Object Title

Gun - English Bronze, Breech-Loading

Gun - English Bronze, Breech-Loading

Date

1530-1540

Object Number

XIX.17

Provenance

From the royal Tudor collection of Henry VIII.

Physical Description

Cast with three bores side by side. The form is rectangular externally with mouldings at cascabel, reinforce and muzzle. At the muzzle is the inscription POVR DEFENDRE, the chase being engraved with foliage and candelabrum ornament on a hatched ground. The decoration is confined to the upper surface of the gun, with the exception of low mouldings forming reactangular panels on the sides of the chase. The reinforce bears in high relief a Tudor rose surmounted by a crown supported by two putti, one holding some ears of wheat,the other a branch bearing fruit (?). Below is a flat rectangular panel inscribed HENRICVS OCTAVVS DEI GRACIA ANGLIE ET FRANCIE REX FIDEI DEFENSOR DNS HIBERIE (sic). In front of the troughs for the chambers is the name of the founder PETRVS BAVDE GALLVS OPERIS ARTIFEX. The cascabel button has been elaborately formed of a dolphin on either side of a central feature now much damaged. Each chamber trough has a slot at the forward end for the lug on the underside of the chambers and also a transverse opening at the rear for the wedge which served to force all three chambers home into the breeches. The gun suffered severely in the Grand Storehouse fire of 1841, is now broken into four pieces and no chambers survive

Techniques

Cast

Materials

Dimensions

NominalLength78 in.
NominalLength1981 mm
OverallLength84 in.
OverallLength2134 mm
BoreWidth2.1 in.
BoreWidth54 mm

Firearms/Artillery

Serial Number None visible

Calibre

53 mm

Inscriptions and Marks

Decoration
Foliage and candelabrum ornament on a hatched ground.
Chase
Engraving
Inscription
HENRICVS OCTAVVS DEI GRACIA ANGLIE ET FRANCIE REX FIDEI DEFENSOR DNS HIBERIE
Reinforce
Cast
Inscription
PETRVS BAVDE GALLVS OPERIS ARTIFEX
Just abover the chamber troughs
Cast
Inscription
POVR DEFENDRE
Muzzle
Cast
Decoration
Rectangular panels.
Chase sides.
Mouldings.
Decoration
Tudor rose surmounted by a crown supported by two putti, one holding ears of wheat and a branch bearing fruit.
Reinforce
Mouldings

Associations

Bibliographic References

H.L.Blackmore, The Armouries of the Tower of London, Ordnance Catalogue, H.M.S.O. London 1976, p.58.

Notes

'Peter Baude', active 1528-46, a Frenchman by birth, became one of the King's gunfounders. He worked with the Owen brothers at a foundry in Houndsditch, London, 1531 where he also cast bells and fine monumental bronzework.
According to Holinshed (vol. III, pt. II) he was sent to Buxted in Sussex in 1543 to instruct Hogge and Levett (qv) in the casting of iron guns. Granted denization in the name of Bawood 10 October 1542.
The gun is apparaently that described in the 1540 Inventory (App.1) as: ' a Square pece of brasse with iij halles and vj chambers...j'. It was then 'in the mynt'. In the 1547 Inventories it is generally classified with another gun which shot seven bullets (this was destroyed in the 1841 fire), as 'peces of diverse bulletts'. The 1595 and 1600 Inventories (App.1) give its estimated weight as 7cwt. It is mentioned by two 16th century visitors to the Tower, in 1598 by Paul Hentzner and in 1599 by Joseph Platter (1916 Inventory, 65,66). Because of the architectural composition of the gun giving a flat surface to the chase, the maker has been able to introduce a style of decorative engraving with a hatched background not normally found on cannon. A similar design of vases, cornucopiae, flowers, etc is found on English armour of the period. The royal motif of the Tudor rose with putti supporters is like that cast on a bronze poll-axe in the Cambridge University Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology (now on loan to the Armouries), one of a group of poll-axes believed to have been made in England for Henry VIII. There is a distinct Italian Renaissance character to the decoration and the artist may well be one of the Florentine engravers and sculptors who worked in England, perhaps Giovanni da Maiano or Bendetto da Rovezzano with whom Baude is believed to have been associated (see Introduction p. and C. Blair, 'New Light on Four Almain Armours, 2', 'Connoisseur', December 1959).