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Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Pair of Wheellock Pistols

Designer:
Decoration on the stocks copied in part from engravings by Étienne Delaune (French, Orléans 1518/19–1583 Strasbourg)
Date:
ca. 1570–80
Culture:
French
Medium:
Steel, gold, silver, brass, wood (walnut), staghorn, pigment
Dimensions:
L. of each pistol 20 1/8 in. (51.1 cm); Cal. of 14.25.1433a .444 in (11.2 mm); Cal. of 14.25.1433b .463 in. (11.3 mm); L. of each barrel 12 in. (30.5 cm); L. of plug 7 1/2 in. (19.1 cm); Diam. at muzzle 3/4 in. (19.1 mm); Diam. at breech 1 5/16 in. (3.3 cm); L. of lock 5 5/8 in. (14.3 cm); Wt. of 14.25.1433a 4 lb. 2 oz. (1871 g); Wt. of 14.25.1433b 4 lb. (1814 g)
Classification:
Firearms-Guns-Wheellock
Credit Line:
Gift of William H. Riggs, 1913
Accession Number:
14.25.1433a, b
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 375
These pistols are remarkable for the chiseled and gilt decoration of the barrels and locks, for the distinctive figural and floral inlay on the stocks, which is copied in part from ornament engravings by Etienne Delaune (1518/19–1583), and for the use of red paint to highlight the stock decoration. The survival of the matching priming flask also in the Metropolitan Museum's collection (acc. no. 14.25.1523) is also exceptional for a pistol from this early date.
William H. Riggs, Paris (until 1913; his gift to MMA).
Paris. Palais du Trocadéro. "Exposition Universelle de 1878: L'Exposition Historique du Trocadéro," May 1–October 31, 1878.

Paris. Palais des Armées de Terre et de Mer. "Exposition Universelle Internationale de 1900," April 14–November 12, 1900.

Collection, sale catalogue, February, 1865. Paris, February 1865.

Thoumas, Charles-Antoine. Exposition Rétrospective Militaire du Ministère de la Guerre en 1889. Vol. I. Paris: H. Launette et Cie., G. Boudet successeur, 1890. pl. opp. p. 46.

Scofield, J.K., J. F. Hayward, James G. Mann, and C.G.E. Bunt. "Old Firearms in America." The Connoisseur 108 (1941). p. 8, figs. 2–2a.

Lenk, Torsten, Blanche Byrne, Jane Clark, Charles R. Beard, Leslie Southwick, Ian Eaves, John F. Hayward, Gordon T. Howard, and Walter J. Karcheski. The Journal of the Arms and Armour Society 2 (1956–1958).

Hayward, J. F. The Art of the Gunmaker. Vol. 1. 1500–1660. London: Barrie and Rockliff, 1962. p. 284, pls. 16a, b.

Blair, Claude. Pistols of the World. London: Batsford, 1968.

Morin, Marco. Armi Antiche. 1st ed. Milan: Arnoldo Mondadori Editore, 1982. no. 89, ill.



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