A Very Rare German 40-Bore Wheel-Lock Long Belt Pistol Or Carbine
Lot 426
A Very Rare German 40-Bore Wheel-Lock Long Belt Pistol Or Carbine
£20,000 - 30,000
US$ 34,000 - 50,000
Lot Details
A Very Rare German 40-Bore Wheel-Lock Long Belt Pistol Or Carbine
Mid-16th Century, Possibly Brunswick
With slightly swamped two-stage barrel deeply etched throughout its length against a blackened ground with symmetrical running foliated scrollwork and dots involving, on the forward section a pair of monster-heads and a pair of cornucopiae, and on the top flat of the octagonal breech with a symmetrical close-set design of smaller scrolls and leaves, each side-flat etched with a strip of cabling, at the rear of the breech a maker's mark, a fleur-de-lys within a shield, blade fore-sight, etched tunnel back-sight of rectangular section closed by a strip of bronze on the upper side, etched rectangular tang, long shaped flat lock of early form retained by three screws and fitted with sprung safety-catch, sliding pan-cover with baluster release-button, shaped faceted cock with robust faceted spring, and flat wheel-cover etched against a blackened dotted ground with a cockerel treading a hen and with cabling around the bezel, at its base a small indistinct mark, the surface of the lock-plate etched against a blackened ground en suite with the barrel with foliated scrollwork and dots inhabited by a running fox and a further cockerel in courting display, shaped swelling iron belt hook with incised spatulate tip, moulded iron trigger-guard of circular section, and original wooden ramrod with long iron tip, the wooden full stock formed with faceted fish-tail butt and entirely veneered with bone plaques (some old replacements) incised with running foliage and along the inner and outer side with scenes of hounds in pursuit of running game involving, opposite the lock, a mounted sportsman sounding his hunting horn, all within wooded landscapes with hills, castles and townscapes in the background, the butt-cap and fore-end cap incised with flame patterns
53.7 cm. barrel


  • A fleur-de-lys mark appears on the lock of an earlier pistol of 1535/40 in the Musée de l'Armée, Paris (inv. no. P0 827), whose barrel bears a Nuremberg mark

    The scenes of the chase are based on designs by Virgil Solis (1514-1562)

    Pistols of this distinctive early type, a number of which are attributed to Brunswick makers, are rarely to be found outside dynastic collections. The finest examples are the group of pistols whose stocks are entirely covered with embossed silver, notably those made in 1555 for the Archduke Ferdinand of Tirol by the master H.S, in the former Imperial Armoury in Vienna (inv. nos. A.438, A.439). A mid-16th century pistol of similar form but even greater length, said to have come from the armoury of the Princes of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt was sold from the collection of the late William Goodwin Renwick by Sotheby & Co., London, on 17 July 1972, lot 28

    See J.F. Hayward, The Art of the Gunmaker, vol. I, 1965, pl. 14a-b; Claude Blair, Pistols of the World, 1968, pl. 7; Hans Schedelmann, Die Grossen Büchensenmacher, 1972, pp. 5-7; and Wolfgang Glage, Das Kunsthandwerk der Büchenmacher im Laud Braunschweig, 1983, pls. 33, 35, 36 and 39
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