Object Title

Trousse and case - Hunting Trousse

Trousse and case - Hunting Trousse



Object Number



From the W.R. Hearst Collection, acquired 1951.

Physical Description

Probably for hunting, but purpose uncertain. Tooled leather case with separate lid and compartments for the following instruments each with a square sectioned wooden handle set into a short socket.

1) Chopper, parallel sided blade with rounded, blunt, hooked point. A band of gilt etching along the back shows foliate patterns on one face, a stag and hounds on the other. The ricasso, also gilt, is dated 1581, features further foliate etching.
2) Saw of backsaw form, the metal parts etched with foliage and gilt socket.
3) Skinning knife, sharply tapering single-edged blade, etched along the back with foliate designs and gilt at the ricasso and socket.
4) Basting needle, the thick rod slightly waisted near the eye.
5) A smaller version of the chopper (1) above and similarly decorated.
6) Knife with short cutting edge a, chisel point extending above. The long, square sectioned ricasso is chiselled with file teeth. The socket and bottom of the blade is gilt.
7) Knife with crescentic cutting head swivelling on the end of a short rod fitted to the handle.The head and socket is gilt.

All the pieces are etched on the ricasso and on the socket, the etching gilt in each case. The pieces 1, 2, 3, 5 & 6 are etched with a coat of arms.


inlay, Etching, Gilding



BladeLength137 mm
BladeLength160 mm
BladeLength203 mm
BladeLength208 mm
OverallLength221 mm
OverallLength229 mm
OverallLength239 mm
OverallLength244 mm
OverallLength330 mm
OverallLength340 mm
OverallWeight113 g
OverallWeight142 g
OverallWeight227 g
OverallWeight369 g
OverallWeight57 g
OverallWeight249 mm
HeadLength38 mm

Inscriptions and Marks

On the blades of pieces 1, 3, 5 & 6: an inlaid copper-alloy crescent


Places Europe

Bibliographic References

H.L. Blackmore, Hunting Weapons, London 1971, p. 65f., where it is suggested that the instruments bay have been for veterinary or horticultural use.


Trousses containing similar instruments are in Glasgow Museums and Art Galleries (reg. no. ); in the former Russian Museum in the Tsarkoe-Selo, nr. St Petersberg; in the Deutsches Klingenmuseum, Solingen; and formerly in the Londesborough Collection (all mentioned in Blackmore, 'op. cit.'). Another set is in the Science Museum (inv. no. A79088), the chopper and saw from which were illustrated in in 'Armada 1588-1988', exhib. cat., Nat. Maritime Mus., Greenwich, 1988, p.204, nos 11.4, 11.5; a photograph of the complete is in the Royal Armouries photographic library. Another set is in the Metropolitan Mus. of Art, New York, acq. no. 64.101.1470-1476, comprising two bill hooks, a knife, a small bill hook, a hammer / awl, and secateurs; two of the items are signed 'A. Moulins (or Molins?) ala palme'; dated (display label at 19/05/1993) 1657-1600.
For another example, see Peter Finer, Catalogue of arms, armour and related objects offered for sale, 2008, no. 8 (llus.), described as a French hunting trousse, circa 1575. The catalogue entry [by Guy Wilson] listed examples in other collections and that list, together with other information in the entry, should be incorporated into the above paragraph in due course (PJL, 12/12/07).