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Flint-lock pistol: M.1 & A & B-1996

Object information

Current Location: Gallery 31 (Armoury)


Barrel maker: Lazaro
Gunsmith: Acqua Fresca, Matteo (Probably)




Flint-lock pistol with dagger blade, Italian (Bargi, Emilia), dated 1690. Barrel maker's name: 'LAZARO'. Pistol: 'ACQVA FRESCA', probably Matteo (1651-1738).
Steel, the wood stock inlaid with silver. Barrel octagonal at the breech than polygonal for half an inch then round, chiselled at the breech and mid-length with acanthus foliage. The top flat of the breech section is inscribed with the barrel maker's name 'LAZARO', the breech strap being engraved '38'. The lock is engraved with foliage, masks and a terminal figure and with the name of the maker 'ACQVA FRESCA', the inner side of the lockplate being engraved with the date '1690'. The cock is secured to the tumbler by a bolt and nut, the head of the bolt chiselled with a cherub's head. The frizzen incorporates a safety device: on pressing a catch on the back of the steel it may be hinged back leaving a separate cover over the pan. The stock has steel mounts engraved with animals, birds and insects; the buttcap is chiselled with a grotesque mask, another mask forming the escutcheon plate. The stock is inlaid with scroll work in silver, there is no counterplate, the space being filled with silver foliage incorporating a terminal figure threatening a monster with a spear. Pressure on the trigger-guard releases a catch allowing the pistol to be separated into two halves, the butt then serving for the grip of a dagger blade of stiff square section which is concealed below the barrel in the fore-end. The pistol when acquired had a steel ramrod tipped with the figure of a monkey in silver. This was replaced by a wooden rod with plain steel tip (A & B respectively).


History note: Purchased at Puttick & Simpson, London, 1945. Details of sale not recorded; it was bought by the testator's wife on his behalf

Legal notes

Bequeathed by Arthur Norris Kennard in memory of his late wife, Mrs Helen Lee Washington Kennard

Measurements and weight

Length: 25.8 cm
Weight: 600 g

Place(s) associated

  • Bargi ⪼ Italy

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1996-01-22) by Kennard, Arthur Norris


17th Century, Late
Production date: AD 1690 : dated 1690


This very rare and unusual pistol was made to come apart revealing a dagger - if the pistol failed or there was no time to reload, then the dagger made a very effective backup. It was made by the renowned Italian gunmaker, Matteo Acqvafresca, using a barrel made by the famous Italian barrel makers, the Cominazzo family.

People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Ramrod B composed of wood (plant material) steel Length 14.4 cm
Stock composed of wood (plant material)
Ramrod A composed of silver steel Length 14.9 cm
Stock Inlay composed of silver
Pistol composed of steel
Stock Mounts composed of steel
Barrel Length 16.7 cm

Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: the pistol bears a circular steel medallion engraved with the number '129', its number in the Catalogue of the testator's collection

  • Text: 129
  • Location: On steel medallion
  • Method of creation: Engraved
  • Type: Label

Inscription present: barrel maker's name

  • Text: LAZARO
  • Location: On barrel
  • Method of creation: Inscribed
  • Type: Name

Inscription present: maker's name

  • Location: On lock
  • Method of creation: Inscribed
  • Type: Name

Inscription present: date

  • Text: 1690
  • Location: Inner side of lockplate
  • Method of creation: Engraved
  • Type: Date

References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: M.1 & A & B-1996
Primary reference Number: 19616
Old object number: 129
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Monday 18 December 2023 Last processed: Monday 18 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

Citation for print

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Flint-lock pistol" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-05-28 14:44:42

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