Peter Finer 38–39 Duke Street, St James’s, London SW1Y 6DF T: +44 (0)20 7839 5666 F: +44 (0)20 7839 5777 E: firstname.lastname@example.org www.peterfiner.com
We number these museums and foundations among our valued clients:
ASIA Chi Mei Culture Foundation, Taiwan
CANADA The Glenbow Museum, Calgary
EUROPE Deutsches Klingenmuseum, Solingen Rüstkammer, Dresden Landesmuseum für Kultur- und Landesgeschichte, Schloss Tirol Stedelijke Musea, Kortrijk
GREAT BRITAIN The Victoria and Albert Museum, London The Aberdeen Art Gallery The Royal Armouries, Leeds The National Army Museum, London The Royal Naval Museum, Portsmouth The National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh The Royal Scots Regimental Museum, Edinburgh
IRELAND The National Museum of Ireland, Dublin
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York The Philadelphia Museum of Art The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston The Cleveland Museum of Art The Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford The Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City
E S TA B L I S H E D 19 6 7
38–39 Duke Street, St James’s, London SW1Y 6DF T: +44 (0)20 7839 5666 F: +44 (0)20 7839 5777 E: email@example.com www.peterfiner.com
he origin and history of any work of art holds obvious allure and importance: collectors have always valued provenance, and in recent years it has become increasingly significant to dealers and collectors alike. One of a dealer’s responsibilities is to research, to attempt to discover what is relevant and interesting about an object and
record it. We have varied results in this pursuit, of course.
During the nearly fifty years Peter Finer has been trading, we have been fortunate to handle numerous pieces with royal or historically interesting provenance. Many of these works now reside in museums or in today’s great private collections. We have purchased ancestral armouries with unbroken provenance, an exceptional rarity in the art world; the ‘Maximilian’ armour, (catalogue no. 1), belonged to one family for close to 500 years. With the help of scholars such as Dottore Mario Scalini, we have also made discoveries: the hunting flask made for a member of the Medici family (catalogue no. 3) dates flasks of its type to a quarter of a century earlier than previously thought. Other pieces ‘come up for air,’ after being hidden away in private collections for decades, such as the Saxon Estoc (catalogue no. 7) This sword first came on the market when included in the Highly Important Arms from the Saxon Royal Collections auction of items from the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Dresden, held by Sotheby’s in 1970. We purchased it privately from the collector who bought it there and had treasured it for decades. We offer pieces in this catalogue that were commissioned by kings and princes from the finest craftsmen of the era. Some were constructed principally to protect in tournament, like the buffe and pauldrons (catalogue nos 5 and 6). Their maker, Anton Peffenhauser, knew the importance of a royal commission for the prince elector of Saxony and made these pieces for him as beautiful as they were functional. Tournaments were integral to court life for the royals and nobles of Europe, as, of course, was the hunt. The wheellock pistol (catalogue no. 8) belonged to King Louis XIII of France and bears the inventory number of his personal collection of hunting guns. Astonishing acts of bravery have long been acknowledged and rewarded with the presentation of stunningly ornate and valuable gifts; such an example is the Lloyd’s Patriotic Fund sword (catalogue no. 14) which was presented to the commander of the Honourable East India Company’s ship Coutts for his cunning and nerve in the face of death and potentially the Company’s utter ruin. The intricately sculptured and cast Spanish bronze cannon (catalogue no. 10), were similarly given in appreciation – in their case for loyal service to His Majesty King George III. The handsomely realized pair of cased Indian pistols (catalogue no. 12) were given by one legendary man to another, in recognition of their friendship and respect. Each piece has a story to tell and these stories enrich their provenance. Many individuals have kindly assisted us in the preparation of this catalogue, but we would like in particular to thank Ian Eaves, Nicholas McCullough, Graeme Rimer, Thom Richardson, Mario Scalini, Holger Schuckelt, Pierre Terjanian and Paula Turner. We would also like to thank our clients, many of whom we are lucky to also call friends, for their continued support of our family business. You know who you are.
P R O V 1
A Superb Armour for the Field in the ‘Maximilian’ Fashion, from the Armoury of the Dukes of Brunswick-Lüneburg, c. 1520–30
A Fine Glaive Made for the Guard of the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian II, dated 1564
A Rare Powder Flask for the Hunt, Likely Made for Cosimo I de’ Medici, Duke of Florence, Third Quarter of the Sixteenth Century
A Massive Two-hand Bearing Sword of the City of Brunswick, c. 1570
An Etched and Gilt Reinforcing Buffe Made by Anton Peffenhauser for the Prince Elector Christian I of Saxony, c. 1586
A Pair of Etched and Gilt Pauldrons for the Tourney Made by Anton Peffenhauser for the Prince Elector Christian I of Saxony, c. 1587–8
A Silver-Mounted Estoc, or Thrusting Sword, Made for the Elite Mounted Contingent of the Trabantenleibgarde of the Prince Electors of Saxony, c. 1590–1600
A Wheellock Holster Pistol from the Personal Collection of King Louis XIII of France, c. 1635–40
N C 9
An Historic Pair of Bronze Cannon Cast by the Spanish Gunfounder Mathias Solano, Dated 1747, and Given by King George III of England to Major General John Graves Simcoe in 1798
A Flintlock Magazine Repeating Pistol Bearing the British Royal Crown, by Grice, c. 1770–3
An Important Cased Pair of Indian Flintlock Pistols with Silver Barrels and Lockplates, signed ‘L. Col. Claude Martin, Lucknow Arsenal’, circa 1785, presented in 1786 by Martin to Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Ross
An Important Cased Pair of Flintlock Pistols, by Joseph Manton for the Noted Sportsman Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Thornton, 1796
A Lloyd’s Patriotic Fund Sword of £50 Value presented to R. Torin, Esquire, Commander of the Honourable East India Company’s Ship Coutts, 1804
A Silver-Mounted Flintlock Sporting Gun by Nicolas-Nöel Boutet, by Tradition Presented by Emperor Napoleon I to his Close Friend and Confidant General Count Henri-Gratien Bertrand, c. 1806–8
A Superb Armour for the Field in the ‘Maximilian’ Fashion, from the Armoury of the Dukes of Brunswick-Lüneburg, c. 1520–30
Probably Brunswick. Steel and leather 70.8 x 30.7 x 25.5 in. / 180 x 78 x 65 cm PROVENANCE
The armoury of the Dukes of Brunswick-Lüneburg at Schloss Wolfenbüttel; transferred to Schloss Blankenburg, about 1599; removed to Schloss Marienburg in 1945 - The helmet and the right gauntlet became separated from the main elements of this armour in this transfer. The helmet and the right gauntlet were recognized and reunited with the armour in 2004
Tower of London, Exhibition of Arms, Armour and Militaria lent by H.R.H. The Duke of Brunswick and Lüneburg, London, 1952, cat. no. 6, pl. 2 (the armour not including the helmet and right gauntlet), and cat. no. 3, pl. 1 (the right gauntlet) of the exhibition catalogue
luted plate armour became increasingly ornate in the early
patronizing armourers: armour production in the German-speaking
sixteenth century, in direct emulation of the slashed and
regions centred on the cities of Augsburg, Nuremberg and Landshut,
elaborately pleated tunics which were the height of male fashion
together with the court workshops of the Holy Roman Emperors in
at the Germanic royal and noble courts. The present fluted armour
Innsbruck in the south, and the city of Brunswick in the north.
was constructed ‘for the field’, meaning that it was intended to be worn in war and not for the tournament. On the battlefield the
The ‘Maximilian’ style, as exemplified in the amour here, was
dramatically sculpted surfaces of the burnished white steel would
characterized by boldly rounded surfaces augmented by carefully
have reflected sunlight and created a bright aura around its wearer.
arranged groups of flutes painstakingly hammered into almost
A fluted surface, however, was not simply intended to decorate a
every surface of each component of a complete garniture of
costly armour: this process was as much a technical advance in
armour, except the lower legs, which always remained unfluted
defensive capability. The flutes on a piece of armour had the ability
(shapely calves, revealed by the smooth stocking worn by men,
to deflect the points and edges of assailant blades, and also fortified
were considered a desirable feature in masculine fashion). Each
the structure of the armour plate.
flute was emphasized by strong file-cut lines bordering its sides, and this heightening of the fluted ornament underscored the visual
South German armour of this type was first termed ‘Maximilian’
strength of the entire design. A comparable example (no. A24) in
by nineteenth-century academics in reference to the Holy Roman
the Wallace Collection, London, is said to have required hundreds
Emperor Maximilian I, during whose reign the style developed in
of feet of fluting and over 500 feet of file-work lines in its decoration.
complexity and became immensely popular. The emperor was a
Nonetheless, the armour, however form-fitting and elegant, was a
great armour enthusiast and commissioned the master armourers
highly functional piece of combat equipment. In order to achieve
at his court workshops in and around Innsbruck to create innovative
the lightness necessary in fast-moving combat, the individual plates
designs which became the envy of the royal courts of Europe. Henry
were hammered relatively thin (relative, that is, to the heavy armour
VIII of England, for example, vied with his royal peers to produce
used specifically in sport), then heated and quenched under careful
refined armour the equal of that worn at the imperial court, and
control, leaving the steel flexible and able to withstand the shock
to this end established his own workshops of German armourers
of great impact without shattering. The areas naturally likely to
at Greenwich. Maximilian championed the knightly chivalric arts,
receive the heaviest rain of impacts were alone forged to greater
the decline of which he much lamented, and attempted to bolster
thicknesses, notably the breastplate and the front and upper sides
the culture by hosting lavishly staged tournaments at court and by
of the helmet.
Full head-to-toe armours, also known historically as cap-à-pie
this, inevitably suffered battering and damage; parts were regularly
armours, were works of art of significant prestige and belonged
repaired or replaced with period elements by contemporary
exclusively to monarchs, princes and those among the more
armourers, often by the same workshop in which the armour had
wealthy in the knightly classes, not surprisingly considering their
great cost. It is no doubt for their beauty, rich history and value that individual armours such as this one remained in ancestral homes
Most field armours are therefore composite to an extent and in
as symbols of a family’s heritage long after the days in which they
fact no entirely homogeneous single armour of this type, from this
were used on the battlefield.
period, is known today. By the end of the sixteenth century - when this armour’s working life had come to an end - it comprised, as
This armour likely looks much the same today as it did in 1599,
it remains, an upper armour with legs from another armour, both
when it was moved from the armoury at Schloss Wolfenbüttel to
dating to 1520–30, and likely made in the same workshop. The leg
that in the castle at Blankenburg. Armour used in warfare, such as
elements possibly needed to be replaced after damage in battle.
A view of Schloss Wolfenbüttel, the Zeughaus, or Armoury, seen at the right, as found in Topographia Braunschweig Lüneburg by Matthäus Merian the Elder (1593–1650), Franckfurt am Main, 1654
This armour’s unimpeachable provenance confers an unusual importance, and very few early armours in private collections today possess a history its equal. This armour comes directly from the royal Hanoverian collections and is descended without interruption from the ducal house of BrunswickLüneburg, the powerful and wealthy dynastic rulers of an area that is today a part of northern Germany. Under the patronage of the Dukes of Brunswick-Lüneburg and the ducal court, the city of Brunswick flourished as a centre for the production of fine armour. The construction techniques of the Brunswick armourers most certainly rivalled those of their contemporaries working in the south and for the imperial court and its armies in Austria. The royal Hanoverian familial ties to the British royal family served the armoury of the dukes of Brunswick-Lüneburg fortuitously in modern history, saving this armour and the entire collection from the Soviets. In the closing weeks of the Second World War, His Royal Highness ErnstAugust, Duke of Brunswick, fled with his family from their ancestral residence of Schloss Blankenburg in the face of the advancing Soviet army. In response to the duke’s appeal for help, a column of British motorized troops hastily removed the entire contents of the Blankenburg armoury, the present armour included, and transported it to Schloss Marienburg in the western allied zone. The contents of the armoury remained at Marienburg until its dispersal, much of the collection untouched beneath its 1945 protective coat of British army grease. As a gesture of gratitude, Duke Ernst-August lent a comprehensive selection of distinctively North German armour, weapons and militaria for exhibition at the Tower of London in 1952. The present armour was included in this exhibition, although its helmet and the right gauntlet were exhibited separately – the confusion a result of them being misplaced following the 1945 transport. The complete armour was reunited only when the collection at Marienburg was in recent years extensively researched and catalogued.
