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-   -   An Equivocal "Late Gothic" Tiller Haquebut - STEINBÜCHSE - in 15th c. Style (

Matchlock 29th November 2014 03:49 PM

An Equivocal "Late Gothic" Tiller Haquebut - STEINBÜCHSE - in 15th c. Style
11 Attachment(s)
This gun formally counts among stone trowing guns - German: Steinbüchse - equipped with a narrow breech only holding the gun powder - German: Pulversack - , and a wider but short forward section that would receive a stone ball - German: Flug. In many cases, that forward section is only the size of the stone ball, which literally was set at the muzzle.
Apart from a tiny number of huge bronze pieces of artillery, all Steinbüchsen were made of iron, with 95 per cent of them being wrought, and only the rest cast.

The rear part of the gun in discussion, including the octagonal breech and the hook, may be old and original; it is mostly the round barrel that definitely raises the author's doubts. Its surface lacks the irregular traces of the hammer clearly seen on the rest of the gun, and its patina does not match that of the whole of the rear portion either; it looks much smoother than the rest, covered by a lichen like patina not found on the rear section.
The catalog description, too, was quite careful reading "probably 15th century"; the author begs to differ in being quite sure that it is not, at least not throughout.

The provenance from the Jeanne & Robert-Jean Charles collection is not a certificate of authenticity by itself; all it stands for is that the piece, in its present form, already existed in the 1930's when the Charles' started forming their collection. Like all collections comprising many hundreds, or literally thousands of various items, instead of concentrating all the collector's expertise on one special period, field and type of weapons, the Charles collection contained some fine items as well as a large nuumber of heavily altered, doubtful or definite Historismus pieces made in the Victorian period - by the earliest.

Most objects from the Charles collection were sold in several parts at the Hotel Drouot, Paris, through Ader et Tajan, starting in 1993.
The item in discussion was NOT included in any of those sales.
The author recalls doing extensive viewing of the earliest guns
. There were several composite weapons and such showing extensive replacements and "enhancing" later and inapt decoration.
Only very few items actually fetched high prices.

So the author restrained to choose a Nuremberg made powder flask, ca. 1550-60, of circular shape retaining its original leather pouch, and preserved in heavily patinated original condition throughout; it was lot #110 in the first Charles sale of 13 May 1993.
This was the only specimen of that type ever to appear on the market since the Kuppelmayr sale, 26 to 28 March 1895 (!), lot
#576, pl. 29.

That unusual type of Nuremberg manufactured flasks is recorded to have only been ordered, and made for, the Styrian arsenal at Graz, which still holds many specimens. In the second half of the 19th c. when the great central museums were founded, the Vienna arsenal and the Bayerisches Nationalmuseum München each were given one sample of that type of flasks from the Graz arsenal, and the Kuppelmayr catalog description records the Graz provenance for that flask.


Matchlock 29th November 2014 04:34 PM

5 Attachment(s)
Some typical Steinbüchsen - not yet showing a hook! - from an illuminated manuscript dated 1411, cod. 3069 in the Österreichische Nationalbibliothek Wien:

- fol. 9v
- fol. 15r
- fol. 16r
- fol. 25v
- fol 45r


Matchlock 29th November 2014 05:05 PM

11 Attachment(s)
Steinbüchsen NOT yet equipped with a hook, from 15th c. illuminated manuscripts.

From top:
- Cod. 3069, dat. 1411; Österreichische Nationalbibliothek Wien, fol. 10r
- dito, fol. 40r

and some surviving samples from the museums in Paris, Weißenburg/Bavaria, Hohensalzburg, Nuremberg and Passau, plus two specimens sold at auction withe Hermann Historica, Munich, and Sotheby's N.Y.

Apart from a few huge pieces of artillery, all existing Steinbüchsen are of wrought iron.

For surviving stone throwing guns see author's threads:

Marcus den toom 1st December 2014 08:17 PM

Just adding some pictures to this thread which i seem to have aquired :shrug: :cool: :rolleyes:

Also re-attaching a manuscript illustrations of what might be a Stein Büchse. Not sure though, the breech section is too small, especially when comparing it to the supposed forward section wich held a stone ball.

Marcus den toom 1st December 2014 08:18 PM

some more

Marcus den toom 1st December 2014 08:20 PM

Voila, le rest.
Also the interior of the barrel (s) seem altered... the octagonal part which might have been joined later on with the round part looks to be shiny in places.

Matchlock 2nd December 2014 09:56 AM

Hi Marcus,

Thanks for posting these additional custom made photos.;)

And a VERY special 'thanks' for posting that source of illustration
:cool: - would you please let me know where you found it, and what manuscript it belongs to?

On those images, the surface of the forward section of the gun looks more consistent with the rest, and my doubts have diminished a bit.
Still I feel that the thickness of the barrrel wall at the muzzle is unusually low for a 15th c. piece, and the muzzle is not hevily swamped as would be expected but only shows a small brim. An actual swamping the white-red iron with the hammer would have added to a higher endurance indeed while that brim just folded outward does not ... :(:shrug:
Anyway, in my opinion the overall appearance of that gun breaks one too many rules to render it acceptable.


Spiridonov 2nd December 2014 12:15 PM

Michael! Thank You for this interesting photo! I have never seen this way of fastening hook. Usually hook is on barrel or on stock but not between barrel and tiller

Matchlock 2nd December 2014 07:34 PM

10 Attachment(s)
Exactly, Alexander,

Neither did I.

Anyway, viewed from the stylistic aspect, this seems to be one of the earliest hooks, of ca. 1430, as it is quite small in proportions.

Hooks on stocks, though, do not appear before the 1630's.
There is a small series of seven long matchlock muskets (overall length 1.72 m) known, the barrels and lock bearing Suhl marks; they were sold from the famous armory of the Counts of Giech, Sotheby's, 1974. The stocks are all branded with the alliance coat-of-arms of the Giech and Kaunitz (they married in 1633), and the hooks are fixed at a blued iron basic plate that is nail4ed to the underside of the forestock.
The finest of the seven pieces is in
The Michael Trömner Collection (top atts.).

Shortly after the end of the Thirty Years War, Austria developped another long matchlock model M 1657; quite anachronistically, a small series of those musktets (overall length 1.72 m) was equipped with a hook added to the underside of the forestock by an iron cuff and four wood screws.
A specimen was sold from the Higgins Armory, Massachusetts, with Thomas Del Mar, 7 May 2014, lot 268 (next 2 images attached).

A finely preserved sample of that long gun military model, from the ordinary series without that additional hook, is in The Michael Trömner Collection (bottom atts.).


Marcus den toom 1st January 2018 04:29 PM

1 Attachment(s)
If my eyes do not decieve me there is a similar steinbüchse in the right corner of this picture. It does not appear to have a hook but otherwise looks the same. The picture is of too low a resolution to see any details. It is supposed to be in Orleans in France.

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