Object Title

Wheellock sporting gun - By Nicolas Kevcks

Wheellock sporting gun - By Nicolas Kevcks



Object Number



Purchased from the National Magazine Co. (W R Hearst collection) October 1952, with the help of the Pilgrim Trust, National Art Collections Fund and a special Exchequer Grant. This is one of 52 items purchased together. (Hearst inv. no. A.159). Purchased November 1934 from Emil Buchel, Spandau, Berlin.

Physical Description

The stock inlaid overall with silver birds, flowers and wire scrolls


BarrelLength1181 mm


Serial Number None visible


.50 in (38 bore)

Bibliographic References

Royal Armouries, Royal Armouries Museum [souvenir guide], Royal Armouries, Leeds, 2000, p.25, colour ill. (right butt view only)

Graeme Rimer, Wheellock Firearms of the Royal Armouries, Royal Armouries Museum, Leeds, 2001. p.48 - 49, colour ill.

M Levkoff (ed), Hearst the collector, Los Angeles Museum of Art, 2008: 165, no. 26

C. Paggiarino, The Royal Armouries, masterpieces of medieval and renaissance arms and armour, Milan, 2011 volume 2


The gunmaker Nicolas Keucks is believed to have worked in Lorraine or the Rhineland between about 1620–30. The very high quality of the form and decoration of the stock relates it to a number of pieces which represent a fine school of gunmaking established around Metz. This gun is related to a gun signed by Mateus Nutten now in the National Museum, Copenhagen, a wheellock sporting gun by Jean Henequin in the Bavarian National Museum, Munich, a pair of pistols in the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, and a carbine in the Skokloster, Sweden. In this group the bone inlay technique popular in Germany was replaced by inlaid silver wire and plaques in the new French fashion. The decoration of the group was strongly influenced by the Mannerist designs of Michel Le Blon and Theodore de Bry, and the scene representing the abduction of Ganymede at the rear of the lock is very close to a drawing by Michiel Coxie of Mechelen, probably based on a printed version by Giulio Bonasone published in the Emblems of Achilles Bocchus of 1555, in turn after Michelangelo’s composition of 1533.