A Fine Glaive Made for the Guard of the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian II, dated 1564 South German. Steel and wood 98.5 in. / 250 cm PROVENANCE
The armouries of the guard of Emperor Maximilian II, the Hofburg, Vienna; an American private collection
afted weapons such as this glaive developed from the undecorated types used on medieval battlefields. With
the heads formed as massive knife-like blades, these weapons and their likely effect leave little to the imagination. The glaive became the traditional arm carried by the personal guard of the ruling Habsburgs, a select body of troops equipped both practically and elegantly, their glaives etched with the personal insignia of the successive sixteenth-century emperors
with whose protection they were charged. The present glaive illustrates perfectly the high level of artistry and technical finesse achieved in the etching of its decoration and insignia. The Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian II of Austria (1527–76) was the son of Emperor Ferdinand I and the nephew of
Emperor Maximilian II, c. 1566, by Nicolas Neufchâtel, ©Kunsthistorisches
the Emperor Charles V. The archduke was crowned king of
Bohemia in September 1562, king of Germany (king of the Romans) in November 1562 and king of Hungary and Croatia
ensigned with three fire-steels and surmounted by an
in 1563 before becoming emperor upon his father’s death
emperor’s crown. A slender vertical panel along the lower
in July, 1564. Maximilian married his cousin, the Archduchess
edge carries the motto of Maximilian II:
Maria of Austria, Regent of Spain (1528–1603) and the marriage produced sixteen children.
‘DEUS PROVIDEBIT’ ‘GOD WILL PROVIDE’
The entwined monogram MM etched on the head of this
glaive signifies the names Maximilian and Maria. The head
The Vienna state archives hold a record of payment made in
is finely etched on both sides with a panel bearing this
this period to Daniel and George Hopfer of Augsburg, virtuoso
monogram. Above it on one side, the imperial double-eagle
etchers of the finest armour of the period and then working
supports an escutcheon bearing the arms of Austria impaled
in Nuremberg. This document specifies that a payment was
with those of ancient Burgundy, surmounted by the crown
made for the procurement and etching of 110 halberds
of the Holy Roman Emperor (the armorial attributes of the
commissioned by Emperor Maximilian II, while a further group
Duchy of Burgundy passed to the archducal house of Austria
of five halberds of the emperor’s guard are today preserved in
following the marriage of Maria, the daughter of Charles the
the former imperial collection in Vienna and these are struck
Bold, duke of Burgundy, to Maximilian I in 1477). The eagle’s
with the mark of the etcher Hans Stromair, also of Augsburg.
talons clutch the collar of the Order of the Golden Fleece
Another series of 110 etched halberds for the equipment of
below. The opposite side shows the armorial badges of the
the guard of Maximilian’s son, Rudolf II, is also recorded in the
Duchy of Burgundy, namely the ragged cross of St Andrew
imperial archive and which reference the Augsburg etchers
Oswald Salzhueber and Hans Stromair (see von Kienbusch 1963, catalogue nos. 561-2). In light of this historical documentation it would seem highly probable that the comparable series of etched state glaives, to which the present example belongs, were the product of either of these leading Augsburg or Nuremberg workshops. The state glaives carried by the guard of Emperor Maximilian II are divided into three series, different in both design and date. A single example preserved in the von Kienbusch Collection in the Philadelphia Museum of Art (see 1963 catalogue, no. 561), also dated 1564, is clearly from the same workshop as the present glaive; they are identical with the exception of a small etched detail at the base of the blades. Another glaive identical to the present piece is preserved in the collection of the Princes Odescalchi, Rome (inv. no. 1580). A further example in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, is evidently from the same workshop, but dated 1558 (inv. no. A 730). It bears the insignia of the guard of Ferdinand I, the father of Maximilian II, but the same as the glaives dated 1564, is etched with the arms of Austria and Burgundy, the imperial double-eagle, the collar of the Order of the Golden Fleece, and the crown of the Holy Roman Emperor; the reverse is etched with the ragged St Andrewâ€™s cross and the fire steels of the duchy of Burgundy and bears the motto mater Dei memento mei. Seven etched state glaives in Vienna bear the motto, the MM monogram and the full arms of Maximilian II, but none are dated 1564, the year of Maximilianâ€™s succession as emperor. Our glaive instead belongs to the identical 1564 series exemplified by both the von Kienbusch example in the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the example in the Odescalchi Collection, Rome; to judge from the absence of any further 1564-dated state glaives in Vienna, it would be reasonable to refer to our glaive as an extremely rare surviving example from this period of imperial pageantry.
A Rare Powder Flask for the Hunt, Likely Made for Cosimo I de’ Medici, Duke of Florence Third Quarter of the Sixteenth Century Italy, possibly Rome. Steel 8.5 x 4.5 in. / 21.5 x 11.5 cm PROVENANCE
The Princes Medici, grand dukes of Tuscany; a European private collection
reserved in very fine untouched condition throughout, this powder flask was unquestionably made for a member of the
ruling Medici family, and probably for Cosimo I de’Medici (1519–74)
when he was duke of Florence, but before he was created grand duke of Tuscany in 1569. In 1530 the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V created the Medici family as hereditary rulers of the Republic of Florence. By this means Alessandro de’Medici (1510–37) assumed the title duke of Florence, and the dynastic Florentine Medici court was established henceforth as a seat of power, wealth and cultural patronage. Alessandro was succeeded following his assassination in 1537 by Duke Cosimo I, who, by Papal Bull in 1569, was in turn elevated to grand duke of Tuscany. From the early fifteenth century until the extinction of the Medici line in 1737, the Medici court had flourished economically, politically and culturally and was acknowledged as one of the most magnificent in Italy. It was certainly the envy of Europe for its artistic achievements. From its foundation the court established its own workshops and supported resident artisans who produced fine art and magnificent works across the full range of the decorative arts. Pageantry abounded and the glittering livery of the courtiers was
renowned; it is estimated that by the mid-seventeenth century the
Cosimo I de’ Medici in armour, circa 1545, by Agnolo Bronzino, oil on poplar,
residents of the court numbered around 1,500 persons.
no. 78.1996, © Art Gallery of New South Wales
Florence’s transformation from a provincial duchy into a principality
The ‘new’ arms were used by Cosimo I when he came to power
demanded the elaboration of a new iconography of power. The
in 1537 to publicly legitimize his succession as ruler of Florence, in
Medici coat of arms on this flask are the so-called ‘new’ arms of the
effect to connect his rule to that of Alessandro, who had been the
family: the upper one of the original six balls, called palle, in red
last member of the family branch of Piero di Cosimo de’ Medici.
on a gold background, was replaced in 1465 by Piero di Cosimo
Cosimo I in fact belonged to another branch of the Medici family,
de’Medici (d. 1469). One palla was made blue, and charged with
whose own arms contained a white ball charged by a red cross. The
three fleurs de lys. This modification was an honour given to Piero
‘new’ Medici arms featuring the blue fleur de lys remained in use by
di Cosimo by King Louis XII of France, the three fleurs de lys on a
the ruling branch of the Medici until the extinction of their line two
blue ground being the royal arms of France.
Above the arms chiselled in low relief on the present flask, the open crown testifies to the ducal rank of the Medici, likely prior to the creation of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. Scholars have generally assumed that this shape of powder flask appears late in the sixteenth century, but the existence of two related flasks possibly from the same workshop as ours, suggest that all of these may have been made before 1569. The first of these closely comparable flasks is one almost identical, preserved in Museo Nazionale del Bargello in Florence (no. M1232), where the remains of the Medici armoury are on display. A third powder-flask is in the Odescalchi Collection, now part of the armoury of Palazzo Venezia in Rome, bears the Orsini family coat of arms (no. n.75.) A further more generally related example is known to exist in Rome but the coat of arms is unidentified and the chiselling of its escutcheon is of lesser quality. The flask bearing the arms of the Orsini is important in the dating of those which bear the arms of the Medici. It is particularly notable in this respect that in 1558 Paolo Giordan Orsini (1541â€“85) married Isabella Medici (1542â€“76).
In the Medici grand-ducal inventory
This powder flask, beautifully shaped
of 1639 (Archivio di Stato di Firenze, Guardaroba Medicea 539, c. 32a) there are recorded: Tre fiasche, che una piccola da polverino, tutte di
and fluted in a very modern elegant style, and entirely in bright steel - still unconventional to mid-sixteenth-century central Italy - was without any
ferro lavorate a' righe, tutte piene, con arme di SAS con lor cordoni a
doubt produced for a high-ranking nobleman and naturally for use
dua (Three flasks, there is a small for powder, all with lines worked
with a fine sporting gun against driven game.
in iron, all full with arms of SAS with their cords.) An example of closely comparable quality exists in the Musée de According to this document, the Orsini flask was not in the armoury
l'Armée, Paris, and is attributable to the same master iron chiseller
at that time. The fact that the crown on the flask is identical to the
(no. M2031). The flask in Paris is embossed with the figure of
Florentine one, but differs from the one granted to the Medici in
Diana the Huntress and the classical subject may possibly be an
1569, suggests that the present powder flask dates significantly
allegorical reference to Diane of Poitiers (1499–1566), the mistress
prior to 1600, the manufacturing period previously suggested for
of Henry the second of Valois, king of France (m. 1559); this figural
subject of Diana is almost certainly derived from a design by Rosso Fiorentino. The present powder flask, of course, bears the Medici
The inventory almost certainly refers to our flask and to the one
coat of arms at its centre, and very similar to the example in Paris
in the Bargello museum, its holdings solely from the grand-ducal
it has the quality and jewel-like finish of a master work, suggesting
family armoury. Each of these powder flasks was therefore certainly
that it would have belonged to a member of the immediate family
not intended for the general use of either Florentine courtiers or
of the ruling Medici.
the armed retainers of the court, the latter whom in fact most likely used military-quality triangular wooden powder flasks.
The historical inventories and documents written over the period 1560–1859, with specific reference to the personal armouries and
If made in Rome, these luxurious flasks may easily have been a fitting
wardrobe of the Tuscan grand dukes, provide clear evidence of the
gift to the Tuscan Medici family members, and apparently (as stated
distinguished provenance of this superb artefact.
in the inventory of 1639) a third flask might exist carrying the Medici ‘badge’ with cardinal’s hat for Ferdinand de’Medici (much the same as the Odescalchi example, today with a different coat of arms).
A Massive Two-hand Bearing Sword of the City of Brunswick, c. 1570
Brunswick. Steel, wood, leather and brass 74 x 25½ in. / 188 x 65 cm PROVENANCE
The Brunswick City Arsenal (Zeughaus); Armoury of the Dukes of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel and their successors, the kings and princes of Hanover, housed successively in the Wolfenbüttel Zeughaus, Schloss Blankenburg and Schloss Marienburg, Lower Saxony EXHIBITED
Tower of London, Exhibition of Arms, Armour and Militaria lent by H.R.H. The Duke of Brunswick and Lüneburg, London, 1952, cat. no. 89, pp. 26–7 of the exhibition catalogue
y the second half of the sixteenth century the use of enormous
This rare sword is one of no more than six of this specific type made
two-hand swords as a weapon was very much in decline, yet
for the Brunswick city arsenal which are today known to exist. The
these swords remained in widespread ceremonial use, as ‘bearing
sixteenth-century opulence of the city of Brunswick is reflected in
swords’ carried in procession on occasions of state, as fitting
the unusually lavish attention to the decoration of both the hilt and
symbols of power and authority. Some of the most magnificent
the blade of this sword. Important among the emblems within the
Germanic bearing swords of the 1560s to the 1580s are those
etching on the hilt is the lion standing on its masonry plinth: this
of the duchy of Brunswick in Lower Saxony. Most recognizable
represents the massive bronze lion statue, the Braunschweiger Löwe,
among these swords is the series made for the guard of Julius,
commissioned by Henry ‘The Lion’, duke of Bavaria and Saxony (r.
Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel (r. 1568–89). Grandly accentuated
1139–95). For many years following its conception this medieval
proportions and stylistic features unique to the Brunswick duchy
monument was the largest bronze casting north of the Alps, and it
included a large pommel (shaped like the top of a crutch) and the
has remained the most famous symbol of the city of Brunswick. The
long quillons of the hilt prominently swept outwards to ‘fishtail’
original lion is now displayed in Dankwarderode Castle there. Other
terminals. The elegance and majesty of these swords could not
of the emblems and devices on the hilt and blade are references to
have failed to impart a sense of awe and deference.
the original five districts of the medieval city, known as Weichbilde.
The present sword, however, differs from those various series
iconography during the second half of the sixteenth century,
In the spirit of self-sacrifice and loyalty popular within Germanic carried by the ducal retinue in that it bears none of the insignia
the mythical Roman hero Marcus Curtius is shown in repeated
and markings present on those types; it bears instead the heraldic
cartouches on the quillons, as he is poised to ride headlong into
and iconographic emblems of the city of Brunswick itself. Our
the fiery gulf and so close it for the salvation of Rome. A pair of
example was most likely made in the same workshops as the ducal
high-ranking male and female profile busts confirm the period in
swords but made even larger than the ducal types. The uniquely
which this sword was made: their respective ruffs and headdress
great width of the quillons, together with the gleaming brass
were the pinnacle of fashion in the 1570s. The presence of an owl
sheet applied uppermost within the guard and boldly embossed
may be a reference to the traditional story of Till Eulenspiegel (the
with the large heraldic supporting beasts of Brunswick all firmly
surname means ‘Owlmirror’; he is called ‘Owlglass’ in English stories
reinforce its distinct provenance. As is evident in this sword, all of
about him), a legendary fourteenth-century prankster of Brunswick
the decoration is positioned to be correctly viewed while carried
popular in the city’s folk tales.
aloft in procession. 14
Following the capitulation of the city of Brunswick in 1671 to Duke Rudolf August of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel and the dukes of Brunswick-Lüneburg and Calenburg, Duke Rudolf imposed absolute rule over the city, all civic insignia were confiscated and the city swords were incorporated into the extensive armoury of nearby Schloss Wolfenbüttel, the ducal seat. Presumably, our sword continued to be used on state occasions but was borne by a member of the ducal bodyguard rather than by a servant of the city. Some of the contents of the armoury at Schloss Wolfenbüttel were over time transferred to Schloss Blankenburg in the Harz mountains, another of the ducal family residences and where the pieces were to remain until relatively modern times. 1866 brought the defeat of the Kingdom of Hanover by Prussia; around this period some items from the ducal armoury entered the Vaterländischen Museum, now the Brunswick Landesmuseum, and many pieces were also sold on the art market. Other pieces, such as this bearing sword, remained with the family until recently. Coat of arms of the Duchy of Brunswick, a wood carving by Erasmus Grasser, circa 1480, © Munich City Museum
A N T O N
A portrait in wax of Anton Peffenhauser, dated 1597, noted in 1897 as in the collection of Herr Adalbert Ritter von Lanna, Prague, as found in Meister der Waffenschmiedekunst vom XIV. bis ins XVIII. Jahrhundert by Boeheim, Wendelin, 1832-1900, W. Moeser Hofbuchhandlung, Berlin, 1897, p. 159
P E F F E N H A U S E R 1 5 2 5 A
1 6 0 3
nton Peffenhauser (1525–1603) has been called ‘The Last of the
600 Landsknecht armours was placed by Cristoph, Graf Arco, while
Great Armourers’. He produced armour unsurpassed in its grace
five years later King Philip II contracted Peffenhauser to supply
and functionality for both tournament and battle, armour that surely
armour for a regiment of foot soldiers in Spain. These large orders
delighted the emperors and princes who had commissioned it.
seem not, however, to have distracted Peffenhauser from his work
Peffenhauser, who lived at the twilight of the golden age of armour,
on the fine armours for which he was justly renowned. In 1572
is as renowned a master craftsman today as in his lifetime; the artist
Peffenhauser received payment from the Archduke Ferdinand
and engineer created works of art in steel. Peffenhauser’s identified
for two extraordinary field armours; and another order from the
works are the breathtaking legacy of an armourer who had emerged
archduke was placed in 1576. Three years later, Albrecht V, Duke of
as a paragon of his craft for a remarkable fifty-eight years.
Bavaria, also placed an order for tournament armours.
Born in Bavaria in 1525, he is believed to have worked for a time
Peffenhauser had by 1581 re-entered the employ of the imperial
as a journeyman under the distinguished Augsburg armourer
court: according to records for that year he finished for Emperor
Desiderius Helmschmied (1513–79). By 1545 Peffenhauser was
Rudolph II ‘a blued field armour with gilding’. For the Archduke
admitted a master of the Augsburg armourers’ guild, living at
Wilhelm V Peffenhauser oversaw the construction of twenty-five
that time ‘am Diebold’ (in Diebold), located in the tax district of
field armours, and for the Archduke Karl he created a blackened
Mauerberg. His business was evidently a successful one and it
allowed him in 1551 to enlarge his house and install a new forge there. The following year Peffenhauser was able to move into new
Some of Peffenhauser’s finest armours produced over the next
premises, which he also enlarged.
decade, however, were for Christian I, Elector of Saxony (1560–90). These included three superbly etched and gilt armour garnitures
Through his exceptional skills Peffenhauser, in a relatively short time,
recorded as having been delivered in 1588, and a series of twelve
built a distinguished international clientele. Several commissions in
matching blued and gilt half-armours for use in the foot tourney
1561 from the Archduke Ferdinand of Austria and the governor of
that were ordered for the elector as a Christmas present by his wife
Bohemia followed earlier work for noble patrons including Jean de
Sophie in 1591, but which, as a result of his death in September
Longueval, Baron de Vaux, and Don Garcia de Toledo, Marqués de
that year, he did not in fact receive. These half-armours are the last
Villafranca. In 1562 Peffenhauser supplied the Archduke Maximilian
documented examples of Peffenhauser’s work; he was then sixty-
II in Prague with an armour for use in the tournaments held to
six years of age.
celebrate his coronation as king of the Romans, and in 1564 a field armour was made for the Archduke Karl II. The latter was immediately
Although elements of Peffenhauser’s plain armour – some identified
followed by several other commissions from the imperial court. A
by the presence of his workshop’s triskele, or ‘three-legged’, mark
blackened field armour was requested by the Emperor Maximilian
stamped on them – survive in some numbers today, it is this master’s
II from Peffenhauser in 1566, and was followed in the same year by
far more rare decorated elements – importantly documented as
orders from the court of Württemberg in Stuttgart.
his work rather than being identified from his triskele mark – that inevitably excite the greatest admiration and interest. The two
Peffenhauser was also capable of fulfilling orders for more
catalogue items that follow belong to this latter exceptional body of
utilitarian armours in quantity. In 1571 an order for no less than
work produced for rulers of sixteenth-century Europe.
An Etched and Gilt Reinforcing Buffe Made by Anton Peffenhauser for the Prince Elector Christian I of Saxony, c. 1586 Augsburg. Steel, gold and brass 10 x 9 in. / 26 x 23 cm PROVENANCE
Prince Elector Christian I of Saxony; Rüstkammer, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Dresden; private collection, France
his buffe, a detachable reinforce for a helmet, belongs to one of
The armour dates from the beginning of his rule and comprises
the most extensive and best-preserved garnitures of sixteenth-
elements for man and horse, including a complete bard. The
century armour by Anton Peffenhauser. Probably intended
majority of this garniture is preserved today in the Rüstkammer
for use in the ‘free tourney’, a mock combat in which a pair, or
of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Dresden (no. M 99). It is the
larger groups of armoured horsemen first ran at each other with
largest and best-preserved example in the Dresden collections, and
lances, then resumed the contest with swords, it appears to have
is one of the most complete specimens of the Augsburg school.
complemented a helmet preserved in the Rüstkammer (armoury) of
The garniture is of considerable importance; in fact, it occupies a
the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Dresden. The buffe is one of very
special place among the many Augsburg armours in the Dresden
few elements of this garniture no longer in the museum in Dresden.
collections, which have been traditionally, and somewhat liberally, attributed to the famed armourer Anton Peffenhauser. This armour
The buffe was designed to fit against the upper and lower bevors
of Christian I in Dresden remains one of the very few, and perhaps
of a close helmet and was designed to ‘reinforce’ the helmet
the only armour, that is a documented work by Peffenhauser.
by providing added protection. The buffe alone is a strikingly sculptural object that echoes the curves of the face like a mask. The
In the 1606 inventory of the Electoral Saxon armouries (unpublished,
highly polished steel surface is adorned with etched and gilt bands
the document is today in the archives of the Rüstkammer), the
of ornamentation. These bands enclose gilded trophies of arms,
garniture is notably recorded as having been geschlagen (literally
connected to one another by gilded ribbons tied into knots. The
‘hammered’) by Anton Peffenhauser, while other armours listed in
band that extends down the centre of the plates is bordered by a
the armoury are described as only having been ‘purchased’ from
Moresque pattern. The head of a lion decorates the upper corner
Peffenhauser, or simply ‘acquired’ in Augsburg. Consequently,
of the buffe and this symbol of strength repeats throughout the
while there is no record of how the buffe became separated from
garniture in the museum in Dresden; for example, that armour’s
the remaining garniture of Christian I’s armour, this buffe may be
pauldrons and poleyns each show the head of a lion, as do the toe-
unquestionably ascribed to the hand of Anton Peffenhauser, one of
caps of the sabatons.
the greatest armourers of all time. This great garniture of armour made in Augsburg for the Prince Elector Christian I of Saxony (1560–91) was intended for
he Christian I garniture in the Rüstkammer comprises two helmets, one intended for the tilt and designed to rotate around
the upper rim of the gorget, and the other constructed with neck lames at the front and back, called a Mantelhelm, that was intended for the field and the ‘free tourney’. The buffe under present discussion
was almost certainly made for the latter helmet. The circular hole on its right side, made to accommodate a bolt, aligns exactly with a corresponding hole on the Mantelhelm’s upper bevor. The buffe is shaped the same as the Mantelhelm’s lower-bevor, essential for its fit, but equally important perhaps, the buffe does not swell over the neckline nor follow the contours of the embossed lower edge of the garniture’s other close helmet for the tilt. Therefore it seems likely that this buffe complemented the Mantelhelm specifically and was likely intended as a reinforce for the free tourney. Perhaps because this type of reinforce was very likely to become seriously damaged, the garniture of Christian I ostensibly included more than one; a buffe of comparable construction and decoration is indeed included among the elements of the garniture which are preserved today in the Dresden Rüstkammer. The more remarkable for its untouched state of preservation, this buffe is also one of the few works outside of institutional collections which may be securely ascribed to Anton Peffenhauser. Moreover, this important element of a luxury armour garniture was made for a princely patron of particular historical significance, and one whose identifiable ownership is verified by the documentation of the Electoral Saxon inventories.
Portrait of Christian I, in the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden. He wears the matching suit of armour by Peffenhauser, today located in the Rüstkammer, Dresden inventory no. M 99, photo courtesy of the Rüstkammer, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden
The matching Armour garniture of Elector Christian I of Saxony by Anton Peffenhauser, Augsburg, no. M 99, courtesy of the Rüstkammer, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen
Evidence suggests that this buffe left the Electoral Saxon armouries well before the twentieth century: the buffe does not appear in the dispersal sales of the Dresden collections in the twentieth century, nor is it recorded in the list of pieces lost as a result of the Second World War. There is evidence that certain elements of the garniture exited the Dresden collections prior to the twentieth century: a bevor and targe for the tilt in the Italian fashion that also belong to Christian I’s garniture of armour in Dresden are today in the Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Florence (no. R 24). These two pieces were acquired by the diplomat and collector Constantino Ressman, and bequeathed by him to the Bargello in 1894. Aside from the two pieces in Florence, a vamplate from this same garniture – a defence for the hand on a lance – is in the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which was bequeathed by the great collector Carl Otto von Kienbusch in 1977.
