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Object Title

Wheellock pistol - 'Forget-me-not'

Wheellock pistol - 'Forget-me-not'

Date

1585

Object Number

XII.1764

Provenance

Acquired 1960 with the aid of the National Art Collections Fund, now called the Art Fund. By tradition the property of an English family since the 16th century

Physical Description

Of fine quality, the wheellock is chiselled and gilt with a satyr, a human-headed and bird-bodied monster, and a grotesque mask. The arm of the dog is formed as a merman. The dog spring and pan cover release button are missing and the bearing plate of the wheel is a restoration. Walnut stock with down curved butt of what is commonly known as petronel form, inlaid with decoration in white and green stained stag horn and mother-of-pearl consisting of running foliage inhabited by human figures, birds, centaurs and satyrs. In addition the stock is inset with a number of silver medallions embossed with human and grotesque masks, two miniatures of bearded men, one wearing an open coronet, painted on ivory and set beneath rock crystal. On either side of the butt are set verre eglomise plaques, which are painted in gold on a red background with a shield bearing a sprig of forget-me-not, in the centre of which is the German inscription VER GIS MEIN NIT (forget me not) and the date 1581.
The stag horn butt plate is engraved with the figures of Venus and Cupid. Gilt steel mounts, the wooden ramrod is a restoration. The barrel is chiselled and gilt for its entire length with human masks and demi-figures, strapwork, canopies, and stylised floral ornament, with a monster's head at the muzzle.

Featured in

Techniques

Forged, inlay, Carved

Dimensions

BarrelLength21.6 in
BarrelLength549 mm
OverallLength30.5 in
OverallLength775 mm
OverallWeight2.1 kg

Firearms/Artillery

Serial Number None visible

Calibre

90 bore

Bibliographic References

Royal Armouries, Royal Armouries Museum [souvenir guide], Royal Armouries, Leeds, 2000, p.23, colour ill. (right-hand side view of stock and lock)

Graeme Rimer, Wheellock Firearms of the Royal Armouries, Royal Armouries Museum, Leeds, 2001. p.41, colour ill.

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

Notes

This richly decorated weapon was almost certainly intended for show rather than for use.Although it has a lock of German form it was probably made in France. The form and decoration of the stock is very similar to that of a carbine with a lock of French construction in the Musee de l'Armee (No.M.98). The form of the chiselling on the lock, mounts and barrel resembles that on a wheellock pistol from the Cabinet d'Armes of Louis XIII, now in the Hermitage Museum, St.Petersburg.
The most unusual features of the decoration of this gun are the two verre eglomise plaques. Such plaques are usually found set in rings and may have been imported by the maker or acquired by the owner from abroad. However the forget-me-not motif and inscription perhaps suggests that this weapon may have been a presentation piece.

Thumbnail image of Wheellock pistol known as the 'Forget-me-not' pistol. XII.1764
Thumbnail image of Wheellock pistol known as the 'Forget-me-not' pistol. XII.1764
Thumbnail image of Wheellock pistol known as the 'Forget-me-not' pistol. XII.1764
Thumbnail image of XII.1764
Thumbnail image of Wheellock pistol known as the 'Forget-me-not' pistol. XII.1764
Thumbnail image of XII.1764
Thumbnail image of XII.1764
Thumbnail image of Wheellock pistol known as the 'Forget-me-not' pistol. XII.1764
Thumbnail image of Wheellock pistol known as the 'Forget-me-not' pistol. XII.1764
Thumbnail image of XII.1764
Thumbnail image of XII.1764
Thumbnail image of XII.1764
Thumbnail image of Wheellock pistol - 'Forget-me-not' Known as the 'Forget-me-not' pistol.
Thumbnail image of Wheellock pistol - 'Forget-me-not' Known as the 'Forget-me-not' pistol.
Thumbnail image of Wheellock pistol - 'Forget-me-not' Known as the 'Forget-me-not' pistol.
Thumbnail image of Wheellock pistol - 'Forget-me-not' Known as the 'Forget-me-not' pistol.
Thumbnail image of Wheellock pistol - 'Forget-me-not' Known as the 'Forget-me-not' pistol.
Thumbnail image of Wheellock pistol - 'Forget-me-not' Known as the 'Forget-me-not' pistol.
Thumbnail image of Wheellock pistol known as the 'Forget-me-not' pistol. XII.1764
Thumbnail image of XII.1764
Thumbnail image of XII.1764
Thumbnail image of Wheellock pistol known as the 'Forget-me-not' pistol. XII.1764
Thumbnail image of Wheellock pistol known as the 'Forget-me-not' pistol. XII.1764