Detail of a flintlock hunting gun by Simpson of York, showing a highly decorated stock with silver inlay showing a hunting scene

Weapons as works of Art

Until the 15th century, weapons used for hunting were little different than those used in war. Indeed a major reason for members of the nobility to pursue large game, such as wild boar on horseback, was in order to become familiar with the threat of injury or death in the face of real danger and thus prepare them for war.

From the 15th century onwards, however, it became more common to decorate weapons used in hunting, to demonstrate the wealth and status of their owner. This developed further later, as hunting itself became a major social and courtly pursuit.



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Did you know?

Mass-produced steel

The first mass-production process for making steel was invented by Englishman Henry Bessemer. Rejected by the British his process was adopted by the German gunmaker Alfred Krupp, who became the most advanced armaments manufacturer in Europe.