A Pair of Etched and Gilt Pauldrons for the Tourney Made by Anton Peffenhauser for the Prince Elector Christian I of Saxony, c. 1587â€“8
Augsburg. Steel, gold and brass The left pauldron: 10 x 9 in. / 25.5 x 23 cm The right pauldron: 10 x 10 in. / 25.5 x 25.5 cm Stamped with the fir cone mark of the city of Augsburg PROVENANCE
Prince Elector Christian I of Saxony; RĂźstkammer, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Dresden; Private collection, France
hree exceptionally finely decorated tournament armours made
The right pauldron, cut away at the front to accommodate a lance,
for Christian I of Saxony (1560â€“91), now largely preserved in
is struck at its apex with a fir cone, the quality-control mark on
the RĂźstkammer of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Dresden,
armour from the city of Augsburg. The pauldrons, however, are of
appear in an inventory of the electoral armouries dated 1606. Two
exceptional quality: commissioned by the Prince Elector Christian I,
of these are decorated with identical bands of arabesque interlace,
these pauldrons would have been precisely tailored and moulded
but may be distinguished from one another by the fact that one
to fit his individual body. They are richly decorated, en suite with
of them (inv. no. M 27) has vine leaves projecting both from its
the matching garniture of armour in Dresden; recessed bands and
main bands and its borders, while those of the second (inv. no. M 29) are contained within borders. It is to the latter garniture that the present pauldrons, designed to protect the shoulders and
borders show etched arabesque interlace on a gilt ground of fine running scrollwork, possibly designed by JĂśrg T. Sorg the Younger, an Augsburg etcher of armour as renowned in his day as in the present.
An album of designs prepared by Jörg Sorg the Younger, today
is not known. Nevertheless, as Sorg, like Peffenhauser, lived until
preserved in the Wűrttemburgischen Landesbibliothek, Stuttgart
1603, there is no reason to think that the two craftsmen would not
(Cod. Milit. 2o 24), shows no less than eight armour garnitures
have continued their successful working relationship to the end.
decorated by him for Peffenhauser. Extant elements showing two of these designs, dating from the 1550s and largely preserved in the
Volutes of the kind described above are found on several of
former royal armoury in Turin, include pauldrons that, in common
Peffenhauser’s documented works including a tournament armour
with ours, are decorated with the vine-leaf volutes found in several
in the Schlossmuseum, Berchtesgaden, one of the group of seven
of Sorg’s designs. Such volutes became a consistent feature in
ordered by Duke Albrecht V of Bavaria in 1579, and on the group of
the decoration of Peffenhauser’s armours throughout his career.
twelve blued and gilt tourney armours ordered from Peffenhauser
Whether his later armours were, like his earliest, decorated by Sorg
by the Electress Sophie of Saxony in 1591 for her husband Christian I. In addition to the other matching pieces, which like the pauldrons here, adapted Christian I’s garniture of armour in Dresden (inv. no. M 29) to the tourney (Freiturnier) and the tilt (Welschgestech), the garniture also features an armoured saddle, a full shaffron and two vamplates. The tilt armour would have been capable of being mounted in two ways: in the native German fashion with a large shoulder-shield (a Stechtartsche) and a small elbow-reinforce, and in the Italian fashion with a grandguard and a large elbow-reinforce or pasguard protecting the same areas.
The fir cone mark of the city of Augsburg
Our large asymmetrical pauldrons were, however, for use in the tourney. The armour to which they belonged would have been lighter and more flexible than that used in the tilt – similar to the heavy field armour of its day – except perhaps in being fitted with a reinforcing bevor. The tourney was an attempt to simulate, to the best extent possible, real battlefield conditions; its contestants initially charged at one another with rebated lances, then continued their fight with rebated swords. Although the tourney had in earlier time been practised as a team event, it evolved after the middle of the sixteenth century into one in which individual contestants faced a single opponent. The late sixteenth-century electors of Saxony are noted today for the exceptional quality of the arms and armour with which they equipped their personal bodyguard; these pauldrons, however, clearly demonstrate that the elector’s own armour was of a splendour that few in their time could have matched. In turning to Anton Peffenhauser of Augsburg, the greatest armourer of his day, Christian I knew that he had the finest armour existing.
The matching Armour garniture of Elector Christian I of Saxony, c. 1587-88 by Anton Peffenhauser, Augsburg, no. M 29-96, courtesy of the Rüstkammer, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden
A Silver-Mounted Estoc, or Thrusting Sword Made for the Elite Mounted Contingent of the Trabantenleibgarde of the Prince Electors of Saxony, c. 1590–1600
Dresden. Steel, silver, gold and wood 47½ x 10 in. / 120.6 x 26 cm PROVENANCE
The armoury of the Electors of Saxony, Dresden; transferred to the Historisches Museum, Dresden, about 1832; sold, Sotheby & Co., Highly Important Arms from the Saxon Royal Collections, London, 23 March, 1970, lot 33; collection of Karsten Klingbeil, Berlin
he late sixteenth-century and early seventeenth-century electors of Saxony, respectively Augustus I (1526–86), Christian I (1560–91) and Christian II (1583–1611),
were lavish in matters of ceremony and appearance. Enormous sums of money were spent to equip not only the participants in the era’s great state tournaments and hunts, but also those aristocratic members of the elite light cavalry troop of the
Trabantenleibgarde, the personal guard of the prince electors. This stylishly presented guard of loyal young Saxon aristocrats and noblemen were uniformed in black doublets and yellow trunk hose, and had available to them richly decorated armour, weapons and accessories, including etched and gilt comb-morions, inlaid pistols, ornate powder flasks, and decorated swords and daggers. The prince electors of Saxony enjoyed great wealth, in part derived from the mining and metalworking industries that had, since the twelfth century, underpinned the economy of their state. Within their borders, and in the region of the Erzgebirge, known as the Ore Mountains, iron, nickel, tin, cobalt, bismuth, copper, gold, salt and, above all, silver were found in sustaining quantity. In the sixteenth century investment in new mines allowed Saxony to remain one of Europe’s leading producers of silver. Appropriately, therefore, and presumably not altogether coincidentally, it is silver that decorates the present sword. An inventory made in 1606 of the Electoral Saxon armouries (unpublished, the document is retained in the archives of the Rüstkammer, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Dresden.) shows the amount of silver used to decorate such swords to have varied according to the rank of the particular recipient. A sword hilt of comparable construction and with a near full coverage of silver is preserved in the Rüstkammer, the armoury of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Dresden (no. VI 85). Another, carried by the Prince Elector Christian II himself, has a similar hilt, but is quite naturally covered entirely in etched silver, as befitted
his rank. The latter sword is dated 1602 and is in the collection of the
The style of the etched silver mounts on this hilt resembles that
Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin (nos W 600a and 06.690a).
in an engraved design of the same period in the Kunstbibliothek
In some cases however, no silver was applied to these swords at
of the Staatliche Museen, Berlin (no. 1429), tentatively attributed to
all; plain, blued examples are in the Victoria and Albert Museum,
the Hamburg goldsmith Jacobe Mores (active 1579â€“1612). Mores
London (no. M. 45, 46), and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New
is known to have worked for the Saxon court in Dresden, though
York (no. 29.157.12).
other goldsmiths known to have supplied silver mounts for swords carried by the Saxon electoral guard are Wendel unter den Linden
In a superb state of preservation, like many items sharing its historic
of Dresden, in 1587 and 1604, and Urban Schneeweiss (1536â€“1600),
Saxon royal provenance, this elegant sword was entirely functional
also of Dresden, whose mark is found on the scabbard of a sword
and would have been carried by a member of the prestigious
from the Wendel unter den Linden series.
mounted contingent of the Saxon electoral guard. Skilled in
horsemanship from an early age, the guard members were at
The blade of this estoc differs from that of the contemporary rapier:
this period recruited exclusively from the Saxon aristocracy and
a strengthening rib runs the full length of each side of the estoc
nobility. The period in which these weapons were produced was
blade and was intended to withstand the additional shock of a
one of splendour â€“ in which ostentatious displays of wealth went
combat thrust delivered with great force from a charging horse.
unquestioned rather than being condemned. Money the electors
Additional decorative raised chiselled ridges on the hilt lend an
lavished on expert craftsmanship produced exquisite objects of art,
impression of strength and elegance to the blued surfaces which
including arms and armour, that were then unsurpassed in their
are enlivened by the beautifully etched silver sheathing on the
beauty and they remain so today.
pommel and the blade ricasso.
The dark blued ground of the present sword hilt contrasts
No less remarkable than their quality of construction and decoration
handsomely with its silver decoration; the effect provides a richness
is the unusually fine state of preservation which characterizes so
of colour and sophistication that was exceptional even by the
much of the arms and armour made for the Saxon electors. The
standards of this particular group of arms.
royal armoury remained largely intact until 1832, when a substantial
part of it was sold in order to meet the costs of setting up displays of the remainder in the then newly inaugurated Historisches Museum in Dresden. Further public sales took place in Berlin in 1919, 1920 and 1927 to provide funds for the Saxon royal family, whom had been required to abdicate at the end of the First World War. In order to strengthen the museum’s non-Saxon holdings, more dispersals were made, partly by exchange, between the two World Wars. Some of the sales organized in the 1930s passed through Sotheby’s, London. An even larger sale, to raise funds for the acquisition of a major painting by an East German expressionist artist, was held at Sotheby’s in 1970. It was from this last sale that this estoc was purchased by one of the era’s most prominent collectors, the late Karsten Klingbeil. The catalogue to the 1970 Sotheby & Co. sale, Highly Important Arms from the Saxon Royal Collections
A Wheellock Holster Pistol from the Personal Collection of King Louis XIII of France, c. 1635â€“40
Painting of Louis XIII crowned by Victory. Franco-Flemish, early 17th century (I.41) © Royal Armouries
French. Pearwood, steel, pewter and brass Length: 27 ¾ in. / 70.5 cm PROVENANCE
King Louis XIII of France: this pistol, with its pair, is numbered 208 in the inventory of the royal Cabinet d’armes in the Louvre, first proposed in 1663 and completed in 1673. The entry reads: ‘Une paire de pistolets à roüet, de 27 pouces, le canon a seize pams sur le devant et à huit sur le derrière, grave d’une rose et de quelques fueüilles, le rouet tout uny, montée sur un bois de Poirier cannel, enrich de quelques fillets de cuivre et autre ornemens d’estain et d’ébeine’. The pair of pistols is also recorded under the number 208 in subsequent inventories completed in 1717 and 1775; they were almost certainly included in the transfer of the majority of the royal arms collection to the Garde-Meuble in the Hôtel du Petit-Bourbon, thence to the Hôtel Conti in 1758, and ten years later to the Hôtel d’Evereux, also in Paris. (The Garde-Meuble was pillaged by the revolutionary mob in 1789, but it
is unlikely that this pair of wheellock pistols was stolen on this occasion, since only easily serviceable weapons, such as flintlock firearms, were taken.) In 1797 the collection was again transferred to the newly created Muséum des Antiques de la Bibliothèque Nationale. It is most likely that the present pistol and its companion were taken from there as souvenirs by allied officers following the peace of 1815. (The pair to the present pistol is preserved in the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, no. 51.435); acquired by W. Keith Neal about 1958; sold by him to the American collector Lenoir Josey, subsequently passing to his brother, Robert A. Josey II LITERATURE
J. P. Reverseau Armes et armures de la couronne, 2004, p. 29 33
he Dauphin Louis (1601–43) was crowned Louis XIII of France in October 1610,
shortly after his ninth birthday. By the age of ten he already possessed seven
guns, which were said to give him great pleasure in hunting and target shooting.
