The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Powder-flask
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Milan, Italy and Switzerland
  • c. 1590
  • Beech wood, leather, steel, gold and silver, pierced, counterfeit- damascened and tooled
  • Height: 21.7 cm, overall
    Width: 15.2 cm, at the base
    Weight: 0.46 kg
  • Incised mark: 'PM' and 'WA' in monogram
  • A1278
  • European Armoury III
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Powder-flask, of triangular form; of beech wood covered with black leather, the edges reinforced with L-shaped bands of steel false-damascened (overlay)with gold arabesques. Tubular nozzle, similarly decorated, with lever for the cut-off. On the front is applied a pierced steel plaque, false- damascened in both gold and silver, representing a Roman warrior, mounted, over-riding another on the ground, the whole heightened with gold overlay; the back of tooled leather incised with a crosier-head (the arms of Basel), within an ornamental border delicately tooled, involving shields charged with the monogram P M, an unidentified coat, fretty, a fesse between three bees and the letter A (previously thought to be W). The bottom and sides tooled with a chequer pattern; on each side are fixed two D's to hold the tasselled cord of silk for suspension which remains. There is no cap on the spout but a link of the chain, presumably originally intended to retain the cap, survives.

    The metal work Italian (Milanese), about 1590; the leather work is Swiss.

    L' Art Ancien I, no. 26.

    Provenance: Comte de Nieuwerkerke; Musée Rétrospectif, 1865, no. 2021.

    The Historisches Museum at Basel possesses several powder flasks of like form also bound with leather and bearing the arms of the city imperfectly represented, but none possess the delicately-tooled border of A1278. These flasks were previously in the Arsenal of Basel.