The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Wheel-lock pistol and ramrod
  • Wheel-lock pistol and ramrod
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Barrel- Spain; lock, stock- Nuremberg, Germany
  • c. 1550- c. 1600
    c. 1600 (lock and stock)
    c. 1550 (barrel)
  • Steel, silver, gold, ebony, antler, mother-of-pearl, copper alloy and wood, blued, chiselled, overlaid, engraved and gilded
  • Length: 57.7 cm, overall
    Length: 39.3 cm, barrel
    Width: 1.3 cm, calibre
    Weight: 1.64 kg
  • Maker's mark: In the form of the cross of Lorraine
    Maker's mark
    Stamp: Nuremberg town mark
    Maker's mark
  • A1150
  • European Armoury III
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Wheel-lock pistol, the barrel blued, chiselled at the breech and muzzle with acanthus leaves and divided half way by an annular band encrusted with silver studs. Between this and the breech the surface is overlaid with silver arabesques and foliage enclosing two panels containing oriental hunting scenes in gold silver. The sight is placed midway along the barrel in front of the band and takes the form of a moveable ring held in the mouth of a lion's mask in relief and of brass gilt. A maker's mark in the form of a cross of Lorraine is stamped on the underside. The barrel, which projects beyond the end of the stock, may have been adapted to it.

    The lock which has an external wheel, may also have been adapted to the stock; it is overlaid with gold and silver arabesques in a like manner to the barrel, is stamped with a maker's mark on the plate, and another on the wheel.
    The stock is of ebony, with a butt of petronel form. It is inlaid with bands of polished antler, engraved with scale ornament, human figures in architectural framework and animals of the chase. The intervals between the bands are inlaid with plaques of engraved mother-of-pearl in the form of hounds and animated human figures of both sexes in the costume of c. 1600, including a conversation scene of three framed in a brass cartouche. Wooden ramrod tipped with antler engraved en suite.

    There is a turned steel belt-hook, and this, the trigger and trigger-guard are gilt.

    Lock and stock German (Nuremberg), about 1600; associated barrel, about 1550.

    The mark on the lock-plate may be the same as that on A1153. The overlaid decoration of the lock may have been added in the 19th century.
    The ring in the lion's mouth on top of the barrel appears to be purely ornamental. The barrel does not seem to have been altered but the stock has certainly been adapted to fit this barrel.

    The bridle for the wheel is secured by a screw at each end. The overlay on the lockplate was added in the 19th century. The maker's mark consists of a sun-in-splendour with above it the letters HR, as on A1151. The Nuremberg town-mark is also struck very faintly on the lock-plate.

    The stock has been cut off level with the silver moulding around the barrel. The wood in front of this join is not ebony but has been stained to look like it.
    The decoration on the barrel has previously been attributed to either Diego de Çaias or Damianus de Nerve.

    Blair, 'A royal swordsmith and damascener: Diego de Çaias', Metropolitan Museum Journal, III, 1970, pp. 149-98, specifically p. 193, no. 17, fig. 70.

    C. Blair (loc. cit.) compared the decoration of the barrel of A1150 to the work of Diego de Çaias and of Damianus de Nerve or Nerven. The first of these was a Spanish sword-cutler recorded at the French court in 1535. He signed a mace made for the future Henri II of France, now in the Metropolitan Museum, New York (no. 04.3.59). In 1543 he entered the service of Henry VIII of England and a number of edged weapons, including a 'Tocke', three rapiers, two long wood-knives, an arming sword, and three daggers, described as 'of Dego his makinge', are recorded in the inventory made in 1547 of the late King's possessions. A wood-knife at Windsor Castle made for the King in 1544 can be confidently attributed to him. After the death of Henry VIII, de Çaias worked for Edward VI until at least September 1549 and may subsequently have returned to the Continent, possibly to Antwerp. A sword in Vienna (inv. no. A586) has a very similarly decorated hilt signed DAMIANVS DE NER VE ME FECIT. Nothing is known about this man, but he may have been a member of the Nerven family who may possibly have been of Flemish extraction. (Blair, 1974, no. 60). The work of de Çaias has recently inspired a modern imitator.