Remarkable as this may seem today, Louis in fact had received his first gifts of an arquebus and cartridge bandolier following his third birthday. This boyish hobby continued not only unabated throughout his adolescence (by 1614 the personal royal collection had grown to forty pieces) but, coupled with his unquenchable passion for hunting, developed into a lifelong predilection, giving rise to his nickname ‘Louis l’Arquebusier’, ‘Louis the shotgun man’. The British ambassador to the French court remarked in 1619 that Louis was ‘indefatigable in his exercises of hunting . . . to which he was much addicted.’ Despite the poor health which resulted in his premature death, Louis also became known for his skills in the noble art of equitation, as a musician and composer, and on several occasions proved to be an officer of considerable endurance on campaign. Taken at face value it is surprising then that Louis forbade duelling by decree, but this perhaps only reinforces our modern appreciation of the man whose surviving collection reveals an interest in firearms driven primarily by the acquisition of technical excellence, innovative design and tasteful splendour.
The decorative treatment of the elegant pearwood stock compares closely with many of the designs from a series published under the title Livre de Diverses Ordonnances de Feuillages, Moresques . . ., dedicated to the king by Thomas Picquot, this series signed in 1638 Peintre jnu. et fe natif de Lisieux. In 1634 Picquot had succeeded the gunmaker Marin Le Bougeoys (also of Lisieux) as ‘Keeper of the King’s Globes’, and in 1636 obtained lodgement in the Galeries du Louvre, sharing accommodation with the gunmaker François Duclos. On the basis of the similarities between Picquot’s published designs and those existing on the royal firearms signed by Le Bougeoys, it would appear likely that Picquot was responsible for the decoration of these firearms, and that a similar arrangement existed between he and Duclos. A gun made by Duclos for Louis XIII in 1636 (1673 inventory no. 151) is preserved in the Musée de l’Armée, Paris (no. M.410) and provides a clear illustration of Picquot’s distinctive style; the designs on the stock of this gun, as with others in the royal collection, recall the designs finely executed on the present pistol.
An Historic Pair of Bronze Cannon Cast by the Spanish Gunfounder Mathias Solano, Dated 1747, and Given by King George III of England to Major General John Graves Simcoe in 1798
The Royal Gun foundry, Seville. Bronze 41 x 11 in. / 104 x 28.5 cm PROVENANCE
Removed in 1798 from among the captured rebel ordnance in San Domingo; shipped from Port au Prince to Jamaica, thence in October 1799 dispatched to London, with onward shipping to Plymouth; received at the Devon port of Kingsbridge in December 1803; installed at Walford Lodge, General Simcoe’s family seat in Honiton, Devon; passed down through the Simcoe family, the cannon remaining at Wolford Lodge until their sale in 1923 to Herbert K. Reeves, Esq., of Porlock, Somerset; presented by Reeves in June 1940 to Leatherhead Urban District Council (now the Mole Valley District Council) and for many years displayed outside the council chambers in Leatherhead; sold Christie’s, 2 November 2005, lot 129 LITERATURE
Unpublished correspondence, February 1798 to September 1806, including letters from Major General Simcoe, and one in reply from H.R.H. Frederick, Duke of York, on behalf of the king, reference the acquisition and transport of these guns; A. N. Kennard, Gunfounding & Gunfounders, London 1986, p. 141; Mary Beacock Fryer and Christopher Dracott, John Graves Simcoe 1752–1806: A Biography, Toronto and Oxford 1998, pp. 193–4, 249
John Graves Simcoe (1752–1806) achieved fame and a deservedly lauded reputation as the first lieutenant governor of Upper Canada: a lake, a town and a county in Ontario are all named after him. Eton and Merton College, Oxford, were followed in 1771 by entry into the 35th Regiment of Foot as ensign. On the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War Simcoe served in New England as adjutant of his regiment. In 1775 he obtained a captaincy in the 40th Regiment of Foot and was severely wounded at the battle of Brandywine River. His bravery and unusual abilities in the field brought about Simcoe’s promotion in October 1777 to the local rank of major commanding the irregular green-clad Queen’s Rangers. Simcoe trained these troops in field operations unconventional within the British army of the period, going on to conduct skirmishing and scouting operations with tactical stealth, frequently infiltrating behind enemy lines in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Simcoe was captured near Hillsborough, New Jersey, in 1779, barely with his life, and was released under exchange at the end of that year. He was also among the troops surrendered by Cornwallis at Gloucester Point in 1781. Simcoe was invalided home in early December 1781 and appointed colonel. Then in 1791, upon the division of the two Canadas, Simcoe was George III, 1783, by Benjamin West, oil on canvas, 126.50 x 101.00 cm, 1952.17,
appointed the first lieutenant governor of Upper Canada under
Cleveland Museum of Art ©CMA
Lord Dorchester, the governor-in-chief. He initially selected Newark (now Niagara) as his capital, in 1793 moving the seat of government
to Toronto. Under his tenure the province flourished in almost all orrespondence of February and March 1798 between Major
respects, other than in its relations with the United States, this
General Simcoe and Prince Frederick, Duke of York, on behalf
bias being attributed to Simcoe’s war experiences. Simcoe was
of his father King George III, brought about the royal presentation
appointed major general in October 1794, and shortly thereafter
of this pair of very finely cast historic bronze cannon. Simcoe was
dispatched to San Domingo as commandant of the British garrison
undeniably deserving, having endured the miserable tropical
established there to put down the Haitian revolution. He returned
climate and the constant danger of fatal disease when serving as
to Britain in July 1797, was promoted lieutenant general the next
commandant of the colony of San Domingo, recently captured
year and appointed colonel of the 22nd Regiment of Foot, with
from the large Haitian revolutionary force of rebel slaves and
command of the defence of the West Country against the threat of
Unfortunately for the long-suffering Simcoe, the much anticipated
In 1806 Simcoe was appointed commander-in-chief in India, but
royal gift, having at last arrived from Jamaica, was now subject to
was first ordered in August to accompany Admiral Lord St Vincent
customs duty as foreign-made goods. Prior to onward shipping to
to Lisbon, to observe and report on the impending threat of the
Plymouth, a customs officer’s letter dated 28 April 28 1800 recorded
Napoleonic invasion of Portugal. Simcoe became mortally ill on the
the terse demand.
voyage; he was returned to England but died on 26 October 1806.
Here the motto ‘violati fulmina regis’ translates as ‘thunderbolts of an outraged king’
expanded flower heads, the base ring signed by the founder SOLANO FECIT. HISPALI. ANNO 1747 (Solano made this, at Seville in the year 1747). The cascabel is drawn out to a globular button emerging from a leafy calyx. Within the mouldings and bands of ornamental foliage so beautifully cast in low relief, the motto VIOLATI FULMINA REGIS (‘THUNDERBOLTS OF AN OUTRAGED KING’) is prominent on a scroll, as is the name of each gun, one being EL MARTE (Mars, the Roman god of war), the other EL SENECA (after Seneca the Younger). The naming of one of these guns after the roman god of war is obviously appropriate to its purpose; the naming of the other, ‘El Seneca’, was a Spanish celebration of the figure from classical Roman history, Lucius Annaeus Seneca (the Younger, about 4 BC–AD 65), who was subsequently claimed as the heroic son of the southern RomanoIberian capital of Córdoba, his birthplace in Andalusia. Seneca was a Stoic philosopher, essayist, dramatist and statesman of Rome. He was also tutor then advisor to the Emperor Nero, until being compelled by the emperor to commit suicide for alleged complicity in a plot to assassinate him. Seneca was upheld as a paragon by the early Christian church, and his life and works widely celebrated in the Portrait of Lt. General John Graves Simcoe, 1791, by John Laurent Mosnier, oil on paper,
culture of the medieval period and throughout the modern period.
private collection, Canada, image courtesy of the Toronto Public Library
This pair of cannon is of four-pounder calibre, conforming to the Spanish ordnance regulations of 1743 for cannon easily mobile for field use. The present guns in fact conform exactly in all respects to the designs and specifications for Spanish bronze artillery of this period. The state coat of- arms cast in relief over the reinforce sections of the barrels is that of the Spanish Bourbon King Ferdinand VI (1713–1759). The Order of the Golden Fleece and the Order of the Holy Spirit encircle the arms and surmount a scroll cast with the Spanish royal title FERDINAND. VI DG HISPAN. ET IND. REX (Ferdinand VI by the grace of God King of Spain and the Indies).
EL MARTE, named for Mars, the Roman god of war
Additional scrollwork is held by an encircling band of foliage and Mathias Solano, the founder who cast this fine pair of cannon, belonged to a family of Spanish gun founders who were working over two or possibly three generations. He was director of the royal gun foundry at Seville from about 1703 to 1755. In earlier years he had also cast guns in Valencia and Pamplona. The present pair of guns is recorded in Gunfounding & Gunfounders, by A. N. Kennard, together with a record of other examples cast by Mathias in Seville, namely three in the Museo del Ejercito, Madrid and another in the Musée de la Marine, Paris.
EL SENECA, named for the Stoic philosopher Seneca the Younger
A Flintlock Magazine Repeating Pistol Bearing the British Royal Crown, by Grice, c. 1770–3 English, probably Birmingham. Wood, steel, silver and paktong 13 in. / 32.4 cm PROVENANCE
Private Collection, USA; The personal collection of the former chairman of The Royal Armouries, Leeds
his is a very fine quality late example of one of the most enduring and successful repeating firearms mechanisms, having
first been applied to guns and pistols well before the end of the
seventeenth century and still being built over a hundred years later. Half-rotation of a lever on the left side of the pistol or gun not only loaded chambers in the breech block with powder and ball, it also automatically primed the pan, closed the frizzen and brought the lock to half-cock ready for firing. Such mechanisms required a high degree of skill on the part of the gunmaker to produce them if they were to operate safely and efficiently and this of course made them costly. Any surviving examples are therefore always of great historic and technical interest. Among scholars of arms and armour opinion is divided about the identity of the gunmaker who may originally have developed this sophisticated and elegant magazine repeating system. It is most commonly regarded as the ‘Lorenzoni’ system, being named after an eminent Florentine gunmaker, Michele Lorenzoni (1684–1737), who is known to have made fine guns and pistols using a number of different types of mechanism, including this one, by which they
might be made to fire more rapidly. Another view, less widely held
there. The most likely London maker with the correct surname
but maintained by some firearms historians, is that the system was
would have been James Grice, but his recorded working location,
developed by John Cookson, a late seventeenth-century English
at 2 Whistler’s Court, Cannon Street, was from 1793 to 1796. The
gunmaker about whom almost nothing is known; only a small
design of the decoration on this pistol however is earlier and more
number of exceptionally finely made examples of guns with this
likely to date from the period from around 1750 to about 1780.
mechanism and bearing his name survive .
The maker of the pistol is therefore more likely to have been the William Grice, who was recorded as a gunmaker in Birmingham,
Two examples of guns built by Michele Lorenzoni with this type
working at 43 Bull Street between 1766 and 1777. Either this same
of magazine mechanism are illustrated in Howard L. Blackmore,
gunmaker or another of the same name is also recorded at 5 Sand
Guns and Rifles of the World. One gun is in the Armeria Reale, Turin
Street, Birmingham, from around 1774 to his death in 1790, and who
(no. M.64), and the other is in the Tøjhusmuseet, Copenhagen (no.
had been joined in partnership there from 1782 by Joseph Grice,
B.1006). Two exceptionally important and unusual examples of
perhaps his son or another member of his family. Despite being a
guns made by Michele Lorenzoni himself are both originally from
well-established Birmingham gunmaker William Grice is noted as
the collections of either Cosimo III de’Medici, grand duke of Tuscany
having marked his guns LONDON.
