A FINE AND RARE 100 BORE EASTERN FRENCH WHEEL-LOCK HOLSTER PISTOL, CIRCA 1600-20
A FINE AND RARE 100 BORE EASTERN FRENCH WHEEL-LOCK HOLSTER PISTOL, CIRCA 1600-20 with blued barrel formed in three stages, the breech and muzzle each strongly moulded, the former struck with a mark, perhaps the letter 'P' incorporating an asterisk, and the rear section formed with a series of elongated recessed panels, slender tang extending over the spine of the butt, blued lock plate retained by two side nails, elongated acorn-shaped tail, fitted with external wheel retained by an engraved bracket formed as a marine monster, sliding pan-cover with fluted button release, engraved dog-spring, walnut full stock (the fore-end with minor repairs), profusely inlaid with brass wire scrolls, engraved mother-of-pearl plaques formed as exotic beasts, birds, grotesques and ball flowers over the fore-end and beneath, further animals, fruit, flowers and a reclining figure opposite the lock, all enriched with engraved panels of stained horn decorated with flowers and foliage, the ground sown with numerous minute brass stars and all contained within brass wire segmental lines (very minor restorations), the butt decorated en suite, fish-tail pommel inlaid with a mask and foliate rondel, later plain steel trigger-guard, a pair of engraved staghorn ramrod-pipes decorated with sprays of coloured foliage (the inlay with small losses, small areas of lifting and minor damage), steel side-plate also retaining the wheel spindle, engraved staghorn fore-end cap, horn-tipped ramrod, perhaps the original 58.5cm; 23in barrel The distinctive treatment of the stock is found on a small group of firearms and also a powder-flask, the latter preserved in James A. de Rothschild Collection at Waddesdon Manor (inv. no. W1/109/3). The Royal Armoury Stockholm includes a number of pistols from this group, notably one pair (now missing much of their decoration and part of one stock) with fishtail butts and struck with a related mark to the present example. See N. Drejholt 1996, p. 58-59 (GIIA109-110).
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