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A 54-BORE GERMAN WHEEL-LOCK SPORTING RIFLE STOCKED BY JOHANN MICHAEL MAUCHER
A 54-BORE GERMAN WHEEL-LOCK SPORTING RIFLE STOCKED BY JOHANN MICHAEL MAUCHER

SCHWBISCH-GMND, CIRCA 1670

Details
A 54-BORE GERMAN WHEEL-LOCK SPORTING RIFLE STOCKED BY JOHANN MICHAEL MAUCHER
Schwbisch-Gmnd, circa 1670
With swamped octagonal sighted barrel rifled with eight grooves and decorated with three panels of engraved flowers and foliage, at the rear of the breech the stamped unicorn mark (similar to Neue Stckel 4942) of Schwbisch-Gmnd, flat lock engraved with foliage, a stag and a hind, integral pierced flat wheel-cover engraved with two confronted lions, engraved sliding pan-cover, pierced and engraved cock, the top jaw decorated with a monster-head, full stock (wormed, minor chips and cracks) carved in relief with a stag and a hind in a wooded landscape, a rabbit, a marine monster, demi-figures, flowers, fruit and foliage, with a mask supporting a basket of fruit on the underside in front of the trigger-guard, and inset with ivory plaques finely carved in relief with scenes of the chase within wooded landscapes, opposite the lock a bear beset by hounds, and on the cheek-piece Marcus Curtius leaping into the gulf, the patch-box cover (now glued in place) faced with ivory (damaged) carved in high relief with two figures, probably representing Cephalus and Procris, surmounted by a weeping Cupid, carved and pierced ivory rear ramrod-pipe (forward pipe replaced in wood), carved ivory fore-end cap, white horn butt-plate with iron button, iron trigger-guard, set trigger, and ivory-tipped ramrod, the cheek-piece inlaid with flowers and foliage in engraved mother-of-pearl inhabited by birds and originally connected by interlaced tendrils of silver (?) wire (now missing), behind the barrel tang a dark horn plaque stamped 'Iohan Michael. Mavcher. Bildhavwer. Vnnd. Bixen. Schifter. Zue. Schweb: Gemend.' (the iron parts with later blued finish)
30 in. (76.2 cm.) barrel
Provenance
Rothschild inv. no. LR351.
Literature
E. Petrasch, 'ber einige Jagdwaffen mit Elfenbeinschnitzerei im Badischen Landesmuseum. Marginalen zum Werk des Bchsenschfters Johann Michael Maucher', Zeitschrift fr Historische Waffen- und Kostmkunde, Munich/Berlin, 1960, pp. 11-26.
H. Schedelmann, Die Grossen Bchsenmacher, Brunswick, 1972, p. 157, pls. 251-251a.
A. Ehmer, Die Maucher, Schwbisch-Gmnd, 1992, pp. 140-42, pls. 76-77.
Exhibited
Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum, inv. no. A 2246, from 1967.

Lot Essay

Johann Michael Maucher (1645-1701) was one of the most famous South German carvers and gunstockers of the seventeenth Century. He was born into a family of wood, ivory and amber carvers in Schwbisch-Gmnd and worked there until 1688. He moved to Augsburg, then to Wrzburg in about 1693, where he remained until his death.

Maucher is known to have made objects of all kinds in ivory, wood and stone, including figures and several large ewers and basins. Like his firearms such objects were intended for the Kunstkammer, as objects for display, rather than for use. He is reported to have presented a richly decorated gun to the Emperor Leopold I in 1688. A still life of 1698-9 by the Dutch artist Dirk Valkenburg in the collections of the Princes of Liechtenstein at Vaduz includes a Maucher rifle which belonged to Prince Adam Andreas von Liechtenstein (1657-1712): the rifle remains to-day in the Princely collections (inv. no. 859). About thirty firearms by Maucher have survived, mostly rifles, but only some of them are signed. Most of them are now in public collections, the largest group being in the Bayerisches Nationalmuseum, Munich.

A signed rifle from the Armoury of the Princes zu Salm-Reifferscheidt-Dyck, Schlo Dyck, now in a public collection, was sold in these Rooms, 15 April 1992, lot 169 (137,500, the world auction record for a European antique firearm).

For further information on Maucher, see W. Klein, Johann Michael und Christoph Maucher, Schwbisch-Gmnd, 1920: 'Die Elfenbeinschnitzer-Familie Maucher von Scwb. Gmnd', Gmnder Heimatbltter, Schwbisch-Gmnd, no. 10, October 1933, pp. 137-167, and no. 12, December 1933, pp. 185-195; A. Ehmer, Die Maucher, Schwbisch-Gmnd, 1992.
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