The Wallace Collection

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Wheel-lock pistol with ramrod
  • Wheel-lock pistol with ramrod
  • Attributed to Peter Daner (active between: 1583 - 1602) , (barrels)
  • Attributed to Gregor Birckholzer (active between: 1579 - 1616), (locks)
  • Nuremberg, Germany
  • c. 1570
  • Steel, gold and wood, etched and gilt
  • Length: 50.3 cm, overall
    Length: 31.5 cm, top barrel
    Length: 25.9 cm, bottom barrel
    Width: 1.1 cm, calibre
    Weight: 2.22 kg
  • Signature: Nuremberg guild mark, the mark of a snake and the initials 'P.D.'
    Stamp: The Nuremberg guild mark
    Maker's mark
    Stamp: '76'
  • A1168
  • European Armoury III
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Double-barrelled wheel-lock pistol, one of a pair with A1169. The barrels are placed one above the other in what is known as the 'over and under' position, and joined together by brazing. The upper barrel is octagonal at the breech, the lower octagonal throughout its length. Both expand slightly at the muzzle. In order to accommodate the lock, the lower barrel is shortened at the breech end. The upper barrel is etched with strapwork and conventional foliage, the lower with a simple cable pattern, the ground granulated and formerly gilt. Both barrels are stamped at the breech with the Nuremberg guild mark, the mark of a snake and the initials P.D.

    Lock. There is a separate mechanism for each barrel mounted on a common lock-plate, that for the lower barrel being in front. Both are actuated by a single trigger, the two sears being connected by a sliding bar with a projection on its rear end to engage with the trigger. Initial pressure on the latter releases the forward mechanism, and further pressure the rearward. The wheels are externally mounted and held by ring-shaped bearing-plates. The arms of the cocks are of baluster shape. Lock-plate etched with scrolls and strapwork on granular ground, formerly gilt, and stamped with a maker's mark, the Nuremberg guild mark repeated, and the number 76. The safety-catch is missing.

    Stock entirely of steel with fish-tail butt. The surface is covered with etched ornament consisting of floral scrolls; on the left side are oval panels containing hares and hounds. The base of the butt is etched with a landsknecht holding a banner. The ground was formerly gilt, except in the panels, where it may have been blackened. Part of the grip immediately above the butt is round in section and free from circular holes, now filled with wooden plugs, have held studs to retain the binding. On the right side is stamped the number 76. Wooden ramrod, the tip missing.

    A1169 only differs from A1168 in certain minor details of the etched decoration. The ramrod retains its antler tip.

    German (Nuremberg), about 1570.

    The initials P.D. are ascribed by Støckel to Peter Dauer, and by Lenz to Peter Danner. They are commonly found on pistols with steel stocks.
    There are two single all-steel pistols with the same barrel mark in the Victoria and Albert Museum (nos. M 629-1927 and M 174-1928). Very similar pistols with the same mark are in the Musée de l' Armée (M 1634 and 1636). A pair is in the Armeria Reale at Turin (nos. N 47-8), and another pair in the Hermitage, Leningrad (Lenz, 1908, p. 260, N 41), also a wheel-lock rifle in the Tøjhus at Copenhagen (no. B 302). There was a pair of single-barrel, all-steel pistols, the barrels of which bore the same marks, in the collection of H. B. Keasbey (sold American Art Association, New York, 1924, lot 265), possibly the same as that exhibited by Mr. Litchfield at the Metropolitan Museum in 1931. An all-steel pistol with the same mark is in the collection of the late Sir Edward Barry, Bt. It also occurs on the barrel of a pistol formerly in the Stead Collection, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

    The mark of a snake is also found with the initials H.D. at Stockholm, nos. 297, 399 (pistols) and 531 (hunting compass, dated 1601, ascribed to Hans Ducker?), and with W.D. (Dresden, no. 171) and see also A1151.
    Provenance: F. Spitzer exhibited a pair of comparable pistols in the Musée Rétrospectif, 1865, no. 2001. The mark on the barrel is probably N. Støckel, I, p. 267, no. a 7298, attributed to Peter Daner, recorded from 1583, died 1602. The attribution in Støckel of the mark on the barrel to Peter Dauer instead of Daner or Danner was presumably due to a misprint. For the work of Daner see Blair, Waddesdon cat., 1974, sub no. 121. He was first recorded in Nuremberg in 1583, when he was ordered to difference his mark from that used by the widow of his brother Hans by adding to it his initials. Peter and Hans may have been the sons of Wolf Danner (died 1552), who had used the mark of a snake flanked by his initials. The pistol from the Barry collection was sold at Sotheby's, 5 July 1965, lot 86, repr. in cat. The Stead pistol; formerly on loan to the Fitwilliam Museum, was sold at Sotheby's, 4 December 1947, lot 44, bought by R. Bartel, presumably for W. R. Hearst (R. Chrichton, letter of 4 January 1983). See also Schedelmann, 1972, p. 29, with a long list of marked pieces.

    The mark on the lock is N. Støckel, I, p. 103, no. b 2552, attributed to Gregor Birckholzer (or Birckholtz), recorded 1579-1616. He was a maker of gun-locks and a locksmith from Arnswalde (today Choszczno) in Poland. He was in, Nuremberg in 1579, when he married the daughter of the gunmaker Hans Possenhammer. He had two sons who were also gunmakers, Christoph and Hans Gregor. A very similar pistol with the same mark on the lock is in the Odescalchi collection, Rome (inv. no. 1517; Carpegna, 1975, no. 3, referring to yet another comparable pistol in Budapest).