(1642–1723), or more likely his eldest son Ferdinando III, grand prince of Tuscany (1663–1713). One of these is with Peter Finer, the
A useful feature for dating this pistol is that its silver butt cap
other in the National Museum in the Bargello, Florence.
bears the mark of Joseph Steward, a London silversmith who had registered his mark with the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths
While this fine pistol is a late example of the ‘Lorenzoni’ magazine
in 1770. It is known, however, that William Grice registered his own
system it was not quite the last. Despite the apparent hazard faced
silver mark at the Birmingham assay office in 1773, after which time
by anyone using a firearm which had within its butt a magazine
he may not have needed to purchase silver mounts for his firearms
containing enough gunpowder for several charges, the accidental
from a specialist silversmith in London. This would suggest that this
ignition of which, due to wear, lack of maintenance or indeed
pistol was made between 1770 and 1773.
poor workmanship must always have represented a risk, guns and pistols employing this system were still occasionally being made until to the very end of the eighteenth century. Indeed, it seems to have enjoyed a late period of popularity, when major English makers such as Henry Nock and H. W. Mortimer produced some notable examples. This pistol by Grice, however, must be regarded as among the most elegant and fashionable examples of this fascinating and surprisingly long-lived type of firearm. The great quality of this pistol and the presence of the name LONDON on the barrel would naturally suggest that it was made
In addition to the fine form and quality of decoration present on this pistol, a notable feature is that its lockplate, barrel and the body of its mechanism are made of a high-nickel copper alloy known as paktong. Paktong gave it its characteristic silver colour and a resistance to tarnishing. It was durable and could be easily worked to produce a wide variety of decorative and domestic pieces. While it had been popular in China for a number of centuries it was little known in the west until the later years of the eighteenth century because of the lack of nickel. It was first imported from China as goods known generically as pai t’ung, or bai-tong (literally ‘white copper’). The butt has fine quality inlaid silver wire decoration. The edges have borders of a pair of lines containing a wavy line and dots while the decorative theme covering most of the butt is of foliate tendrils ending with sheet silver flower heads. Within this decorative scheme are three additional elements. To the left of the breech tang is a trophy of arms incorporating a large military drum, flags, artillery loading tools, a trumpet, two cannon, a barrel and some cannon balls while on the lower rear part of the butt is a C-scroll panel placed horizontally. This in turn supports a tub from which sprout stylized flower stems bearing blooms. Between this flower tub and the breech tang is an oval panel framed by a wavy line-and-dot border. The centre of this panel is plain smooth wood and does not seem to have been filled or otherwise decorated. Above the panel, however, inlaid in sheet silver with a silver wire cross and row of dots surmounting it, is a British royal crown; the King’s, or St Edward’s, crown.
The Lorenzoni magazine system. From Claude Blair, Pistols of the World, Batsford, 1968
Likely the pair to our pistol, seen above, in the collection of the Royal Armouries, Leeds. Flintlock breech loading magazine pistol. English, about 1780, made by Grice, XII.3835 ÂŠ Royal Armouries
In the collection of the Royal Armouries is a pistol so remarkably similar in every detail to this pistol that it must have been its pair. Careful comparison has shown that in their smallest detail of material, form and decoration these two pistols are almost identical. The Royal Armouries pistol differs only in that the hinged cover of its priming magazine has been lost and replaced with an undecorated restoration, and that the oval panel on the butt has been filled with a silver escutcheon. This is engraved with three initials; EM and perhaps J, R or K, but judging from the form of the letters this seems likely to have been a later, probably nineteenth-century addition. Neither the pistol which is the subject of this summary nor its near twin in the collections of the Royal Armouries has a recorded history which might help explain the person for whom either or both were made. The presence of what is incontrovertibly an English royal (indeed kingâ€™s) crown within the inlaid decoration on the butt of both pistols, and the likely date of the manufacture of these in the early 1770s, might suggest that they were either the property of King George III or had been made to be presented either by or to him. Both this and the Royal Armouries pistol are of very high quality and demonstrate the great technical skill as well as the artistic judgement possessed by their maker. They seem perfectly good enough to have formed part of a royal collection or to have been commissioned for presentation by or to the monarch, although no evidence survives to confirm this.
An Important Cased Pair of Indian Flintlock Pistols with Silver Barrels and Lockplates, signed ‘L. Col. Claude Martin, Lucknow Arsenal’, circa 1785, presented in 1786 by Martin to Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Ross Lucknow. Wood, steel, silver and gold Length: 14 in. / 35.5 cm, length of barrels: 8.0 in. / 20.2 cm PROVENANCE
Presented by Lt. Col. Claude Martin to Lt. Col. Alexander Ross in 1786; by descent until 2012 EXHIBITED
National Army Museum, London, until 1997; Los Angeles Museum of Art, 12 December 2010 to 27 February 2011; Musée National des Arts asiatiques-Guimet, Paris, 6 April to 11 July 2011
Howard L. Blackmore, ‘General Claude Martin, Master Gunmaker’, Arms Collecting, vol. 27, no. 1 (February 1989), pp. 3–12; Robert Elgood, Firearms of the Islamic World; in the Tareb Rajab Museum, Kuwait, 1995, p. 162; Rosie Lewellyn Jones, A Very Ingenious Man: Claude Martin in Early Colonial India, Oxford University Press, 1992; Rosie Lewellyn-Jones (ed and introduction), A Man of the Enlightenment in Eighteenth-century India: The letters of Claude Martin, 1766-1800, Sangam Books, Hyderabad, India, 2003; Stephen Markel, The Art of Courtly Lucknow, exhibition catalogue, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 2011, pp. 55 and 257, no. 111 (illustrated); Stephen Markel, Une Cour Royale en Inde: Lucknow (XVIIIème–XIXème siècle), exhibition catalogue, Grand Palais, Paris, 2011, pp. 57 and 258, no. 116 (illustrated)
hese pistols are historically important and highly significant.
They are of exceptional quality of manufacture and rarity of
materials and were made under the supervision of Lieutenant
Colonel Claude Martin at Lucknow Arsenal in about 1785. In a letter written in December 1786 by Claude Martin to the distinguished British officer Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Ross, Adjutant General of India, Martin asks Ross to accept this pair of pistols. The letter is preserved in the British Library (India Office Library, Home Miscellaneous series, H/741, p.117). This is believed to be one of only two known pairs of pistols made by Claude Martin with barrels and locks made of silver. Claude Martin was born in Lyon, France, in 1735, the son of a vinegar merchant. He enlisted in the French army and served under Bussy and Lally during the Carnatic Wars. In 1761, however, after the loss of Pondicherry, Martin was one of a number of French prisoners of war who chose to join the British forces. The circumstances surrounding his acceptance into the forces of the East India Company (EIC) are unclear but in 1763 he became an ensign and in 1764 a lieutenant.
Aaron Arrorsmith to Mark Wood Esq. M.P., Colonel of the Army in India, Late Chief Engineer and Surveyer General, of Bengal, Inscribed in Grateful Testimony of His Liberal Communications By his obedient and most humble Servant A. Arrowsmith, 1804.
Promoted to captain in 1766 he was placed in command of former French and Sepoy troops and for several years he was involved in
Courtesy of Daniel Crouch Rare Books. Lucknow is here marked with a black dot
surveying land taken by the EIC in Oudh (Awadh), in north-east India. While there he met Asaf-ud-daulah, Nawab of Oudh, and a
friendship developed which lasted until the nawabâ€™s death in 1797. It also led to favours being bestowed upon Martin which would lead to him becoming one of the wealthiest Europeans in India. His good fortune was enhanced by an agreement from the EIC in 1776 that he should become superintendent of the nawabâ€™s great arsenal at Lucknow, so Martin would thereafter not only be paid by the EIC and continue to rise through its ranks, he also received a handsome stipend from the nawab. In 1779 he was promoted to the rank of major, exempted from military service and permitted to reside permanently in Lucknow. Martin helped the nawab indulge his already huge appetite for hedonism and passion for European luxuries and mechanical objects, but he also developed several lucrative enterprises of his own. Despite this his military responsibilities were not neglected.
He developed an enviable reputation for hard work and following
general, came three years later, but in his
his promotion to lieutenant colonel in 1782 he built up the
last few years he suffered poor health
manufacturing capability of the Lucknow Arsenal, enabling it
and on 13 September 1800 he died.
to produce fine quality small arms and artillery. He also pursued diverse scientific interests, including building hot-air balloons.
His estate was huge in both value
He was a good amateur artist, and he became a patron of the
and extent and his bequests many
artists Johann Zoffany and Francesco Renaldi during their times in
and generous. His most enduring gift
India. He had a keen interest too in architecture and built several
was to create ‘La Martinière’ colleges
residences for himself, the most dramatic of which was his famous
for the education of children in Lyon,
palace, Constantia, named from his motto Labore et Constantia,
Lucknow and Calcutta (Kolkata),
‘Effort and Consistency’.
institutions which are still active today.
In 1791 Martin returned to active service by joining the forces of
The memory of Claude Martin is still
the British army in the war against Tipu Sultan, and in the following
very much alive in India and in France
year was appointed aide-de-camp to Lieutenant General Lord
due to his remarkable philanthropy,
but to students of arms and armour he will always be remembered for his
Following a successful attack on Tipu’s camp in 1793 Martin was
production in Lucknow of exceptionally
promoted to the rank of colonel. His final promotion, to major
fine firearms in European style.
In 1781, having been promoted to the rank of major and once again back in America, Ross represented Lord Cornwallis as a commissioner involved in arranging the surrender of Yorktown. In May 1782 he was sent to Paris to participate in negotiations to permit Lord Cornwallis to leave America in exchange for the American revolutionary leader Henry Laurens, who had been imprisoned in the Tower of London. Shortly after the end of the war Ross was promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel and was appointed deputy adjutant general in Scotland. He was later transferred to India as adjutant general under Lord Cornwallis, who in September 1786 had been appointed India’s governor general and commander-in-chief. Ross seems to Colonel Polier, Claude Martin and John Wombwell with the artist, c. 1786-87, by Johann Zoffany, oil on canvas, R 2066, with the generous permission of
have remained in his role until around 1794, during which time he saw a great deal of active service, including the Third Anglo-Mysore
Dr. Jayanta Sengupta, Curator, Victoria Memorial Hall, Calcutta.
War against Tipu Sultan (1789–92).
Alexander Ross was the youngest of five sons of Ross of Auchlossan,
The pistols made by Claude Martin at Lucknow here, were made
Aberdeenshire, and joined the British army as an Ensign in the 50th
at the time when Ross was serving in India and when Martin
Regiment of Foot in February 1760. He was promoted to the rank
was serving alongside him as aide-de-camp to Lord Cornwallis.
of lieutenant in the 45th Regiment of Foot in September 1764 and
This helps to confirm that the pistols did indeed belong to Ross,
after seeing much active service in Germany returned to England
something which gives them a rare and important significance
in May 1775.
as pieces presented to a major military figure during a critically important time in the history of British rule in India.
He was promoted to the rank of captain in that same year and served with distinction throughout the American War of Independence.
Ross was promoted to the rank of colonel in 1793 and after his
He was appointed aide-de-camp to Lieutenant General Lord
return to England, probably in 1794, he was appointed aide-de-
Cornwallis who, after the battle of Camden in South Carolina,
camp to King George III and in 1795 was promoted to major general
in August 1780, sent Ross to England to deliver his despatches,
and became Surveyor General of Ordnance under Lord Cornwallis,
recommending him to Lord George Germain, Secretary of State for
who by then was Master General of the Ordnance.
the American Colonies, as ‘a very deserving officer’. In 1801 Ross asked to be allowed to retire, as Lord Cornwallis was planning to do, but his commander of many years persuaded him to continue his military service. He was promoted lieutenant general in 1812 and became governor of Fort George and Fort Augustus, in Scotland. After his eventual retirement Ross leased Lamer Park, near Wheathampstead in Hertfordshire, and in 1826 he was granted an heraldic crest; a laurel branch erect, proper. This device is engraved above his initials in the brass escutcheon on the lid of the case containing the Claude Martin pistols. Lieutenant General Ross died in 1827, just a year after the granting of this crest. The stocks are of a dark Indian hard wood and are remarkable for the quality of their workmanship. Each is decorated with inlaid silver wire and very handsome silver furniture. Claude Martin’s residency, Constantia, in a photograph dated 1847, ten years before the Mutiny.
