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Object Title

Gun - Italian Bronze 2-pounder and carriage

Gun - Italian Bronze 2-pounder and carriage

Date

1773

Object Number

XIX.79

Provenance

Probably cast for ornamental reasons for the Chevalier de Boyer d`Argens but then seized by the French Army of Egypt after the capture of Malta in 1789.

Physical Description

The barrel comprises a base ring, cascable and button, first reinforce, second reinforce, chase and muzzle.The gun is very richly decorated in high relief; a trellis pattern of laurel branches covers almost the entire reinforce. On the second reinforce are two shields-of-arms, of the Order of St.John and of Francisco Ximinez de Texado. Grand Master, 1773-1775; they are backed by a trophy of banners and shields charged with crescents; above is a helmet crested with an eagle, the whole surmounted by a coronet. The first reinforce bears a portrait bust, probably of the Grand Master, in an oval frame held by cherubs and resting on a pedestal inscribed TERRENI FVLMINA MARTIS (the thunderbolts of earthly war), the plinth being inscribed LE. C. DE BOYER D'ARGENS COM. The chase bears a Turkish trophy and an eagle holding a wreath and by the muzzle astragal a portrait head in an oval frame which is inscribed PHILIP LATTERELLVS ROM. DELIN ET SCVL. Above is a scroll with the date 1773. The muzzle is inscribed ET POMPA ET VSV (both for display and service). The base-ring bears the inscription HORATIVS ANTONIVS ALBERGHETTVS PVB. FVS. VEN. AN. MDCLXXXIV. The vent is placed at the upper edge of the cascable and below it is a scroll inscribed SCINTILLA SVFFICIT VNA (a single spark suffices). The cascablel button is formed as the head of Medusa.
The carriage trail is carved with two Furies grasping torches, the wheels representing suns with the spokes forming rays. The Carriage trail is carved with two Furies grasping torches, the wheels representing suns with the spokes forming rays. The edge of the breast transom is incised PE..../SPAGNA/...., most of the first and the third word being illegible, and the trail transom bears the letters A.R

Techniques

Cast

Materials

Dimensions

CarriageDiameter41 in
CarriageDiameter1041 mm
CarriageLength90 in
CarriageLength2286 mm
BarrelLength56 in
BarrelLength61 in
BarrelLength1422 mm
BarrelLength1549 mm

Firearms/Artillery

Serial Number MDCLXXXIV

Calibre

63 mm

Inscriptions and Marks

Inscription
A.R.
Trail transom
Inscribed
Portrait
Believed to be Chevalier de Boyer d`Argens in an oval frame held by cherubs and resting on pedesta inscribed TERRENI FVLMINA MARTIS [the thunderbolts of earthly war], the plinth being inscribed LE C. DE BOYER D`ARGENS COM.
First reinforce
In relief
Inscription
ET POMPA ET VSV [both for display and service]
Muzzle
Inscribed
Inscription
HORATIVS ANTONIVS ALBERGHETTVS PVB, FVS. VEN. AN. MDCLXXXIV.
Base ring
Inscribed
Ornamentation
Head of Medusa
Button
Casting
Shield of Arms
Order of St. John and Francisco Ximenez de Texado, Grand Master of the Order 1773-5. These are backed by a trophy of banners and shields charged with crescents. Above is a helmet crested with an eagle, the whole surmounted by a coronet.
Second reinforce
In relief
Inscription
PE[TRUS?] SPAGNA[INV?]
Breast transom
Inscribed
Inscription
Scroll with SCINTILLA SVFFICIT VNA [a single spark suffices]
Vent
Inscribed
Ornamentation
The hubs representing the sun and the spokes the sun`s rays.
Carriage wheels
Carving
coat of arms
Trophy of arms containing a portrait head in an oval frame inscribed PHILIP LATTARELLVS ROM. DELIN ET SCVL. Above is a scroll dated 1773.
Muzzle astragal
In relief
Ornamentation
Turkish trophy with an eagle holding a wreath.
Chase
In relief
Ornamentation
Two Furies grasping torches.
Carriage trail
Carving

Associations

Places Italy

Bibliographic References

H.L.Blackmore, The Armouries of the Tower of London, Ordnance Catalogue, H.M.S.O. London 1976, p.137.

