Please contact The Curator's Eye for more information.
|Circa 1640-50, decorated with scenes From Ovid’s Metamorphoses After Virgil Solis.|
With robust steel bow with twisted cord binding also retaining a wooden saddle for seating the bow, together with a small iron loop, and fitted with bowstring of twisted cords. The wooden tiller swelling towards the middle and concave for the cheek, the top and bottom veneered over their entire surfaces with white horn panels, the upper surface with carved thumb-rest, fitted with bone bolt-rest and engraved with a rollwerk cartouche enclosing the nut. The underside engraved at opposing ends with two female personifications of the Cardinal Virtues drawn from the original woodcuts in Ripa’s Iconologia, one that of Fortitude, the other probably that of Temperance in the form of a Venus Pudica alluding to Chastity.
The sides of the tiller also veneered in horn panels bordered with parquetry and the cheek-piece decorated with a matching parquetry panel. The side-panels engraved with differing scenes from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, each set in an elaborate woodland frieze inhabited by a wide assortment of birds, beasts and grotesques, one side centering on the figure of Orpheus charming the beasts with the music of his viola da braccio, and including monkeys holding a mirror and an apple as attributes of allegory.
The reverse side involving the figure of Orpheus together with another depicted as a deity in the manner of Christian divinity, with a griffin and lion in combat, an elephant, a camel and the Serpent of Eurydice. The tiller with apertures for inserting rods to set the mechanism and holes for fitting sights and a bolt-clip, bone nut moving on a cord pivot, iron lugs for fitting a crannequin, etched iron trigger-guard, and the trigger-plate struck with maker’s mark, a halberd (Neue Støckel p. 1452, marks 5406, 5051).
The scenes from Metamorphoses engraved on the tiller of this crossbow are closely inspired by an engraving of Orpheus charming the beasts by Virgil Solis of Nuremberg (1514-62), dated 1540 and preserved in the British Museum (1872,0810.174). Another print by Solis, a study of animals together with beasts of fantasy and mythology (d. 1555), is also closely related to the corresponding subjects on the crossbow. The engraver of the plaques on the tiller of the crossbow has drawn Orpheus bearded and naked, a relatively unusual rendition of this popular subject but one in keeping with the original by Solis. The engraver also draws Orpheus playing a Renaissance lyra or viola da braccio in place of the lyre of antiquity, and on the reverse side, the figure of the deity is drawn with his head encircled by a nimbus, the conventional attribute of Christian divinity in Renaissance art.
Cesare Ripa’s Iconologia was illustrated with woodcuts by Guiseppe Cesari and was first published in 1593, with subsequent editions appearing throughout the 17th century.
The maker’s mark on the trigger-plate is unidentified but is found on German firearms of the period.
|Location of Origin: Europe|
|Medium/Materials: steel, iron, wood|
|Dimensions: Length: 60.5 cm / 23.7 inches|
|Primary Classification: Antique guns, Antique Swords for Sale : Other|
Breiding, Dirk H., A Deadly Art, European Crossbows, 1250-1850, New York 2013
Heer, Eugène, Der Neue Støckel, vol. 2, Schwäbisch Hall 1979
|Provenance: The Viscounts Cowdray|
|Price:||Item has been sold.|
|Offered By:||Items may still be available - Please contact The Curator's Eye for more information|
121 Mount Vernon, Boston, MA 02108 USA
Item has been sold.
Please login before inquiring about this item, or adding it to your Favorites list. If you do not have a client login, please register.