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Hans Fleischer (active 1606)

Superimposed charge wheel-lock rifle 1606

113.0 x 8.0 x 22.0 cm (length) | RCIN 61101

Queen's Guard Chamber, Windsor Castle

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  • George IV maintained an interest in firearms and shooting from his childhood onwards. In the early 1780s his correspondence with his brother Frederick, Duke of York, who was undergoing military training in Germany, contains many references to sporting triumphs and to newly bespoke weapons for the chase. Debarred from military service by his status as heir to the throne, the Prince of Wales began to assemble a collection of antique and 'curious' weapons in the Armoury at Carlton House. This included a number of guns with technical idiosyncrasies which he no doubt valued as much as their ornamental design. This gun was one of a small group of antique pieces that he purchased from one Colonel Benningson in 1807, including one other example by the same stock-maker, Hans Fleischer of Dresden.

    The double wheel-lock enabled two shots to be fired from a single loading. The first pull of the trigger fired the first charge, and the second (rear) lock was then set by pressing the button between the arms of the dog spring. The trigger could then be pulled again. The sides of the butt are finely inlaid with arabesques including, somewhat surprisingly, fish and winged horses, as well as terrestrial quarry including bears, elephants and foxes. The manuscript catalogue of the Carlton House collection notes that 'on the under part of the Stock is an engraving not very moral', but this is no longer present.

    The barrel incised 1606 and stamped twice with the maker's mark, a lion rampant facing right (Støckel, 5511); engraved on the stock with the mark HF (for Hans Fleischer)

    Catalogue entry from Royal Treasures, A Golden Jubilee Celebration, London 2002
    Provenance

    Colonel Benningson; from whom bought by George IV, 1807 (CHAC, no. 1871)

  • Measurements

    113.0 x 8.0 x 22.0 cm (length)

    106.0 cm (barrel length)

  • Category