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Old 16th January 2009, 04:43 PM   #1
Matchlock
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Default A highly important four barrel Landsknecht mace, ca. 1540

This Landsnecht combination weapon is an almost unique piece which was originally in the famous Meyrick Collection in Herefordshire and is illustrated in the 1830 Skelton/Fincke catalog.

After being "guest" in such esteemed private collections as Robert Curzon Baron Zouche of Haryngworth (sold Sotheby's London, Nov 10/11 1920, lot 110), Edward Hubbard Litchtfield (sold Sotheby's London, Dec 5, 1951, lot 79) and Herbert G. Ratner jr. (sold Christie's London, Nov 20, 1991, lot 138) afterwards and illustrated in three more books (for details, please see list in one of the pics), it has been in my collection since the Christie's sale.

About 3 inches are missing from the rear end of the beechwood stock which is drilled out to receive the ramrod, and one of the four wooden pan covers is missing as well. Otherwise it is in fine, perfect patina overall.

Interesting enough, only one single very similar piece in known to have survived (apart from a few later, decorated samples, one originally in the Counts of Giech collection) but is nothing more than a fragment now, with all the thorn rings and the muzzle cover and spike gone. It is preserved at the Hermitage, St. Petersburg and I attach the only available, very poor photo.

Enjoy.

Good to be "back" though I never really left you.

Michael
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Old 16th January 2009, 04:52 PM   #2
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The rest.

Provenance and illustration referrals second from bottom, the Hermitage piece bottom.
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Old 16th January 2009, 04:53 PM   #3
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very intresting piece never seen anything like it before.
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Old 16th January 2009, 06:28 PM   #4
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Fantabulous piece.
Such a rare combined weapon, worthy of the greatest collection.
My mouth was wide open for so long that my jaw joints are aching.
Fernando
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Old 16th January 2009, 06:38 PM   #5
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Truly amazing Michael!!! Your photographic treasury is priceless, and this piece looks like it really meant business....never thought of a one barrel, let alone four barrel. It has always interested me that the early pistols, being single shot of course, were designed to use as clubs when the charge was spent.....this would be dramatically the same concept.
Looks like a Landsknecht 'pepperbox'

Thank you, and welcome home!!!

All the best,
Jim
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Old 16th January 2009, 07:02 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
... were designed to use as clubs when the charge was spent.....

Or the other way round, in this case; your enemy aproaches you with the assumption that you are only armed with a mace and suddenly you open the thing and give him the best


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
Looks like a Landsknecht 'pepperbox'


Never so true

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Old 16th January 2009, 08:32 PM   #7
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Thank you both, Fernando and Jim,

"Landsknecht pepperbox" is no doubt the very best term I've ever heard, Jim - great!

Fernando, I cherish your idea of surprising an appoaching enemy by flinging the cover open just in time to make him look into these four "promising" holes - before they will issue the balls!

Michael
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Old 16th January 2009, 08:35 PM   #8
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Default Landsknecht pepperbox

I should add that the stops of the sliding wooden pan covers are just wooden pins. It's all the more surprising that three of them are still there.

m
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Old 17th January 2009, 03:14 PM   #9
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What an amazing weapon.

It will tenderize, pierce, and sears.
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Old 19th January 2009, 02:59 PM   #10
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When I first saw this, I remembered I'd seen it in HL Peteron and R. Elman's book, 'The Great Guns"

Holy water sprinkler....(!) what a grand and droll name !
I had been under the impression that it belonged to the Tower collection but on looking again, saw it was in Meyerick collection at the time.

Unique, and well looked after.
Thank you for showing it here Michael.

All best wishes,

R.
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Old 19th January 2009, 04:12 PM   #11
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holy crap!
That's awesome, the Landsknecht were always known for their work with zweihandlers but its not often you get to see or hear of their combination weapons and primitive firearms!
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Old 20th January 2009, 05:26 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pukka Bundook
When I first saw this, I remembered I'd seen it in HL Peteron and R. Elman's book, 'The Great Guns"

Holy water sprinkler....(!) what a grand and droll name !
I had been under the impression that it belonged to the Tower collection but on looking again, saw it was in Meyerick collection at the time.

