Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Snaphance Flintlock Pistol Made for Wilhelm, Duke of Kurland

dated 1615
Steel, gold, silver, wood (brazilwood)
L. 19 3/4 in. (50.2 cm); L. of barrel 12 1/2 in. (31.8 cm); Cal. .38 in. ( 9.7 mm); Wt. 2 lb. 5 oz. (1050 g)
Credit Line:
Gift of Mrs. Alexander McMillan Welch, in memory of Alexander McMillan Welch, 1946
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 375
The earliest recorded Scottish pistols, like this example, have stocks made of wood rather than steel. This pistol, one of a pair, was given by the duke of Kurland to Johann Georg I, elector of Saxony, in 1616. Its mate remains in the Historisches Museum, Dresden. It is believed that the pistols were originally a royal gift to Duke Wilhelm from James I, king of England and Scotland, in 1615.
Inscription: Inscribed on the lockplate: 1615.

Marking: Marked on the lockplate and barrel: H I, superimposed and surmounted by a crown;

Engraved on a silver plaque set in the barrel near the breech: the arms belonging to Wilhelm, Duke of Kurland, with his initials incorporated.
Ex. coll.: Historisches Museum, Dresden (inv. no. F-317); Bashford Dean; Alexander McMillan Welch.
Siebmacher, Johann. "Die Fürsten des Heiligen Römischen Reiches." Grosses und Allgemeines Wappenbuch in Einer Neuen, Vollständig Geordneten und Reich Vermehrten Auflage mit Heraldischen und Historich-Genealogischen Erläuterungen, Grosses und Allgemeines Wappenbuch, 1, part 3 (1856–1938). pp. 122–23, pl. 148–49 (for arms of Kettler family, Dukes of Curland).

Micol, J.M. "Dessins à la Plume." In Panoplie Européenne. Brussels: Musée d’Armes et d'Objets Anciens, Bordeaux, 1858. pl. 12, fig. 5.

von Ehrenthal, M. Führer Durch das Königliche Historische Museum zu Dresden. 3rd ed. ed. Dresden: Wilhelm Baensch, 1899. p. 133, no. F-318.

Grancsay, Stephen V. Loan Exhibition of European Arms and Armor: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, August 3 to September 27, 1931. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1931. p. 89, no. 364.

Grancsay, Stephen V., and The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Scottish Pistols in the Metropolitan Museum." American Rifleman 95, no. 11 (1947). pp. 18–19, fig. 1.

Isenburg, Wilhelm Karl, Frank Freytag von Loringhoven, and Detlev Schwennicke. Stammtafeln zur Geschichte der Europäischen Staaten: (Europäische Stammtafeln). Vol. I. 2nd ed. Marburg: J. A. Stargardt, 1953. pl. 88 (genealogy of the dukes of Kurland).

Hayward, J. F. The Art of the Gunmaker. Vol. 1. 1500–1660. London: Barrie and Rockliff, 1962. p. 223.

Hayward, J. F. The Art of the Gunmaker. Vol. 1. 1500–1660. 2nd ed. ed. London: Barrie and Rockliff, 1965. p. 243–44.

Lindsay, Merrill, Bruce Pendleton, Verne Noll, and Peter Parnall. One Hundred Great Guns: An Illustrated History of Firearms. New York: Walker and Company, 1967. pp. 58–59.

Eaves, Ian. "Some Notes on the Pistol in Early 17th Century England." The Journal of the Arms and Armour Society VI, no. 11 (September 1970). p. 329.

Nickel, Helmut. Ullstein-Waffenbuch: Eine Kulturhistorische Waffenkunde. Mit Markenverzeichnis. Berlin: Ullstein, 1974. p. 257, ill.

Blair, Claude. "Scottish Firearms." The Bulletin of the American Society of Arms Collectors 31 (1975). pp. 61–101 (best inroduction to the subject).

Eaves, Ian. "Further Notes on the Pistol in Early 17th Century England." The Journal of the Arms and Armour Society VIII, no. 5 (June 1976). pp. 316–319.

Isenburg, Wilhelm Karl Prinz zu. Europäische Stammtafeln: Stammtafeln zur Geschichte der Europäischen Staaten, edited by Detlev Schwennicke, and Frank Freytag von Loringhoven. Vol. 1. Die Deutschen Staaten. 3rd ed. ed. Marburg, Germany: J. A. Stargardt, 1980. pl. 159b (genealogy of the dukes of Kurland).

Schaal, Dieter. "The Scottish Pistols in the Dresden Rüstkammer." IAMAM XII 1990 Congress Report, IAMAM Congress Report, (1990). pp. 83–84.

Klatte, Gernot. "Frühe Schottische Pistolen in der Dresdener Rüstkammer." Dresdener Kunstblätter 54, no. 1 (2010). pp. 23–27, 29, no. 27.

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