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Gun (petronel)

Gun (petronel)

  • Place of origin:

    France (possibly, made)

  • Date:

    1550-1599 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Walnut inlaid with antler, chiselled steel

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by Major Victor Alexander Farquharson

  • Museum number:

    M.485-1927

  • Gallery location:

    Medieval & Renaissance, Room 62, case 10

A petronel was a gun held with its curved butt-plate pressed against the chest to resist recoil. With its heavy stock and long barrel it required a gun-rest for accuracy. Firearms were not universally welcomed as hunting weapons as it was feared the traditional skills of close pursuit might be lost.

Match lock petronels of this type were produced in quantity in Western Europe and in the absence of internal evidence, it is difficult to attribute one to a particular region. The barrels very often bear the mark of the Thuringian town of Suhl. Petronels of this type with strongly hooked butts are shown in woodcuts by Jöst Amman of Nürnberg and his contemporaries. The tentative French attribution is based on the similarity of the inlay work to that of French wheel lock pistols of the period.

Physical description

Walnut stock, profusely inlaid with hunting scenes and with monkeys and, on the inner side of the curved butt, with Hercules overcoming the Nemean Lion. The ground is filled with foliate scrolls of engraved antler, some of the leaves stained green. The barrel, of octagonal section throughout, has a brass V backsight and blade foresight. At the breech is stamped a barrel-smith's mark, a star within a shaped shield. The match lock of conventional construction, with some traces of gilding on the plate.

Place of Origin

France (possibly, made)

Date

1550-1599 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Walnut inlaid with antler, chiselled steel

Marks and inscriptions

Stamped mark on the breech comprising a star within a shaped shield
A barrelsmith's mark (unidentified).

Dimensions

Height: 25.2 cm, Width: 118 cm, Depth: 7.8 cm, Weight: 5.14 kg

Object history note

Acquired by the Museum from the Major Victor Farquharson Bequest

Historical context note

A petronel was a gun held with its curved butt-plate pressed against the chest to resist recoil. With its heavy stock and long barrel it required a gun-rest for accuracy. Firearms were not universally welcomed as hunting weapons as it was feared the traditional skills of close pursuit might be lost.

Match lock petronels of this type were produced in quantity in Western Europre and in the absence of internal evidence, it is difficult to attribute one to a particular region. The barrels very often bear the mark of the Thuringian town of Suhl. Petronels of this type with strongly hooked butts are shown in woodcuts by Jöst Amman of Nürnberg and his contemporaries. The tentative French attribution is based on the similarity of the inlay work to that of French wheel lock pistols of the period.

Descriptive line

Matchlock rifle or petronel, with a walnut stock elaborately decorated with staghorn inlay, possibly French, 1550-1599

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Hayward, J. F., European Firearms. London : HMSO, 1969, cat. 4

Materials

Walnut; Antler; Steel

Techniques

Chiselled; Inlaid; Carving

Categories

Sport; Firearms; Tools & Equipment

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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