Unique, and well looked after.
Thank you for showing it here Michael.

All best wishes,

R.



Hi Richard,

Thank you for mentioning the cute nickname for this kind of weapons: holy water sprinkler.

May I add that, in the Landsknechts' jargon, "to sprinkle holy water" was the cant phrase for fetching blood.

This piece was in the Ratner collection at the time when it was illustrated in Peterson/Elman's book.

The long stocked holy water sprinklers of Henry VIII's army now preserved at the Tower and the Royal Armouries Leeds respectively have three barrels each which are hidden by swiveling small iron plates. Thus, their central spike was no doubt more robust than on my Meyrick piece. I attach a detail of one of Henry VIII's three barrel maces which was referred to as "holy water sprinkles with thre gonnes" in the 1547 Tower inventory.

m
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Old 21st January 2009, 05:21 AM   #13
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Ah yes, Michael....The Ratner collection. I should not go by memory!

Thank you for the picture of the Henry V111 type.....the same only different!!

Best wishes,

Richard.
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Old 21st February 2009, 05:25 PM   #14
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Default One of Henry VIII's Holy Water Sprinklers in The Tower of London

From the web.
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Old 21st February 2009, 05:33 PM   #15
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One more.
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Old 1st October 2012, 04:27 PM   #16
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Default measurements?

Dear, Matchlock.
Maybe you can say what a measurements approx ( length and bore caliber) this mace have?

Thanks, Alex .
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Old 1st October 2012, 10:55 PM   #17
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Great piece Michael, I still see Herb Ratner at US antique gun shows. I want to reproduce this for those who would like to shoot them as a sport, so please wrap it carefully and send it to me, I will not need it for more than about 6 months.






sure
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Old 20th February 2014, 09:48 AM   #18
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The measurements of that mace are:

overall length 86 cm
max. outer diameter 8-9 cm
length of barrels from touch hole to muzzle 24 cm
bore 12 mm

m
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Old 2nd May 2014, 10:12 PM   #19
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Default My Four-barreled mace is The MEYRICK MACE, and pefectly documented since 1830!

In completion of presenting my highly important four-barreled MEYRICK MACE of ca. 1540 - see post #1 ff. above - I have attached scans and lots of attachments appearing in the order they are mentioned, all documenting the provenance of this singular weapon for almost 200 years !!!, which is since 1830!
The Meyrick Collection is known to have been formed before 1824.

In the following I will show that this mace is an outstanding historical weapon, doubtlessly ranking among a mere handful of finest weapons worldwide that are in private collections, and documented as well as this specimen - in singular perfection since the early 19th century!!!


[/SIZE][/B]
Its earliest mentioning goes back to almost 200 years ago (!) , which is the year 1830, when it still was in the world famous, legendary MEYRICK collection at Goodrich Court, Herefordshire, England. It is described by Joseph Skelton as a HOLY WATER SPRINKLE, explaining that [B]'to sprinkle the holy water was the cant-phrase for fetching blood'[/B] (German: 'Weihwasser-Sprenkler'; im Jargon der Landsknechte war 'Weihwasser sprenkeln' der Ausdruck für 'das Blut spritzen lassen'[/B]) and illustrated by a line drawing in
Joseph Skelton's Engraved Illustrations of Antient (sic!) Arms and Armour, from the Collection of Llewellyn Meyrick ... at Goodrich Court, Herefordshire, published in two volumes in 1830, vol. II, plate XCII, Holy Water Sprinkles, & c.
Of course, a copy of the original edition is in my library; the volumes are in huge folio, and way too large to put them on an average scanner and display the scans full size!!!

