The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
  • Powder-flask
  • Unknown Artist / Maker
  • Germany
  • late 16th century
  • Wood, velvet, bronze and gold, embossed, chased and gilded
  • Height: 16.5 cm
    Weight: 0.335 kg
  • A1282
  • European Armoury III
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Powder-flask, a pair with A1281, triangular in form with concave sides; of wood covered with black velvet and overlaid on both sides with bronze cast in relief, pierced, chased and gilt with a representation of Marcus Curtius leaping into the pit, within a border of Renaissance ornament, and masks; tapering funnel; there were originally four rings for suspension held by lion's heads (two of these are missing from one, and three from the other).

    Although the design is the same, these two flasks differ from each other in details of construction, and the finish of A1282 is coarser than that of A1281. The sides of A1282 are parallel to each other, but in the case of A1281 they are wider apart at the bottom than at the top. The gilt-bronze top of A1281 looks newer, and the funnel has a circular base at the bottom, and fewer turned lines at the top. It has no means of attaching the spring-cap, whereas A1282 retains part of the spring and a hole is pierced at the side of the funnel. The material on the back of A1281 is newer and shows no traces of pile. From this it would seem that while A1282 is original, A1281 has been reconstructed from old parts on a modern framework.

    German (Saxon), late 16th century.

    L' Art Ancien V, 586; Musée Rétrospectif (?) No. 2015 (Spitzer), 1865.
    Provenance: Frédéric Spitzer.

    An example of a similar flask in the Metropolitan Museum, New York (no. 32.75.181), exhibited in The Art of Chivalry, 1982, as no. 117, was described as belonging to a set of equipment including bandoliers and powder flasks supplied with 100 arquebuses for the Trabantenleibgarde of the Elector of Saxony (see under A114).