The summer of 1642 saw the beginning of the worst hostilities our Island has ever known. The next decade was marked by The English Civil War, which pitched brother against brother, friend against friend. By far the most regular and symbolic archaeological find of the period is the musket ball. This was used in massed ranks with devastating effect with the infamous muzzle loaded matchlock musket. A large and diverse range of calibers are found as each musket was supplied with its own unique mould and it would be safe to assume an equally diverse range of sources of the lead raw material was used in shot manufacture with Medieval church roofs a popular choice.
Dangerous to use and only accurate to around 50-70 yards they were deadly effective when operated in a close rank volley. To convert something which was made with such brutal intent into something more positive and stylish, gives Peter, designer for English Relics, a strong link with the past which he finds very humbling. He is constantly surprised by how such war like artefacts can assume an elegant and discrete nature with which even ‘The Beau Brummell’ would be comfortable. From a technical point of view Peter always tries to give the minimum of treatments to all of the artefacts that he works with. With the musket balls, he drills tiny holes to take the bronze fittings and in doing so the shot becomes very hot, a temperature it has not reached since it was flying in anger 365 years ago. Lead takes on a pleasant cream patina after all this time in the ground and Peter tries to retain this where possible, stabilising this “natures gilding” with 3-6 fine coats of his own special blend of lacquer.
It is likely that the original maker would, if albeit amazed, approve of the aesthetic results.
The backs are antique 1920’s/30’s chain backs.