I also own a copy of the original German edition, by Fincke, Berlin, 1830, as well as of all the other books that this highly important combination weapon is illustrated in, documenting its provenance and its way through some well-known historical collections.

As I stated, the first famous collection it was in was the MEYRICK collection. Many highly important weapons that once were in his collection and are identified by the illustrations in the 1830 catalog, are preserved nowadays in public museums of global significance, such as the Royal Armouries Leeds, The Wallace Collection London, and the Metropolitan Museum New York!
In all probablity, my private collection is the only one in the world to hold two (!!!) guns illustrated and described in the MEYRICK catalog!!!
The other is an English Cromwellian matchlock musket, the barrel signed WR and dated 1640. I will post it on the forum soon.

Chronogically, the next collection after the one of Llewellyn Meyrick that my mace can be identified to have been in was ROBERT CURZON, 15th BARON ZOUCHE OF HARYNWORTH. His collection was sold at Sotheby, Wilkinson & Hodge, London, 16 July 1924, lot 110.
It is illustrated in Francis Henry Cripps-Day: A Record of Armour Sales 1881-1924, London, 1925, p. 199, and described on p. 198:

"Lot 110: GUN AND CLUB UNITED (fig. 115) - probably German, XVIth century. Illustrated in the Sale Catalogue. Cf. "The King Henry VIII's walking-staff, ffoulkes' Inventory of the Tower Armoury, Class XIV, No. 1, where it is illustrated, vol. ii, p. 432."

Next, it was sold as part of the collection of Edward Hubbard Litchfield, Parke-Bernet Galleries, N.Y., Dec 5-6, 1951, lot 79, and described in the sales catalog [B]The Important Collection of EDWARD HUBBARD LITCHFIELD
:
"COMBINATION WEAPON, Early XVI Century.
Morganstern (sic!) with octagonal haft, the hollow upper section encircled by two bands of spikes and enclosing a four-barrel hand cannon with touch-holes and sliding wood covers; hinged top centring a spearhead. Together with a heavily spiked war club. (Lot.)"



Next in the long row of provenance of this singularly documented item, there are two more famous books on early firearms containing photos of my four-barreled MEYRICK MACE, from the time when it was in the HERBERT G. RATNER JR Collection, U.S.A.:

Harold L. PETERSON/Robert ELMAN: The Great Guns, 1971, color illustration pp. 142-143.

H. Gordon FROST: Blades and Barrels, 1972, illustrated p. 199.

Finally it was last sold:
Fine Antique Arms and Armour, [B]Christie's London, 20 November
1991, lot 138[/B].
Although Christie's expert, Peter Hawkins, did not know anything about the top-class and long documented provenance of this weapon, and, what was even more, wrongly dated it 'circa 1600', that impressive piece multiplied its estimate by five!
I remember Geoffrey Jenkinson being the underbidder.


Well, it has been in my collection for almost 23 years ever since ...
And, of course, in my library there are copies of all the original books and catalogs referred to above!



Worldwide, there is only one single exact counterpart of my mace known to exist. It is preserved in the HERMITAGE MUSEUM St. Petersburg, inv.no. 6315.
Sadly, it is incomplete, missing its iron top lid originally containing the central spear head, plus the two iron bands mounted with spikes.
The HERMITAGE MACE is illustrated in color and described:
Leonid Tarassuk: Antique European and American Firearms at The Hermitage Museum, 1971, pl. IV, no. 396.
It measures 75.5 cm overall, the barrels 25 cm long, the bore 11.2 mm.

