8 July 1999
A 25-BORE AUSTRIAN WHEEL-LOCK SPORTING RIFLE STOCKED BY THE SO-CALLED 'MEISTER DER TIERKOPFRANKE'
With swamped octagonal sighted barrel cut with eight grooves and damascened in silver on a hatched ground throughout its length on the three upper planes with running foliated scrollwork terminating in dots, and decorated at the muzzle and breech with a band of silver-encrusted rosettes and pellets on a punched and gilt ground, the dated breech stamped with the maker's initials 'GF', flat silver-damascened lock en suite with the barrel, flat brass wheel-cover pierced and engraved with scrolls terminating in two confronted monster-heads, chiselled and gilt cock, parcel-gilt sliding pan-cover with pierced thumbpiece, and later cock-spring, full stock with fluted fore-end, the butt decorated with panels carved in relief with animals, bird- and animal-heads, and tendrils, all on a punched ground, and with two circular medallions carved with floral decoration en suite, the cheek-piece inlaid with a running stag, a hound and hare in a woodland, all in engraved white staghorn on a background of pellets and scrolls, carved patch-box cover (perhaps replaced), iron trigger-guard, set trigger (incomplete), iron butt-plate (later), wooden ramrod-pipes, wooden fore-end cap inlaid with white horn pellets and scrolls, and wooden ramrod with horn-inlaid tip (iron parts with later colouring)
32 in. (81.8 cm.) barrel
(Probably) from the Gewehrkammer (gun cabinet) of Emperor Ferdinand III (1637-57).
Rothschild inv. no. AR3364.
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H. Schedelmann, Die Grossen Bchsenmacher, Brunswick, 1972, p. 98, pl. 168.
Idem, 'The Master of the Animal-Head Scroll', Arms and Armor Annual, vol. 1, Northfield, Illinois, 1973, no. 5.
The work of the hitherto unidentified stockmaker 'The Master of the Animal-Head Scroll' (or more correctly 'Tendril') includes a number of stocks connected with the Austrian imperial court, of which at least three are believed to have belonged to the Emperor Ferdinand III himself, and some of the stocks have locks and barrels by Vienna and Salzburg makers. It seems likely that he worked in one of these two centres, the former being the more probable. Over fifty wheel-lock guns, rifles and pistols, and one flintlock rifle with his distinctive carving have been identified, some bearing dates within the period 1624-53.
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