Notes

After the capture of Malta by the French Army of Egypt in 1798, booty which included this gun and the flag of the Grand Master were being taken thence to France in the frigate 'La Sensible' when the vessel was attacked and captured on the 27th of May by H.M.Frigate 'Seahorse', Captain E.J. Foote, and the booty brought to England. The Tower etc. J.Hewitt, 1845. The flag is also still in the collection as XVI.9. The date 1773 agrees with the date of Grand Master Ximinez 1773 to 1775 while the inscription on the base-ring suggests that the gun was cast by 'Orazio Antonio Alberghetti'. He was a member of a famous family of Italian gunfounders, who held the office of Public Gunfounder in Venice (Publice Fusor Ventus), in 1684. The most probable explanation of the discrepancy is that a mould was made from it to which the decoration and inscriptios were added, and that a fresh mould was then made from which the present gun was cast in 1773.
The Chevalier de Boyer d'Argens was probably Luc de Boyer d'Esgiulles, Marquis d'Argens, admitted to the Order on the Langue of Provence in 1724 and appointed Commander of the Artillery in 1767.XIX.79 Furies gun - display at the Tower.
Captured 1798.
Ist mentioned – 'An Historical Description of the Tower of London and its Numerous Curiosities' David Henry (attribution pencil addition, hand of Sarah Barter Bailey) (Thomas North, MDCCC)
p. 37 – Train of Artillery
Buried at the end of the general description of the room – identified individual cannon are from earlier campaigns
“Besides those enumerated, there are in this area store room a vast number of brass cannon, all new; ….in it are 20 pillars for supporting the Small Armoury above [in which we should have noticed the following articles captured in a French ship on her voyage from Malta to France, when that island was taken by the French – A very curious brass cannon, and the flags of Malta] and hung round with impliments of war; and the trophies of standards, colours etc taken from the enemy”.
The preface to the guidebook is anxious to note “Pains have been taken to examine every fact to which the Traditions at the Tower have any Allusion” and it marks a transition towards a more accurate record of the displays than its 18th C predecessors.
By the 1803 edition 'An Historical Description of the Tower of London and its Curiosities' , the gun and its carriage are more fully described and correctly located in the Small Armory [ sic] description. At the entrance to the room is a very curious 2 pdr cannon – its carriage with “ the carved figures of two furies, whose features are strongly expressive of rage”.
It remained in the Small Armory and survived the fire (proximity to the case containing the Duke of York’s sash and sword in the Small Armory might have helped) as noted p.13 J Wheeler 'A Short History of the Tower of London with a list of the interesting Curiosities contained in the Armouries and Regalia' (1842). Our next unbound guidebook is after the Eastern vestibule was added between the New Horse Armoury and Queen Elizabeth’s Armoury in 1850, and p. 28-9 'Sketches of the Tower of London as a Fortress, a Prison and a Palace and A Guide to the Armouries' (1854) record it in the centre of the room
“ a beautifully ornamented gun of bronze, captured in the “sensible” French frigate by the “sea Horse”, Captain Foot [sic], 1798. The barrel is covered with figures in alto relieve of exquisite workmanship”. I presume it might have spent some time between these dates in the gun park to the west of the White Tower. It would have moved into the White Tower with the demolition of the NHA in 1883.
It can be seen in a photograph of this area taken in 1870 illustrated on p.102 of the Impey/Parnell official history (Merrell 2000).

Image of Gun - Italian Bronze 2-pounder and carriage An extremely highly decorated gun and carriage.
Image of Gun - Italian Bronze 2-pounder and carriage An extremely highly decorated gun and carriage.
Image of 2 pr gun and carriage Made of bronze. Cast by Alberghetti. Carriage contemporary XIX.79
Image of 2 pr gun and carriage Made of bronze. Cast by Alberghetti. Carriage contemporary XIX.79
Image of 2 pr gun and carriage Made of bronze. Cast by Alberghetti. Carriage contemporary XIX.79
Image of 2 pr gun and carriage Made of bronze. Cast by Alberghetti. Carriage contemporary XIX.79
Image of 2 pr gun and carriage Made of bronze. Cast by Alberghetti. Carriage contemporary XIX.79
Image of 2 pr gun and carriage Made of bronze. Cast by Alberghetti. Carriage contemporary XIX.79
Image of 2 pr gun and carriage Made of bronze. Cast by Alberghetti. Carriage contemporary XIX.79
Image of Gun - Italian Bronze 2-pounder and carriage An extremely highly decorated gun and carriage.
Image of Gun - Italian Bronze 2-pounder and carriage An extremely highly decorated gun and carriage.
Image of Gun - Italian Bronze 2-pounder and carriage An extremely highly decorated gun and carriage.
Image of Gun - Italian Bronze 2-pounder and carriage An extremely highly decorated gun and carriage.
Image of Gun - Italian Bronze 2-pounder and carriage An extremely highly decorated gun and carriage.
Image of Gun - Italian Bronze 2-pounder and carriage An extremely highly decorated gun and carriage.
Image of Gun - Italian Bronze 2-pounder and carriage An extremely highly decorated gun and carriage.
Image of Gun - Italian Bronze 2-pounder and carriage An extremely highly decorated gun and carriage.
Image of Gun - Italian Bronze 2-pounder and carriage An extremely highly decorated gun and carriage.
Image of Gun - Italian Bronze 2-pounder and carriage An extremely highly decorated gun and carriage.
Image of Gun - Italian Bronze 2-pounder and carriage An extremely highly decorated gun and carriage.
Image of Gun - Italian Bronze 2-pounder and carriage An extremely highly decorated gun and carriage.
Image of Gun - Italian Bronze 2-pounder and carriage An extremely highly decorated gun and carriage.