The iron hook of the HERMITAGE MACE is identical in shape to that on my MEYRICK mace. Of course, this was not a 'belt hook' simply because nobody could move, let alone walk, with this heavy club hanging from his hips, and the iron spikes scratching his legs!!! So it must have been used by a horseman, and in all probability was stored and carried in some kind of tubular leather holster fixed to the saddle, similar to the way that short arquebuses of that period were kept. Without some kind of protecting holster, the spikes of that mace would have badly wounded the horse. Thus, the hook ensured a tight fit in the holster on the galloping horse when engaged with the upper brim of the leather. On a painting by Lucas Cranach we see that in the 16th century, saddle holsters did not yet have buckled lids; the buttstocks of the small arquebuses/'pistols' are depicted sticking out, enabling the rider to quickly pull them.
At the same time, we should note that these buttstocks clearly are shaped triangular, just like those on long guns! This is the reason why the so-called 'belt hooks' of early to mid-16th century pistols and arquebuses actually should correctly be called 'holster hooks', just because this is exactly what their function was.


We know that a third four-barreled mace existed at the beginning of the 20th century. Like the MEYRICK and HERMITAGE MACES, this, too, was very plain and not decorated with bone inlays, unlike the few known late 16th century pieces that must have been made for decorational purposes only. That third specimen of a plain FOUR-BARRELED MACE (German: 'schießender Morgenstern') obviously belonged to the same early series as my MEYRICK MACE and the one in the HERMITAGE. It is known to have been in the collection of the Prince Reuß J-L., on Schloss Osterstein near Gera, Thuringia, around 1900. Its whereabouts have been unknown since at least WW II. The iron top lid and all the iron spikes were also missing from the specimen, or it may have been a plainer version as it featured three reinforcing iron bands which probably never were spiked.
Cf. Moritz v. Ehrenthal: "Die Waffensammlung des Fürsten Reuß j.L. zu Schloß Osterstein bei Gera", in: Zeitschrift für Historische Waffenkunde (ZWHK), Alte Folge, Bd. IV (1906-1908), pp. 261-266, with the mace illustrated as no. 224.


As we have seen from the foregoing sources, various experts have tried for almost 200 years to assign different dates to my mace, ranging from 'circa 1450' (Ratner/Frost, 1972), '15th century" (Meyrick, 1830), "second half 15th century' (Tarassuk, on the HERMITAGE MACE in St. Petersburg) to 'circa 1600' (Christie's, 1991).
The closest to the truth was, in my opinion, Cripps-Day, 1925 ('16th century'). Its plain outward appearance, contrasting to its sophisticated combined functions, are characteristic of the 1st half of the 16th century, and of the mercenaries' predilection for tricky mechanisms, and for objects having as many 'secret' and hidden functions as possible, all combined in one single item. This love for mechanical playthings was characteristic of the Renaissance period, examples being the multiple combined functions of weapons - even if it made the result extremely impractical for everyday use! - and the tricky mechanisms of the metal frames of leather bags worn suspened from everybody's belt in the Gothic and Renaissance periods. Generally these bags are called 'purses' but they actually served many other purposes as well, in a period of time when garments did not have integral pockets yet.

The shape and sparse parallel line decoration on the iron holster hook of my mace, and of its counterpart in the Hermitage Museum, closely corresponds to such hooks on arquebuses, even on specimens with an overall length of almost 100 cm (!), and on pistols - all of them dating to ca. 1540.

Two samples of long guns featuring holster/saddle hooks are two fine and highly important Nuremberg wheellock arquebuses/saddle carbines of ca. 1540.
The first, with an overall length of 95 cm, was sold at Sotheby's London, from the William Goodwin Renwick collection, part 1, 17 July 1972, lot 15, and was then in the Clay P. Bedford collection for quite some time: Wallace B. Gusler/James D. Lavin: Decorated Firearms 1540-1870 From the Collection of Clay P. Bedford, 1977, no. 41, pp. 108-111.
The second, with a length of 77.5 cm, and from the former collection of the Markgrafen und Großherzöge von Baden, is preserved in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, N.Y., inv.no. 1991.150.
(I will post more on these two wonderful arquebuses soon).

