Object Title

3 pr gun

3 pr gun



Object Number



Old Tower Collection

Physical Description

Each gun is finely ornamented in low relief. The chase bears two oval medallions; one, showing a snake in a rocky landscape under a stormy sky, is surrounded by the motto NIL SISTIT EVNTEM (nothing stops it in its course), the other, showing a similar snake basking in the rays of the sun, by the motto VIRES DVM RESPICIT AVGET (its strength increases as it looks around). Beneath is the interlaced and addorsed monogram JBC surmounted by a coronet. A band between the second reinforce ring and the chase astragal shows mermen and children and in the centre a bust, probably that of the owner, which is repeated on the under side. Each dolphin is formed as two snakes issuing from a ram's horn cornucopia. On the first reinforce are the arms of Colbert (or, a serpent azure) encircled with the collars of the orders of Saint Michel and of the Saint Esprit, surmounted by a marquis's coronet and with hound and unicorn supporters. There are bands of foliage on the vent field and base ring; the latter carries a back sight in the form of two hounds couchant. The cascabel is formed as a coiled serpent; the head which formed the button is missing. Both guns were involved in the Grand Storehouse fire of 1841, when the brass butt plate of a musket was fused to the muzzle of XIX.50


Dimensions: Length: 81 in (205.7 cm), Overall length: 84 in (213.4 cm)


Serial Number None visible


2.6 in _ (6.6 cm)


Places France

Bibliographic References

H.L.Blackmore, The Armouries of the Tower of London, Ordnance Catalogue, H.M.S.O. London 1976, p.116-117.


The description of these guns in the 1916 'Inventory' states incorrectly that they were among the weapons brought from Paris in 1815. A pen-and-wash drawing of the guns executed in 1760 by K.Cofield (B.M., No.1873-5-10-1736) is captioned 'two 4 Pounders taken at Qebeck before the Governor's Door in 1759 and now deposited in the Grand arsenell in the tower of London'. They are described in the 1771 Guide as '2 copper cannon, 3 pounders, on wheels, which were taken from the gates of the governor's house at Quebec'. It seems likely that they are the guns which stood at the entrance of the room in the Grand Storehouse in which the Royal Train of Artillery was displayed until the fire of 1841. They were included in the large collection of weapons sent fom the Tower for exhibition at the Guildhall, London, during the Lord Mayor's Festival, November 1857.
Jean-Baptiste Colbert, 1619-83, was 'Controleur General des Finances' and also 'Ministre de la Marine'. The marine theme of part of the decoration of the gun is probably an allusion to this latter office.