Ethnographic Arms & Armour
 

Go Back   Ethnographic Arms & Armour > Discussion Forums > European Armoury
User Name
Password
FAQ Members List Calendar Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 15th November 2013, 02:54 PM   #1
Matchlock
(deceased)
 
Matchlock's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Bavaria, Germany - the center of 15th and 16th century gunmaking
Posts: 4,310
Default A Myth Busted: the Famous OTTHEINRICH Wheellock Arquebus Dated 1533!

Hi there,

After more than 35 years of closest possible study in earliest Northern European military firearms, after acquiring a comprehensive collection of ca. 60 original guns ranging from ca. 1360-1700, plus ca. 500 pieces of all sorts of accouterment, and everything in best possible authentic condition; after building up a library of my own comprising some 3,000 books and catalogs on the subject; and after taking more than 200,000 photos in the most important museums almost everywhere including their reserve collections, I have read and heard - by experts and museum curators alike (and that decisive distinction I make deliberately!!!) - such a tremendous amount of rubbish on that special arquebus that I feel authoritative enough today to bust the myth for good.

This short sporting arquebus is by far not as 'untouched' and 'originally early' as it both seems and as the community has tended to believe so far. For academic research and comparison with other contemporary early-1530 wheellocks, it therefore has to be taken cum grano salis, especially when the lock is concerned.


In the following I will prove that the seemingly early-style lock has been crudely altered in various parts to convey an even more archaic impression - without any practical need, and most probably done only about 100 years ago before selling it at auction. This relates especially to the dog spring; the present dog can be closely dated to ca. 1580 has been mentioned by experts before, but in no case is it a 'working-time' replacement but obviously the original dog had been missing.
There are even strong hints that, with high probability, the complete lock may not originally belong as wood replacements of different outline along the lower edge and the forward section of the lock plate indicate!


First images, in order of appearance:


- portrait of 1535: Ottheinrich von der Pfalz, *1502, +1559, Pfalzgraf zu Neuburg/Donau (on the Danube River, Lower Bavaria, just about 40 km from where I live ...).

- #1: close-up.

- #2: his motto Mit der Zeyt (Medieval German, meaning cum tempore, in the course of time).

- #3: his full title as Count Palatine.

- #4: his portrait around 1540, depicting him girded with a 1530's type of Landsnecht sword; by Georg Pencz; note his gain of weight, analogous to his friend Henry VIII of England.
G. Pencz often portrayed Landsknechts (mercenaries).

- #5: Georg Pencz, self portrait of ca. 1545

- #6: monumental late portrait, ca. 1556, few years before his death in 1559; once more, note the considerable gain of weight, again corresponding to that of Henry VIII: OTTH is unable to stand upright for the painter.

- #7ff: the so-called Ottheinrich arquebus, most probably made in Augsburg and dated 1533 on the left-hand rear end of the buttstock; for the unusual Early-Renaissance scroll buttstock, please see more Augsburg wheellocks by Christoph Arnold:

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ing+1540+passau

and

http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...2554#post162554

Please note that the finely writhen knob of the pan-caver button release closely corresponds in shape to the blackened (!) writhen pommel of OTTH's Landsknecht sword in attachment #4!



Due to the tons of material, this thread is going to make slow progress - please be patient; it will pay, I promise you!


Best,
Michael
Attached Images
            

Last edited by Matchlock : 16th November 2013 at 12:07 AM.
Matchlock is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15th November 2013, 08:18 PM   #2
Matchlock
(deceased)
 
Matchlock's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Bavaria, Germany - the center of 15th and 16th century gunmaking
Posts: 4,310
Default

In the collection of the Bayerisches Nationalmuseum (Bavarian National Museum) Munich, there is a short wheellock sporting arquebus (Old German Pirschbüchse, as it is traditionally called), dated 1533, which, since 1972, has been on display in the Bayerisches Armeemuseum (Bavarian Army Museum) Ingolstadt, some 30 kilometers from where I live. It originally beloged to Ottheinrich von der Pfalz (1502-1559), whose initials H.OTTH, together with the date 1533 and the Bavarian lozenge coat-of-arms, are inlaid in engraved bone on the left-hand rear end of the reddish cherry- or pear-wood full stock.
HOTTH is the abbreviation of Herzog (Count Palatine) OttHeinrich (Otto-Henry).

No measurements are provided by the museum but the overall length of trhe arquebus is ca. 80 cm; inv.no. A11918.



This short sporting arquebus is by far not as 'untouched' and 'originally early' as it both seems and as the community has tended to believe so far. For academic research and comparison with other contemporary early-1530 wheellocks, it therefore has to be taken cum grano salis, especially when the lock is concerned.