All these criteria strongly back up to dating these maces to 'ca. 1540', which actually was the late era of the German Landsknechte (mercenaries). Among the attachments, I have added a contemporary illustration of ca. 1535 depicting exactly such a spiked mace breathing fire!, from an illuminated South German manuscript by Franz Helm: Buch von den probierten Künsten, ca. 1535, fol. 91v.


For further reading on Late Gothic clubs/maces combined with barrels, see Robert Forrer: "Die ältesten gotischen ein- und mehrläufigen Faustrohrstreitkolben", in: Zeitschrift für Historische Waffenkunde (ZWHK), Alte Folge, Bd. IV (1906-1908), pp. 55-61.



Best,
Michael




LIST of ATTACHMENTS, appearing in the order as stated:

- Skelton: The MEYRICK COLLECTION, 1830
- same, German edition, 1830
- Skelton's illustrations and descriptions in English and German of my mace
- Robert Curzon, 15th Baron Zouche of Haryngworth
- Cripps-Day: A Record of Armour Sales 1881-1924, London, 1925
- Cripps-Day: my mace, lot 110 in the Zouche sale at Sotheby, Wilkinson & Hodge, 16.7.1924
- Edward Hubbard Litchfield Collection, Parke-Bernet, N.Y., 5-6 December 1951, lot 79
- Herbert Ratner jr. Collection, U.S.A.
- Herb Ratner jr
- H. Gordon Frost: Blades and Barrels, 1972, p. 198-199
- Harold L. Peterson/Robert Elman: The Great Guns, 1971, ill.p. 142-143: THE HERBERT RATNER JR COLLECTION
- Christie's Sale of Fine Antique Arms and Armour, London, 20 November 1991, lot 138

- in my collection since 1991:
lots of photos of the mace in my showroom!

- a plain Landsknechts mace mounted with spikes, of usual shape, 15th-16th century, in my collection;
- a similar mace; detail from a painting of the Armageddon, by Hans Memling, dated 1467

- a contemporary illustration of a mace with spikes, breathing fire - very similar to my MEYRICK piece, from:
Franz Helm: Buch von den probierten Künsten, Southwest Germany, ca. 1535, fol. 91v


- the four-barreld mace, photo of ca. 1900, from the collection of the Fürst Reuß j.L., its present whereabouts unknown; from Moritz von Ehrenthal's essay "Die Waffensammlung des Fürsten Reuß j.L. zu Schloß Osterstein bei Gera", in: Zeitschrift für Historische Waffenkunde (ZHWK), Alte Folge, Bd. IV, 1906-1908, p. 261-266

- the only known exact counterpart to my MEYRICK mace, but the iron top lid and the two bands with iron spikes all missing: preserved in the HERMITAGE MUSEUM St. Petersburg, inv.no. 6315. Leonid Tarassuk: Antique European and American Firearms at The Hermitage Museum, 1971, pl. IV, no. 396.

- a line drawing of a similar mace, but unidentified: Hans Gerd Müller: Mehrläufige Feuerwaffen. Schwäbisch Hall, 1973, S.. 9, Abb. 1.1
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Old 3rd May 2014, 12:56 PM   #20
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More documents on my mace - for their identification please see LIST OF ATTACHMENTS at the bottom of post #19.
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Old 3rd May 2014, 01:22 PM   #21
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More.
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Old 3rd May 2014, 04:16 PM   #22
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Old 3rd May 2014, 04:34 PM   #23
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Old 3rd May 2014, 05:56 PM   #24
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Default A plain Landsknecht mace with spikes, 15th-17th century

Also in my collection; of usual construction.

A mace of this type is depicted in the painting The Armageddon, dated 1467, by Hans Memling (attachments).

m
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Old 3rd May 2014, 06:11 PM   #25
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The close-up of the mace in Memling's painting of 1467.

And contemporary illustrations two maces breathing fire - very similar to my MEYRICK piece, from Franz Helm's illuminated South German manuscript Buch von den probierten Künsten, ca. 1535, fol. 91v.

