The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Wheel-lock gun with ramrod
  • Wheel-lock gun with ramrod
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Germany
  • c. 1590
  • Steel, gold, walnut, antler and wood, chiselled, gilded, blued, engraved and etched
  • Length: 65.4 cm, overall
    Length: 27.2 cm, barrel
    Width: 3.6 cm, calibre
    Weight: 3.42 kg
  • A1077
  • European Armoury III
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Wheel-lock gun, with a short, heavy barrel of very large bore, chiselled at the muzzle with a lion's mask, at the breech and midway along the barrel with two bands of acanthus ornament, separated from each other by three flutes. The chiselling is gilt, and the remaining surface has formerly been blued.

    The lock has an external wheel enclosed in a steel case pierced and engraved with two monsters. This, together with the button of the pan-cover catch and the safety-catch spring, are gilt, while the surface of the lock-plate is blued. The lever of the safety-catch is missing. The cock is engraved with monsters on a flat surface and has a short cocking spur.

    Walnut stock of elongated form, inlaid with engraved strips of ornament between which are hunting scenes, all of antler, and underneath is the back view of a male figure in antique costume. The heel-plate is of steel, etched with Oriental strapwork arabesques and gilt. Two steel straps ending in fleurs-de-lys, which are laid along the top and bottom of the butt, are similarly decorated.

    Wooden ramrod with a steel tip from which some form of finial is missing. The trigger-guard possesses a hinged extension for the fingers.

    German (probably Augsburg), about 1590.

    Blackmore, Guns and Rifles of the World, 1965, fig. 770; Skelton, vol. II, pl. CXVI, fig. 2.

    Provenance: Sir Samuel Rush Meyrick; Frédéric Spitzer.

    Exhibited: Manchester Art Treasures, 1857 (Planche, 1857, p. 15); South Kensington, 1869, no. 702 (Illustrated London News, LIV, 1869, illus. on p. 344, no. 5).

    The inlaid decoration of the stock resembles that of no. A1081 below. A very similar gun is in the German Historical Museum at Berlin.

    Guns of this type were intended for a large charge of heavy shot- grenades or rockets most probably. At a later date they were called Langridge guns, after their use to fire ‘Langridge’ chain-shot.

    The barrel is however of unusually small calibre for a grenade-launcher and it has been suggested, therefore, that it might possibly be intended for launching rockets (O. Gamber, personal communication, 1962). The antler inlay of the stock was originally intended to fit much narrower areas, presumably on a stock of conventional form; for instance, the tops of all the trees are cut off unnecessarily. This suggests that this type of inlay could be purchased ready-made from specialist craftsmen.