Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Wheellock Pistol

ca. 1600–1610
Steel, wood (maple), mother-of-pearl, brass, gold
L. 32 1/8 in. (81.6 cm); L. of barrel 24 1/2 in. (62.2 cm); Cal. .35 in. (8.9 mm); L. of screw plug 6 in. (15.2 cm); Diam. at muzzle 7/16 in. (1.1 cm); Diam. at breech 13/16 in. (2.1 cm); L. of lock 5 5/8 in. (14.3 cm); Wt. 3 lb. 3 oz. (1446 g)
Credit Line:
Gift of William H. Riggs, 1913
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 375
French wheellock pistols of the early seventeenth century are distinguished by their extreme length, small-caliber barrels, and delicate decoration of engraved mother-of-pearl, staghorn, and brass. Innovations in the wheellock mechanism, such as the placement of the mainspring within a recess in the grip rather than on the interior of the lockplate (as was usual on German wheellocks), allowed the stocks of the French pistols to be lighter, more slender, and more gracefully proportioned.
Inscription: Inscribed on the barrel: G B with a crown.
William H. Riggs, Paris (until 1913; his gift to MMA).
Magniac, Hollingworth, and Christie's, London. The Renowned Collection of Works of Art, Chiefly Formed by the Late Hollingwoth Magniac (also Known As the Colworth Collection). London: William Clowes, July 2–4, 1892.

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