These are very similar to my MEYRICK MACE, with their barrel-like shapes and their iron bands, one of them set with spikes - and they are shown 'breathing' fire!

The date of that manuscript, ca. 1535, is adding another solid back-up to my dating of 'ca. 1540' assigned to the MEYRICK MACE.

m
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Old 3rd May 2014, 06:20 PM   #26
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Default The Four-barreled mace from the former collection of the Prince Reuß

As I stated in post #19, all we have on that mystery piece is this old photograph from about 1900 or the beginning of the 20th century.
It was then in the collection of the Fürst Reuß j.L., inv.no. 244.
Its whereabouts have been unknown since at least WW II.
Featuring no iron barrel lid and spikes, it seems to be a plainer version of my MEYRICK MACE, only fitted with two reinforcing bands; also, the touch holes obviously never had sliding covers.
The molded decoration visible on the two iron mounts is characteristic of the style of ca. 1520-1540; it is also found on stocks of contemporary arquebuses, both on barrels and the stocks, as well as on early Nuremberg round iron shields (rondaches) of ca. 1540-50. The latter are often misdated as 'late 16th century'.

I attached photos of two almost identical Nuremberg Landsknecht matchlock arquebuses, the barrels of both pieces struck with identical Nuremberg crossed arrows marks and the date 1539.
The characteristic molded ornamentation is present on both the rear end of the limewood buttstocks, and at the muzzles.
One of them, the stock heavily wormed and damaged, is preserved in the Germanisches Nationalmuseum Nürnberg, inv.no. W494, the other is in my collection.
Please see my thread:
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...+1539+harquebus


From Moritz von Ehrenthal's essay "Die Waffensammlung des Fürsten Reuß j.L. zu Schloß Osterstein bei Gera", in: Zeitschrift für Historische Waffenkunde (ZHWK), Alte Folge, Bd. IV, 1906-1908, p. 261-266.

m
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Old 3rd May 2014, 06:57 PM   #27
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Default The HERMITAGE MACE in St. Petersburg, ca. 1540

As I wrote in post #19, this is the only known exact counterpart worldwide to my MEYRICK MACE.
It retains its holster/saddle hook, the full-length rear tiller stock drilled out to receive the wooden ramrod, and the sliding wooden covers for the touch holes, but the iron top lid covering the muzzles of the four barrels and the two rows of iron spikes are missing from the HERMITAGE MACE.
It measures 75.5 cm overall, the barrels 25 cm long, the bore 11.2 mm.

Leonid Tarassuk: Antique European and American Firearms at The Hermitage Museum, 1971, pl. IV, no. 396.

For the date assigned by Tarassuk, please see my comments in post #19ff.
Tarassuk was exactly right, calling the hook a 'saddle hook'.


Best,
Michael
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Old 3rd May 2014, 07:09 PM   #28
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A line drawing of a similar mace, but unidentified. I doubt whether the piece ever existed. The few engraved staghorn inlays seem quite awkward on this otherwise plain piece.
Hans Gerd Müller: Mehrläufige Feuerwaffen. Schwäbisch Hall, 1973, S.. 9, Abb. 1.1.

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Old 24th May 2014, 12:57 PM   #29
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Old 20th June 2014, 11:13 AM   #30
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A few notes by the Royal Armouries, Leeds, on Samuel Meyrick and his son Llewllyn, who formed the world famous Meyrick Collection my four-bareled mace comes from:

http://www.royalarmouries.org/about-us/brief-museum-history/history-of-the-collection/early-scholars/samuel-rush-meyrick



Weapons from the Meyrick Collection are now held by the most important museums, with two sensational items forming part of The Michael Trömner Collection.


Samuel Rush Meyrick

Samuel Rush Meyrick was born 16 August 1783 to John and Hannah. His father had been an officer in the Honourable Artillery Company and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. Samuel inherited from his father his love of military ceremonial, archery and collecting antiquities including arms and armour. His father’s collecting interests were quite influential on Samuel’s career.





