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Old 20th May 2014, 11:55 AM   #8
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Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Bavaria, Germany - the center of 15th and 16th century gunmaking
Posts: 4,310

Hello Kai,

Thanks for congratulating but you left me kind of flabbergasted , learning that you did not see any notable similarities.

I reattached a few close-ups, together with photos of my arquebus. The rear end of the buttstock of my arquebus is downcurved and broadened; with all petronels, this is the part that the arquebusier had to grasp firmly and hold the gun, trying to withstand the recoil - and, of course, control it. Otherwise, the recoil would have hit his stomach, or probably smashed his ribs. So the hand actually covers the part of the buttstock that is downcurved the most, and this is why the downcurved rear end of the buttstock is not shown on the painting.
On the close-ups selected from the painting, there is a definite decurved upper line of all buttstocks shown, and all the arquebusiers are depicted with their hands covering the rear end of the buttstock, holding the guns right in front of their chests.
Please note as well the reinforced short muzzle section on all the arquebuses shown, mine included.

To me, the only differences between the guns shown and my arquebus are, as explained, the presence of the snap tinderlock mechanism - which was there originally, of course, and is still visible on the guns on the painting. That mechanism, as fragile as obsolete, was employed for only a few years, probably less than a decade, and for obvious reasons. On my surviving arquebus, it was replaced during the Thirty Years War, making this portion of the gun look quite distinct now from what it did in the 1520's. Moreover, the barrels on Heller's painting seem to consist of wrought iron, instead of brass.

I also attached details from two other contemporary sources of illustration of The Battle of Pavia, elucidating the historical fact that different types of guns were employed by mercenaries in the same battle. Older, Late Gothic style influenced arquebuses featuring a multi-faceted form of the so-called German Landsknechtsschaft (a straight and polygonal, highly faceted type of buttstock found on 15th century mercenaries arquebuses, and consequently named after them in German), and mounted with either wrought-iron or cast brass barrels, were used side by side with the new, Renaissance style 'molded' arquebuses. The latter had smoother stocks, in some cases anticipating the form of the downcurved petronel buttstock, which was to come in use widely by the mid 16th century.

The first attachments following are details taken from a series of large tapestries, made in Brussels workshops around 1530, and after sketches depicting 'frozen' scenes, which had been drawn 'live', and by artists who actually were real war reporters. These seven tapestries are now preserved at the Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte in Naples, Sicily. They represent the older, Gothic type of straight and polygonal mercenaries type of stock, mounted with snap tinderlocks and either wrought iron or brass barrels.

The next-in-line images show three details from another tapestry, also illustrating the Late Gothic type of the Landsknechtsschaft, followed by a contemporary woodcut.

Finally, there is a painting in the Royal Armouries Leeds, 1-142; all of the close-up photos taken by the author, in 1990.

Thus, various and differing forms of gun stocks, old and new alike, were used side by side in the 1520's. What seems to have been common to all of them though, and consequently may be called a characteristic criterion for dating guns of the mid 1520's to the early 1530's, is the snap tinderlock mechanism, with only the serpentine mounted on a small rectangular plate, consisting of brass on almost all surviving specimens from that period, while all the other mechanical parts were set into and nailed to the stock, partly covered by inlaid stripes of wood (German: Schwamm-Schnapp-Teilschlo▀).
Yet there are other stylistic features typical of guns between ca. 1520 and 1530: the multi-staged and highly faceted barrels, terminating in a lengthened, round muzzle section. In some instances, these barrels were manufactured employing an older and traditional material, which was cast brass/bronze, although they faced being replaced by wrought iron increasingly. That latter development also accounts for the historical facts that we rarely find brass barrels shaped by the characteristic Renaissance sense of style of the late 1520's to the mid-1530's, and that the Nuremberg production and export of cast brass barrels for long guns (arquebuses), booming since the second half of the 15th century, had decreased rapidly by the late 1520's. Well-established workshops of brass/bronze founders, like the Pehaims and the Pegnitzers, soon lost their former signification, while blacksmiths workshops flourished, on the strength of their wrought iron barrels.

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