In the following I will prove that the seemingly early-style lock has been crudely altered in various parts to convey an even more archaic impression - without any practical need, and most probably done only about 100 years ago before selling it at auction. This relates especially to the dog spring; the present dog can be closely dated to ca. 1580 has been mentioned by experts before, but in no case is it a 'working-time' replacement but obviously the original dog had been missing.
There are even strong hints that, with high probability, the complete lock may not originally belong as wood replacements of different outline along the lower edge and the forward section of the lock plate indicate!


Next images, in order of appearance:

- close-ups of the lock plate with a writhen spring-loaded iron push-button pan-cover release

- writhen pommel of 1530's Landsknecht sword, decorated in the same style as the pan-cover push-button release on HOTTH's wheellock

- close-up of HOTTH's portrait of ca. 1540, by Georg Pencz, depicting the writhen mushroom-shaped pommel of HOTTH's Landsknecht-type sword decorated in the same Early-Renaissance style as the pan-cover button release on the gun

- close-ups of the three-stage round barrel with back- and foresight

- close-up of the left-hand end of the buttstock, showing the bone inlays bearing OttheinrichÄs initials HOTTH, the date 1533 and the Bavarian lozenge coat-of-arms

- the arquebus (on the extreme left in the glass case) in the exhibition room in the Late-Gothic Neues Schloss (New Castle), Bavarian Army Museum, Ingolstadt
Attached Images
          

Last edited by Matchlock : 16th November 2013 at 12:08 AM.
Matchlock is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15th November 2013, 08:23 PM   #3
Matchlock
(deceased)
 
Matchlock's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Bavaria, Germany - the center of 15th and 16th century gunmaking
Posts: 4,310
Default

Up to this day, the museum has completely rejected each and every attempt to ask them to take out the lock and photograph its inner mechanism in detail. As the gun is in stable though horribly acid-cleaned condition there are no practical reasons for such a rejection because neither the stock nor the iron parts will obviously fall into pieces when two screws get detached ...

My explanation, and that of other people as well, is that the curators are afraid of a myth being busted as the lock is far from being identical today to what it looked like when it was made almost 500 years agao. The fact that this gun in a way is a Bavarian local hero piece adds only very little to my understanding for the museum people: science and objectivity is what counts after all. These museum guys have done enough violent barbarity to this gun by acid-cleaning it around 1970.

I will, however, prove in detail by the outer appearance of the lock and surrounding wood, plus the posted images which I took myself, that that myth is overdue to be busted, and I will do so now. Who needs museum people for scíentific purposes anyway? Here we go.



First of all, this gun is the forth oldest dated wheellock in existence: 1533. In the Army Museum Brussels is a another arquebus, dated 1532, with combined wheellock and snap-tinderlock mechanism, and with the very same type of lock but unaltered and completely original in all its parts.
The comparison of these two locks and other related specimen will prove the crude and quite modern alterations that the HOTTH arquebus underwent.

For the sake of completeness of argumentation, the other three known dated predecessors are:

- the combined crossbow-wheellock, datable because of its inscrition to between 1521 and 1526, in the Bavarian National Museum Munich, inv.no. ...

- two arquebuses dated 1530 and 1531 respectively, bought by King Charles V from the Marquardt workshop in Augsburg, and both kept in the Real Armeria Madrid, inv.no.s K. 32 (the older) and K. 30.


I will post more on these four guns (including the 1532 Brussels piece) in due course.



Best,
Michael
Attached Images
            

Last edited by Matchlock : 16th November 2013 at 07:06 PM.
Matchlock is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17th November 2013, 01:13 PM   #4
cornelistromp
Member
 
cornelistromp's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 889
Default

Hi Michael,

very good to see you again here on the forum
the pommel of the landknechtsword is of Norman Type 13, a pommel engraved with rays diverging from the base to give the appearance of a stylished cockleshell. this type appeared from 1470-1640. something like the dagger posted here http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=16452

if I'm not sure if the pan cover button portrays a shell and whether there is some kind of a relation with the pommel.



Do you think that the whole wheelock dates back around 1570 and therefor is a subsequent replacement ?

best,
cornelistromp is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17th November 2013, 03:39 PM   #5
Matchlock
(deceased)
 
Matchlock's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Bavaria, Germany - the center of 15th and 16th century gunmaking
Posts: 4,310
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by cornelistromp
Hi Michael,

very good to see you again here on the forum
the pommel of the landknechtsword is of Norman Type 13, a pommel engraved with rays diverging from the base to give the appearance of a stylished cockleshell. this type appeared from 1470-1640. something like the dagger posted here http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=16452

if I'm not sure if the pan cover button portrays a shell and whether there is some kind of a relation with the pommel.



