy
  • early 17th century
  • Iron or steel, silver and gold, counterfeit-damascened and gilded
  • Length: 12.7 cm
    Weight: 0.049 kg
  • A1326
  • European Armoury III
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Wheel-lock key, the short key-cylinder joins the stem at a slight angle, like the bowl of a tobacco-pipe. Stem of square section, the end brought round in a scroll and finishing as a leaf. Projecting from the end in a straight line with the stem is a screw-driver. The whole surface is counterfeit damascened (overlaid) with interlacing lines of silver. Midway along the stem is a swivel for suspension, the ring being gilt, there are further traces of gilding on the leaf at the end. This key has been associated with the pistol, A1138, but its decoration has nothing in common with it.

    Possibly Italian, third quarter of the 16th century.

    Lièvre, Collections célèbres, 1866, pl. 46; Musées et Collections, 2nd Series; Musée Graphique, p. II

    Provenance: Baur (receipted bill, 20 November, 1869. Une clef d'arquebuse damasquinée, 40 fr.); Comte de Nieuwerkerke.

    A comparable key is illustrated hung on a cord around the neck of Edward Fiennes de Clinton, Lord Clinton and Saye, Lord High Admiral of England, in a portrait dated 1562 (present whereabouts unknown).