At the rear of the lock and the side plate is a scallop-shell motif while a pair of symmetrical scallop-shell and scrolling leaf motifs are placed one on either side of the barrel tang. Behind the tang is a panel with a finely carved trophy of arms. On the left side this is composed of a club (perhaps that of Hercules), a mast supporting a flag, a sword hilt with a raptor-head pommel, and the muzzle of a cannon. On the right side are two flowing banners and below it is a cannon barrel and eight cannon balls. Many features within this panel are highlighted with inlaid silver wire or larger pieces. Below this carved decoration is an oval silver escutcheon with a laurel-wreath border supporting a domed group of flower heads. Beneath this is a draped canopy and at its centre is a sacred heart. Below the escutcheon, in inlaid silver sheet and wire, is what appears to be a plumed turban. This sits above an engraved sheet silver panel representing a seated male figure, apparently wearing European costume. He sits on a large padded throne, behind which are banners, simple staves and ball-headed flaillike objects. The rest of the stock is covered with elegant tendril-like silver wire scrolls of remarkable symmetry. The silver ‘cannon’ barrels are of tapered round section divided into three sections. The forward edge of the gently flared muzzle is chiselled with a band of tulip heads. Between the muzzle and a narrow band, or astragal, is an engraved panel of C-scrolls and foliage en rocaille on a stippled and gilded ground. Behind this astragal, on top of a plain central section of the barrel, is an engraved panel of a flower bud above a four-petalled flower, contained within a fern-like frond. On the top surface at the rear of this panel is a trophy of arms formed around an oval shield containing the Union Flag. One breech facet is engraved; L•COL•CLAUDE•MARTIN, the other; LUCKNOW ARSENAL. Like that at the muzzle, the chiselled decoration extends fully around the breech section of each barrel. The iron breech tang is also decorated in the same style. These pistols are contained in a mahogany case divided into sections and lined with green baize in the English manner. In addition to the pistols the case contains a silver-plated combined powder and ball flask with a rounded body of flattened hexagonal section. On the lid of the case is a circular brass escutcheon engraved with the initials AR for Alexander Ross beneath his crest of a laurel branch.
An Important Cased Pair of Flintlock Pistols, by Joseph Manton for the Noted Sportsman Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Thornton, 1796
London. Wood, steel, brass and gold Length: 14½ / 37 cm, length of barrels: 9 in. / 23 cm
Arthur G. Credland, ‘Colonel Thornton’s Coach Gun and Other Weapons, with Notes on the Career of a Great Yorkshire Sportsman’, Arms and Armour, vol. 2, no. 2 (2005), pp. 155–73 (the pistols are discussed on p. 163)
Included in the sale of contents of High House, Campsea Ash, Suffolk (Viscount Ullswater), conducted by Garrod, Turner and Son, Ipswich, 24– 31 October 1949; listed as in the collection of (Dr) R. J. Rabett in W. K. Neal and D. H. L. Back, The Mantons: Gunmakers, London, 1967, p. 226 LITERATURE
W. K. Neal and D. H. L. Back, The Mantons: Gunmakers, London, 1967; D. H. L. Back, Great British Gunmakers: The Mantons 1782–1878, Norwich, 1993;
The Art of the Armourer, an Exhibition of Armour, Swords and Firearms (Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 19 April–5 May 1963), Arms and Armour Society, London, item no. 264; The Craft of the Gunmaker 1640–1870: A Special Exhibition of a Notable Private Collection, Guildhall Museum Rochester, Kent, August 1991–January 1992, catalogue number 29 (illustrated on and inside front cover of catalogue)
homas Thornton is remembered today as arguably one of the most flamboyant and energetic English sportsmen of the late
eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, passionately following
horse racing, hunting, shooting, fishing and falconry and willing to spend huge sums to do so. In 1806, in a published account of his hunting exploits, he famously said of himself: Indeed, it may be fairly presumed that the author possesses a greater quantity of sporting apparatus of the most valuable and curious manufacture than any other sporting gentleman in England; as he has been at a very considerable expence [sic], and spent a great portion of time and pains in the accomplishment of this desired end. Thomas was the son of William Thornton, MP for York, and colonel of the West York Regiment of Militia and was probably born in 1751–2. When his father died in 1769 Thomas inherited a significant fortune and following his coming of age used it to indulge his passion for sporting activities. In 1791 he bought the estate of Allerton Mauleverer, situated Portrait of Colonel Thornton, Marquess Dupont (1757–1823), of Thornville Royal, Yorkshire, roebuck shooting in the forest of Glenmore with the only
of York, with the intention of turning it into his country seat and
twelve-barrelled volley rifle ever made, 1796, by Philip Reinagle, R.A. (British
a major sporting location. With the permission of the duke he
1749–1833) and Sawrey GILPIN, R.A. (British 1733–1807), oil on canvas,
changed its name to Thornville Royal, and it will have been during
208.5 x 150 cm, Private Collection, courtesy of Simon C. Dickinson, Ltd.
between Harrogate and York, from Frederick Augustus, Duke
his years at Thornville Royal that Thornton ordered this fine pair of
of this tour, in the form of letters addressed to the earl of Darlington,
pistols from Joseph Manton.
was published in London in 1806 in two large volumes. The appendix
Thomas inherited his fatherâ€™s position as lieutenant colonel in the
including its library, a falconry mews and an imposing gatehouse.
of the second volume contains some images of Thornville Royal, West York Regiment of Militia, and a surviving portrait shows him wearing his uniform. In 1794 he was with his troops at Roborough
This work illustrated a number of technically unusual and now
Camp, near Plymouth, and following what may have been an over-
historically important firearms, including one of a pair of three-
exuberant demonstration of loyalty from his men a dispute rose
barrelled pistols by Durs Egg which, while in Paris in 1802, Thornton
up between him and some of his officers. He was court martialled
presented to Napoleon Bonaparte as First Consul, and a fourteen-
and subsequently felt he had no alternative but to resign his
barrelled volley gun.
commission. The injustice he felt at his treatment was something which stayed with Thornton for the rest of his life.
In addition to Thornville Royal, Thornton owned a number of
Thornton was an ardent Francophile, and in 1802, in the brief peace
while his London home was Kenyon House, described at the time
properties, including Falconerâ€™s Hall, near Boythorpe, East Yorkshire,
following the Treaty of Amiens, accompanied by his mistress he
as being large and old-fashioned. In the years following his Scottish
undertook an extensive sporting tour of France. A detailed summary
tour, however, Thornton suffered increasing financial difficulties
and in 1808 he sold Thornville Royal and moved his huge and
The pistols bear the serial number 568, confirming that they were
diverse entourage of staff, horses, dogs and birds of prey to Spye
made by Joseph Manton in 1796. They are structurally the same in
Park in Wiltshire which he leased from Sir Andrew Boynton Holt.
all details, including both being fitted with a socket in the rear face of the grip to enable each to be fitted with the single detachable
His passion for France had by no means expired, however. He
skeleton butt provided in the wooden case. Unusually, the pistols
leased the château of Chambord and styled himself ‘Prince of
and the detachable butt are set upright in the deep case, almost
Chambord and Marquis du Pont’. His zest for life, tempered only by
certainly so that the maker’s name and a motto, inlaid in gold on
his enduring sense of injustice at his treatment over the Roborough
to the upper three facets of each of the barrels, were clearly visible
Camp affair, meant that he enjoyed a colourful and profound love of
when the lid was opened.
hunting in all its forms for the rest of his life. This eventually caught up with him, however, and in 1821 he was compelled to sell his
Each lock has a flat lockplate set flush with the stock and each has a
French properties. He died in his lodgings in Paris on 10 March 1823.
gold-lined waterproof pan, a roller frizzen and a sliding safety catch behind the cock. It is inlaid in gold with two trophies of arms, one
These pistols by Joseph Manton are among the few weapons
on the tail and another ahead of the cock. This contains an oval
surviving from an extraordinarily fine cabinet d’armes once owned
panel engraved with JOSEPH MANTON. The body of the elegant
and enjoyed by this most remarkable man.
swan-necked cock is inlaid in gold with a cornucopia from which
emerges a small spray of flowers and a leafy frond while the upper
Behind each barrel tang the stock has an oval gold escutcheon
jaw is inlaid with symmetrical formal Mannerist scrolls. The outer
engraved with the complete arms and mottoes of Lieutenant
surface of the roller frizzen is inlaid with a motif of stylized swags
Colonel Thomas Thornton; VERITAS PREVALEBIT / QUAM IPSE, can
perhaps best be translated as; Truth will prevail / as much as the gun itself. Seen in the circular band around the arms; SESE TE VOCIR SED
The stocks extend to the muzzles, each has a wooden ramrod with a
VIDEO AUCTIUS, has defied accurate translation by even a skilled
horn tip and is retained by two blued iron ramrod pipes. The barrels
Latin scholar, but he has suggested that it bears similarity to the
are secured by two slides with plain oval silver escutcheons. The
device of the Dutch printer Janssonius Van Waesberge (1676–1750)
forward tang of the large iron spur trigger guard has a pineapple
which has vulgo caeca vocor, video sed acutius ipso (by the crowd I
finial and the bow is engraved with a trophy of arms.
am called blind, but I see more keenly than it does). The motto as it appears on these Manton pistols (with the correct form vocor but also with the error of auctius for acutius) is also known from a small paper roundel pasted, upside down, on the verso of R6 in a copy of Edward Chamberlayne’s Angliae Notitia, printed by J. Playford, London, in 1684. This bookplate may have been the pattern from which the escutcheon was engraved; it seems certain that the book is from Thornton’s library.
Below each escutcheon is an oval iron socket for the fitting of the
The rest of the decoration includes bands and swags of husks or
detachable skeleton stock. Each socket has a removable iron cover
bell-flowers at the muzzle while further bands of this motif and
for use when the stock is not in place. Each octagonal-section
finely-executed trophies of arms decorate the breech and barrel
browned twist iron barrel is of 38 bore and has very fine quality
tang. The green baize lined mahogany case has on the outside of
inlaid gold decoration, including an inscription. The uppermost
its lid a brass flush-fitting handle. The case contains not only the
facet is inscribed JOSEPH MANTON’S PATENT LONDON, while the
pistols and their detachable stock but also a three-way powder
upper left and right facets read:
and ball flask of brass bound in red leather, a ball mould and a rare Manton breech scraper. On the inside of the lid of the case
‘NE TIREZ PAS SANS RAISON RETOURNEZ PAS SANS HONNEUR’
is the trade label of Joseph Manton of the design recorded as in use between about 1795 and 1805, giving his Davies Street, Berkeley Square, address.
‘DO NOT DRAW WITHOUT REASON DO NOT RETURN WITHOUT HONOUR’
A Lloyd’s Patriotic Fund Sword of £50 Value presented to R. Torin, Esquire, Commander of the Honourable East India Company’s Ship Coutts, 1804 London. Steel, gold, gilt-bronze, ivory, fish skin, wood, silver wire and wool 361 /6 in. / 92 cm PROVENANCE
R.Torin, esq., by descent.
n 31 January 1804 a convoy of sixteen East India Company
likely financial ruin. Each captain was rewarded by various national
merchant ships and a number of smaller vessels under the
and mercantile institutions and received a sword of £50 value from
command of Commodore Nathaniel Dance sailed from Canton,
the Patriotic Fund at Lloyd’s. These were the only Lloyd’s swords
Southern China, for Europe. By 14 February they had reached the
ever presented to Merchant Navy officers and uniquely have the
Strait of Malacca, where four sails were spotted. The four ships
ship’s name and the date engraved on the scabbard.
were part of a French squadron commanded by Admiral Linois
that comprised the Marengo, a seventy-four gun ship, and three
Robert Torin and a fellow captain had demonstrated such quick
frigates. By dawn the following day the squadron was only three
thinking on a prior voyage: Henry Meriton, commander of the Exeter,
miles distant, and the British ships formed a line of battle. Dance
and Torin, had found themselves in a similar situation off the coast
ordered four of the largest ships to hoist ensigns, to imply that they
of Brazil in 1800. In that instance the men had also masqueraded
were warships. The British ships then headed for the strait with the
their vessels as British ships of the line, and as a result captured
French in pursuit. Dance ordered his lead ships to come about and
a French frigate (the only warship to have struck its colours to
there followed a brief exchange of fire. Convinced that he faced a
merchantmen.) Doubtless Dance knew of Torin’s successful rouse
superior force, Linois withdrew.
when he contrived his defensive strategy in 1804.