Samuel Rush Meyrick is considered to be the founding father of the systematic study of arms and armour.




Samuel was educated at Queens College at Oxford. He graduated with a BA in 1804, with a MA/Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL) in 1810 and finally with a Doctor in Civil Law (DCL) in 1811. Samuel practiced as an advocate in ecclesiastical and admiralty courts. This job was similar to that of a barrister or counsel, advocates also received income from their probate work and marriage licenses.

In 1803 Samuel eloped to Wales with Mary Parry, much to his parents disapproval. They considered Mary to be a social nobody and there was a bit of a scandal in Mary’s family history. Mary’s father had been found guilty of manslaughter, and was not wealthy. Samuel’s father had great hopes for Samuel’s future, including marriage into the aristocracy. Samuel was cut out of his father’s will, and he provided Samuel with a small allowance. His father’s estate was left to Samuel’s children when he died in 1805. Samuel and Mary would have only one son, Llewellyn.

Samuel was elected Fellow to the Society of Antiquities in 1810. During this same year he published History and Antiquities of the County of Cardigan. This book proved valuable for describing archaeological features, which have disappeared. The book contains a number of etchings from Samuel’s original drawings.

Samuel’s interest in armour had taken a backseat during his years of research in Wales. But was reawakened with his collaboration with Captain Charles Hamilton Smith. In 1815 Charles and Samuel produced Costume of the original inhabitants of the British Islands from the earliest periods to the 6th century; to which is added that of the Gothic Nations on the Western Coast of the Baltic, the Ancestors of the Anglo-Saxons and Anglo-Danes. Smith provided the illustrations and Samuel provided historical descriptions.

Samuel’s son Llewellyn had inherited the items from John Meyrick’s estate that Hannah did not want. Samuel also acquired many additional objects for him. In 1815, when Llewellyn was 11 a catalogue of his collection was written in an exercise book. The collection included items from the islands around the Pacific, spears, bows and arrows, shields and tattooing instruments, and a number of scimitars and daggers from the Orient. Other armour included three iron helmets, a barbed dagger, swords, various spurs and bits of 17th century armour and a suit of armour of the time of James I. The majority of these items provided the foundation for the Meyrick Collection.

In 1818 Samuel’s wife Mary died, and this was followed by some major acquisitions. Domenic Colnaghi was the son of Paul Colnaghi (publishers of Charles Hamilton Smith’s works on uniforms and costumes) and Samuel knew them both quite well. Domenic set off around Europe to purchase art and antiquities as bargain prices were to be had after Napoleon’s fall. Domenic came back loaded with arms and armour and he asked Samuel to make a catalogue of his collection. Following this the Colnaghis experienced financial difficulties and needed to raise money by selling off their armour collection and Samuel was only too willing to buy. His purchase of the Colnaghi collection now put the Meyrick collection into a different league.

Before Meyrick started his systematic study of the chronological development of arms and armour, there were few published works on the subject. 1824 saw the completion of his great work, the 3 volume A critical enquiry into antient armour as it existed in Europe, but particularly in England, from the Norman conquest to the reign of King Charles II, with a glossary of military terms of the middle ages. The book was illustrated in colour with Samuel’s paintings and was beautifully gilded. The book solidified his reputation as an authority in the study of arms and armour. With the publication of this book Samuel hoped to rectify some historical inaccuracies that found their way to the displays of armour in the Tower of London and other collections.

Samuel wrote to the Duke of Wellington in November 1821 concerning the state of the armour in the Tower of London, commenting on the lighting and the size of the rooms where the armour was displayed. He also proposed some changes to the Line of Kings. He also suggested a gothic style building when the new Horse Armoury was built against the White Tower, and the building work was completed in 1826. After his many suggestions and offers of gratuitous assistance, he was consulted by The Tower of London to arrange the national collection of arms and amour in 1826. He managed to revise the Line of Kings into chronological sequence, but the rearrangement had not gone as well as he had hoped. Samuel wanted to go on record that he had nothing to do with the Spanish Armoury or the Queen Elizabeth display. His objections to the display of the Spanish Armoury paid off as it was eventually reorganised and renamed the Asiatic Armoury.

