The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Stone-bow
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • France or Italy
  • c. 1580
  • Steel, yew, bronze, gold, cow's horn and ebony, encrusted, chiselled and gilded
  • Length: 112.5 cm
    Length: 66.8 cm, span of bow
    Weight: 2.41 kg
  • Maker's mark Stamped
  • A1046
  • European Armoury III
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Stone-bow or prodd, with a steel bow, stamped in the centre with a maker's mark; the string is missing. The bridle securing the bow is of gilt bronze in the form of snakes. All the other mounts and the mechanism are of steel chiselled with Renaissance decoration in low relief and richly encrusted with gold. Foresight pillars in the form of columns entwined by a dolphin.

    Stock or tiller of yew with curved neck. At the forward end in front of the bow is a ram's head of gilt bronze in the round. The sides of both neck and butt are carved in low relief with trophies of classical shields and helmets united by ribands. The shields are in several cases charged with a crescent and this emblem is repeated in other parts of the decoration. The rear end of the stock has a simple band of overlapping scales. It terminates in a turned ebony pommel. On the upper face opposite to the trigger-lever is carved a monster in full relief. Let into the sides of the stock at intervals along its length are replicas of antique coins gilt and set in turned ebony frames. On the right side of the neck is the second brass of Galba, followed by a coin of Themistocles.
    The third inset on this side is filled with a plain turned disk.

    Arched backsight, chased with an urn and trophies, the other side overlaid with gold scrollwork. Bow-string catch chiselled with entwined snakes, side-plates with a similar motif and in the middle a shield overlaid with a trophy.

    Trigger-lever formed of two dolphins and the tip as an eagle's head.

    French or Italian, about 1580.

    Provenance: Sir Samuel Meyrick (referred to by Skelton, pl. XCVIII, not under fig. 1); Frédéric Spitzer.

    Antique silver coins were sometimes used for the decoration of hilts, e.g. no. A746 and above, and Musée de l' Armée, no. J 125.

    The antique coins are set in frames of cow-horn. The mark is not recorded in Neue Støckel.

    Provenance: D. Colnaghi; no. A1046 is the sixth crossbow in the list of armour and weapons acquired by Meyrick from Colnaghi about 1818, now in the Library of the Royal Armouries.