The British ships lost just one man in the exchange, and the action
Robert Torin took command of the Coutts around 1796. He
saved the convoy – with a cargo of tea, silk and porcelain valued at
numbered among his friends the artist John Constable; in 1803 the
over £8 million, the equivalent today of over £600 million. Dance
painter joined the Coutts from the Medway to Deal, the first leg of
and his fellow captains were highly praised for their ingenuity, which
its voyage to China. On the journey Constable completed nearly
prevented both the East India Company and Lloyd’s of London from
The Lloyd’s Patriotic Fund was originally established as the
with engraved borders and applied with naval trophies and fouled
Patriotic Fund and inaugurated at a meeting on 28 July 1803 at
anchors, the former framing respectively the figures of Hercules
Lloyd’s Coffee House. On previous occasions Lloyd’s had raised
and the Hydra, the Nemean lion, and a neo-classical nude wrestling
money for casualties and their dependants, but its Patriotic Fund
a tiger on an anchored leash beneath the inscription ‘Coutts 1804’.
received support from all over the British Empire. In fact, by March
Fitted with two suspension rings, the top edge of the scabbard
1804 the fund had received over £174,000 – a massive amount by
locket signed by the cutler R. Teed, Sword Cutler, Lancaster Court,
the standards of the day. The Patriotic Fund Committee not only
Strand. Fitted with curved single-edged hollow-ground blade
granted money to the wounded and gave annuities to dependants,
profusely etched and gilt against a bright blued ground, decorated
but also rewarded those who distinguished themselves with
with foliage including roses, acorns and shamrocks, a naval trophy,
‘successful exertions of value or merit’.
the patriotic figures of Britannia and Hope, the former with a pair of cherubs supporting garlands above and with a conch shell
The rewards took the form of a piece of plate, a sword or a cash sum.
below; also including the crowned arms and cypher of George III,
A competition was organized for the design of these rewards and
a cornucopia supported by Mermen above, and the presentation
though no prize was given for the winning design of the sword, the
contract for making them was given to Richard Teed of Lancaster Court, Strand, London. Three types of sword were awarded: one
‘From The Patriotic Fund At Lloyds To R. Torin Esqr. Com.ng
of £100 value would be given to commanders and naval captains,
The H.E.I. Co.s Ship Coutts, One Of The Fleet Of Merchantmen
a £50-sword was given to naval lieutenants and Royal Marine
Which On The 15th. Feby. 1804 Defeated And Pursued A
captains and a £30-sword was awarded to midshipmen, masters’
Squadron Of French Men Of War Under Command Of Adl.
mates and marine lieutenants.
Linios In The Marengo Of 84 (sic) Guns, As Recorded In The Gaz.te Of The 11th Aug.t.’
The ormolu neo-classical stirrup-hilt is formed with quillons as Romanic fasces, the knuckle guard as the club of Hercules
The hilt, the blade and the scabbard each retain most of their
entwined with a snake and retains its original sword-knot of gilt
original bright blued and brilliant gilt finish. The committee
bullion and blue silk. The langets are cast with acanthus foliage and
awarded Robert Torin this sword for his heroism on 14 August 1804,
applied with naval trophies, the back-piece is cast as the pelt of the
though it was not delivered to him by Teed until 20 December later
Nemean lion and encloses the chequered ivory grip. In its original
fish-skin-covered and ormolu-mounted scabbard, the mounts
Dance's action in the Strait of Malacca, 14 February 1804 by William Adolphus Knell, oil on canvas, BHC0533, © National Maritime Museum, Greenwich
A Silver-Mounted Flintlock Sporting Gun by Nicolas-Nöel Boutet, by Tradition Presented by Emperor Napoleon I to his Close Friend and Confidant General Count Henri-Gratien Bertrand, c. 1806–8
Versailles. Steel, gold, silver, wood and horn 48½ in. / 123 cm PROVENANCE
By tradition presented by the Emperor Napoleon I to General Count HenriGratien Bertrand; Christie’s, London, 9 December 1998, lot 150; English private collection
ount Henri-Gratien Bertrand (1773–1844) was the closest of friends to the Emperor Napoleon I (1769–1821) and unfailingly
loyal to the end: the general accompanied Napoleon into exile first
on Elba (1814–15) and later to St Helena (1815–21). It was Bertrand alone who journeyed on with the emperor following the emotional final inspection of the Old Guard in 1814, but Bertrand is famed today for his detailed account of Napoleon’s private conversations, which paint a true portrait of the ambitious ruler. The candour and intimacy of Bertrand’s journals in which their exchanges are recorded were only first published in 1959, and illustrate the profound trust which existed between the two men. Bertrand’s conversations with the exiled emperor were published under the title Cahiers de Sainte-Hélène; they not only provide historians with an authentic record of the French Napoleonic era, but together with the events of Bertrand’s career give strong credibility to the presentation of this gun. The account naturally concentrates on Napoleon’s political and military reminiscences, including candid explanations relating to controversial decisions, but it also extends to Napoleon’s married life.
One typically unguarded quote refers to his former wife Josephine:
1808 was a significant year for Bertrand and its events provide several likely occasions on which he might have received this
‘I really loved Josephine, but had no respect for her. She had
flintlock gun as a gift from Napoleon. The year first brought Bertrand
the prettiest little — in the world, the Trois Îlets of Martinique
to Spain with his emperor, and subsequently the command of
were there. Actually I married her only because I thought she
the engineers of the French Army of Germany. Bertrand served
had a large fortune. She said she had, but it was not true.’
at the brief siege of Vienna, next overseeing the construction of vital bridges over the Danube in preparation for the battles of
Bertrand entered military service first with the revolutionary National
Aspern-Essling and Wagram. For this service Bertrand was invested
Guard in 1792. As a junior officer in 1797 he joined Napoleon’s army
by Napoleon with the Grand Eagle of the Legion of Honour. He
in Italy, and in the following year joined the French expedition to
was also created a Count of the Empire by Napoleon’s decree of
Egypt, where he engaged in the battles of the Pyramids and of
19 March, and in the same year Bertrand married the daughter of
Abukir. It was here, wounded while fighting with distinction that he
first came to the notice of General Bonaparte; a promotion followed their meeting and Bertrand went on to command the engineers
Bertrand’s appointment to governor general of the Illyrian Provinces
at Alexandria. At the conclusion of the Egyptian campaign in 1801
kept him safe from the disastrous Russian campaign of 1812 and the
Bertrand held the rank of général de brigade.
following year he took command of an army corps in Italy. In Saxony he led his men into battle at both Lutzen and Bautzen. Later in the
In 1804 Bertrand was appointed aide-de-camp to Napoleon and
year he served under Marshal Ney at Dennewitz and in October
was sent by his commander to gain intelligence on the roads and
1813 took part in the battles of Leipzig and Hanau. With the retreat
bridges ahead of the move of the Grande Armée against Vienna; he
to Mainz Bertran helped save the French army from complete
also served at the battle of Austerlitz. Bertrand also fought at the
destruction. In November 1813 he was appointed Grand Marshal of
battle of Jena in 1806, and attacked and captured Spandau. For his
the Palace, but continued his military command, fighting in 1814 at
services at the siege of Danzig in 1807 Bertrand was promoted to
Brienne, Champaubert, Montmirail and Craonne.
général de division. 64
Napoléon Ier dictant ses mémoires, aux généraux Montholon et Gourgaud en présence du grandmaréchal Bertrand et du comte de Las Cases by an anonymous artist, shows Napoleon dictating his memoires to Bertrand and others, oil on canvas, 04-003775/MG.A.1099, musées de l'île d'Aix, Photo ©RMN-Grand Palais (musées de l'Île d'Aix) / Gérard Blot
Having escaped Elba with the emperor (leaving his wife and child
the Versailles manufactory diversified, producing a dazzling
there), Bertrand served as aide-de-camp to Napoleon throughout
spectrum of luxury firearms and edged weapons, many lavished
the Hundred Days and at Waterloo. Infamously, Bertrand’s counter
with gold and sculpted silver, a number of which were destined for
signature appears on Napoleon’s order to Marshal Grouchy at
presentation by Napoleon, as first consul, then as emperor.
Waterloo, the ambiguity of its wording having arguably led to Grouchy’s failure to support the French main force, the consequence
Nicolas Boutet (1761–1833) worked as a gunmaker during the
of which was the French defeat and the end of the Napoleonic era.
greatest social and political upheavals ever known in France. He
Bertrand was among the group of officers who escorted the emperor
worked first under a monarch, inheriting from his father-in-law the
from the field.
title of arquebusier du roi, a republic after the revolution, an empire and then again under a monarchy. It was Napoleon’s military success
Following years in exile and Napoleon’s death in 1821 on St Helena,
in the Italian campaigns of 1796–7 which generated momentum
in 1840, Bertrand and the Prince de Joinville escorted the emperor’s
behind Boutet’s production of increasingly artistic arms; the
remains to Paris for their final burial. Four years later Bertrand was
campaigns required that bravery be recognized and rewarded and
also interred in the spectacular setting of Les Invalides in Paris.
monarchs and statesmen honoured. In this way Boutet’s rise to fame was directly linked to the success enjoyed by Napoleon. After the
This superb, luxurious sporting gun was made under the direction
emperor’s defeat at Waterloo and exile, the Versailles manufactory
of Nicolas-Nöel Boutet, arguably the most highly esteemed
soon closed, in 1818. Boutet continued to work in Paris but in the
gunmaker in history, who worked from 1804 with his son Pierre-
absence of Napoloen’s enthusiastic patronage business dwindled.
Nicolas (b. 1789) at their renowned Versailles arms manufactory. The manufactory had been established by the revolutionary government in 1793, in the former royal palace at Versailles, for the sole production of military firearms. Nicolas Boutet’s appointment as the manufactory’s artistic director created a means by which
On the rib of blued twist barrels, that retain nearly all of their original bright colour, the signature BOUTET ET FILS, À VERSAILLES appears in gold cursive letters. Each breech is struck on the underside with the barrelsmith’s mark FR crowned. The gun’s figured walnut half-stock is finely carved in neoclassical relief, and the full silver mounts include a satyr mask, an owl mask and animal heads. The rear ramrod-pipe is decorated with an eagle and the butt-plate with griffons; behind the grip appears a prominent silver winged monster’s mask. The trigger-guard struck with French silver marks including the grosse garantie poinçon of the Seine-Inférieure department, for the years 1798 – 1809, and the maker’s mark of Nicolas Boutet, NB, a pistol between. The beautiful silver mounts compare particularly closely with those on another flintlock gun by Boutet, which is preserved in the Wallace Collection, London (no. A1127). Their dates aside, the silver trigger-guard, the silver winged monster’s mask inset behind the grip of the butt, and the eaglein-splendour decorating the silver ramrod-pipe, are all identical to those of the gun in the Wallace Collection; it has been suggested that the eagle on the ramrod-pipes of both guns was inspired by the eagle central to the Ordre de la Couronne de Fer, established by Napoleon in June, 1805. Among his many distinctions General Count Bertrand was a commander of this order.
Designed by Jason Hopper, district-6.com Photography by Colin Crisford, Chris Challis and Alan Marsh Printed in the UK by CPI Colour ÂŠ Peter Finer MMXVI 68