Sir Walter Scott suggested that Samuel make drawings of all the best pieces in his collection. These were engraved by Joseph Skelton and Samuel wrote the descriptions, originally entitled Engraved Illustrations of antient Arms and Armour, from the collection of Llewellyn Meyrick Esq. LL.B. and F.S.A. This work was published in parts from 1826, but is usually dated 1830. The work was not written in a chronological scheme, but it was organised by different categories of arms and armour.

Samuel’s home, Goodrich Court was built between 1828 and 1831. The mansion was to house the Meyrick collection of arms and armour. He fell in love with Goodrich Castle in the early 1820’s, and he wanted to restore it as a medieval setting for his collection. After failing to buy Goodrich Castle he built Goodrich Court nearby. The site of Goodrich Court was desirable because it was within an overnight coach journey from London which allowed friends and students of arms and armour easy access to the collection. The armoury at Goodrich was designed to house the most spectacular part of the Meyrick Collection. It was an enormous room with natural lighting coming from great overhead skylights and a round window on the east wall.

In 1828 at King George IV’s request he rearranged the collection of armour at Windsor Castle. The rearrangement of the armour at Windsor was not meant to be chronological or instructive, but decorative. Although the work at Windsor was rewarding it was a distraction from Samuel’s interest in the construction of his mansion at Goodrich. Samuel was knighted in 1832 for his work at Windsor Castle and the Tower of London. Also in this year his mother, Hannah Meyrick died without a will. Her estate was passed on to her only son, Samuel. At long last there were more funds available to add to the famous Meyrick collection. One of these acquisitions was the dress of a mounted rajah brought from India.

In 1834 he served as high sheriff of Herfordshire. His year in office will be remembered by the resurrection of the custom of javelin men accompanying the Sheriff, who escorted the judges. Meyrick designed the costumes himself in the style of the time of Henry VIII. During this same year Francis Douce bequeathed him part of his museum, this mainly consisted of ivories and carvings in ivory. Meyrick furnished a catalogue of this collection to Gentleman’s Magazine in 1836.

In 1837 Samuel’s main concern was the health of his son, Llewellyn. His son had health problems since the early 1820’s. Llewellyn died in February 1837 at the early age of 32. Llewellyn left no will, which meant that Samuel inherited Llewellyn’s estate. Samuel in turn would leave his estate to a distant cousin, Augustus Meyrick.

In his later years Samuel’s interest returned to his ‘welshness’ and in January 1838 Samuel set off for a tour around South Wales. In 1839 Samuel was to be the editor of a collection of the genealogies of Welsh and Marches families made by Lewys Dwnn. Samuel hoped to make Dwnn’s works as interesting as possible by using historical footnotes and commentaries on the genealogies. His last important work was his edition of Heraldic Visitations of Wales and Part of the Marches between the years 1586 and 1613 under the authority of Clarencieux and Norroy by Lewys Dwnn was finally published in 1846.

Samuel Rush Meyrick died in April 1848. Augustus Meyrick inherited his estate and in 1869 he wanted to sell Goodrich Court and the collection was exhibited at the new South Kensington Museum (now the Victoria and Albert Museum). At the end of three years Augustus offered it to the government but the government declined. The best pieces were sold and the less important pieces - from the 19th century's point of view! - were given to the British Museum. Some buyers bequeathed their pieces to the British Museum. Many pieces were bought by Frederic Spitzer, a French dealer and in turn were purchased by Richard Wallace, the founder of the Wallace Collection. Many Meyrick items can be seen at Hertford House where there is a Meyrick research archive.


















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