Object Title

Trousse and case

Trousse and case



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 wood handle set into a short socket.

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

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.


Dimensions: 1) Overall length: 340 mm (13.4 in), blade length: 208 mm (8.2 in), 2) Overall length: 330 mm (13 in), blade length: 203 mm (8 in), 3) Overall length: 221 mm (8.7 in), blade length: 137 mm (5.4 in), 4) Overall length: 244 mm (9.6 in), 5) Overall length: 239 mm (9.4 in), blade length: 137 mm (5.4 in), 6) Overall length: 249 mm (9.8 in), blade length: 160 mm (6.3 in), 7) Overall length: 229 mm (9 in), length of pivotted head: 3.81 mm (0.15 in) (sic in IBE - 1.5 in?) Weight: 1) 0 lb 13 oz, 2) 0 lb 8 oz, 3) 0 lb 2 oz, 4) 0 lb 4 oz, 5) 0 lb 5 oz, 6) 0 lb 4 oz, 7) 0 lb 2 oz

Inscriptions and Marks

On the blades of pieces 1, 3, 5 & 6: an inlaid copper mark.


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).