Do you think that the whole wheelock dates back around 1570 and therefor is a subsequent replacement ?

best,



Hi,

Please do wait for the threat to develop and for me to post more!

Best,
m

Last edited by Matchlock : 17th November 2013 at 03:55 PM.
Matchlock is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th December 2013, 02:34 PM   #6
Matchlock
(deceased)
 
Matchlock's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Bavaria, Germany - the center of 15th and 16th century gunmaking
Posts: 4,310
Default

Hi there,


I realize you had to be patiently waiting for me a long time to carry on and post the real thing, i.e., bust the myth that this gun can be regarded seriously with the eyes of weaponry.

I must admit that I was planning to wait for a better day to come for my bad spine and legs that would enable me to attend the Bavarian Army Museum Ingolstadt 30 km away once more and take better and up-to-date photos of that Ottheinrich arquebus. That day sadly did not come and the weather at this time of the year is just too dreary to take promising images in a museum with rooms as horribly darkened as in Ingolstadt.


Thus I have to resort to my older images, hoping that they will reveal what I am trying to show.


In post #2 above I stated that the present wheellock mechanism may not be the original and has at least been crudely altered in order to evoke a more archaic impression, for what reason ever.


This came from an old noble collection and was sold at auction at the Dorotheum, Vienna, from February 29 to March 2nd, 1912, where the newly founded Bavarian National Museum Munich bought it, and since 1972 it has been on display in the Bavarian Army Museum Ingolstadt.
We can see from the photos of 1912 that the lock looked just the way it looks today, with the pyrite dog an inadequate association of a ca. 1600 musket to a lock of 1533 (see b/w attachments). Minor staghorn filets were missing from the upper brim of the forestock but they were replaced in the correct manner.

Lock mechanisms of identical shape and date prove what the original dog and dog spring looked like. There is a finely preserved detached lock of ca. 1530-35 in the Dresden armory, and another with the same makers mark mounted on a complete long arquebus in the Royal Armouries Leeds. So we can also tell that the original sickle-shaped dog spring encircling the wheel has been removed and replaced - not modernzied! - but in the incorrect style, with unequally long arms of the mid-16th c.! Had the spring corresponded in style to the dog, we would have accepted the alteration as a homogeneous late-16th c. modernization for another shooter. The fact of deliberately choosing an obsolete form, however, and, what is even more, an inapt one, plus adding a substantial portion to the fore end of the lock plate just to accomodate that ultra long dog spring, makes me think of some forger - who, luckily was incompetent ...

On the outer side of the lock plate we can still make out the refilled spaces where different parts of the former action (now missing) were riveted. I am sure that I would find further evidence of forgery if I was allowed to take out the lock ... Well, it is not really that important. You and I can tell by the diffefrent contours of the lock and stock that the present lock mechanism is probably not the original.



For the moment being, the fact is sad enough that an arquebus dated 1533 that once belonged to one of the most influential noble men of the 16th century, and a close friend of Henry VIII, is no better preserved than Henry VIII's two surviving personal guns, the wheellock mechanisms of which are missing. If it were mine, I would present it without the present lock. It looks almost as ridiculous as one of Henry's guns with the barbaricially 'reconstructed' 'matchlock' (with a serpentine and lockplate in shapes that never ever existed, let alone in 1537!, at present on display at the Mary Rose Museum Portsmouth).


Résumé: The lock mechanism does, in all probability, not originally belong and should consequently be removed. Presented together as a unity, this 'unholy' union evokes the impression of a unanimous gun - which definitley is put at dispute.

Please see also my thread on Henry VIII's two breechloading arquebuses, one dated 1537, the other ca. 1540:
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...4634#post164634



Best,
Michael
Attached Images
            

Last edited by Matchlock : 30th December 2013 at 01:06 PM.
Matchlock is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th December 2013, 04:01 PM   #7
fernando
Lead Moderator European Armoury
 
fernando's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Portugal
Posts: 6,329
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matchlock
... I must admit that I was planning to wait for a better day to come for my bad spine and legs that would enable me to attend the Bavarian Army Museum Ingolstadt 30 km away once more and take better and up-to-date photos of that Ottheinrich arquebus...

Save your energy for a later date; you will soon have a visit to guide around
fernando is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29th December 2013, 06:42 PM   #8
Matchlock
(deceased)
 
Matchlock's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Bavaria, Germany - the center of 15th and 16th century gunmaking
Posts: 4,310
Default

I know, 'Nando,

Still I got to get this here done, and I did.

Best,
Michl
Matchlock is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump



All times are GMT. The time now is 09:50 AM.


Powered by: vBulletin Version 3.0.3
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Posts are regarded as being copyrighted by their authors and the act of posting material is deemed to be a granting of an irrevocable nonexclusive license for display here.