Object Title

1.7 in gun

1.7 in gun

Date

1535

Object Number

XIX.166

Provenance

Transferred in 1930 from the Rotunda Museum, Woolwich, where it was No. II.3. Brought from Paris in 1816.

Physical Description

A particular slender and elegant gun shaped as four staggered octagons corresponding to first, second and third reinforces and chase. The surface, except the plain under side of the reinforce, is richly decorated in relief; on the forward part with foliage and on the rear with architectural motifs which incorporate a shield bearing unidentified arms (barry of ten). On the first reinforce is the device of a jew's harp. The dolphins are formed as wyverns and the cascabel button as a winged mermaid. The base ring, which is edged by a frieze of peasant figures, incised with the name of the founder MAISTRE DENIS, and a tablet at the muzzle bears the date 1535. Cut on the face of the muzzle is the number 394 and by the touch hole the modern number 57.

Dimensions

Dimensions: Length: 7 ft 4 in (223.5 cm), Overall length: 7 ft 10 in (238.8 cm) Weight: 3 cwt 3 qtr 5 lb (192.8 kg)

Firearms/Artillery

Serial Number nvn

Calibre

1.7 in (4.3 cm)

Associations

Places France

Bibliographic References

H.L.Blackmore, The Armouries of the Tower of London, Ordnance Catalogue, H.M.S.O. London 1976, P.111.

Notes

The gun figures as No.1 in the 'Return of Ordnance, Arms, Models and Various Articles proceeding from the Arsenal, the Central Depot, and the Museum of Artillery in Paris, forming a part of the British Share of Stores, captured in that City', which was drawn up on 19 December 1815. It is described as 'An Ancient Brass Gun, dated 1535, the exterior richly ornamented with carved work. Length 7ft 4in., Calibre 1.72in., Weight 3cwt 3qtr 5lbs.' (W.O.44/616). An unsigned gun of similar proportions also decorated with Gothic architectural features but with two jew;s harps in front of the vent was in the Zeughaus, Berlin, No.6798(?)(1900 'Fuhrer', p.178,No.57). There is no obvious explanation, heraldic or otherwise, for the presence of these musical instruments on the guns, but the German words for a jew's harp, 'Maultrommel' (mouth drum) or or 'Brummeisen'(buzzing iron), may indicate a light-hearted attempt to suggest the noise of these two guns in action. Although the jew's harp can be traced back to at least Saxon times these two guns carry some of the earliest representations of the instrument (see F.C.Elliston Erwood, 'Examples of Jew's Harp found at Shooters Hill and elsewhere', 'Archaeological Cantiana', Vol.56 (1944),34-7).