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  • Date:

    1400-1420 (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Cypress(?), carved and engraved

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

Chest on raised, front and back feet, the sides cut with a cusped arch forming feet. The front panel is carved in shallow relief and incised depicting (centrally) a fountain of love, and groups representing the Adoration of the Magi (left) underneath a baldachin and the decapitation of a female figure (possibly St Catherine of Alexandria) in front of an enthroned king (right. Above these scenes are scrolling foliage and lions. Below the main front panel, separated by an open strip with split turned reels, is the full-width front foot, carved with a freize of hunters on horseback and on foot chasing animals. The figurative panels have inner borders with geometric punched patterns and outer borders with scribed grid lines.

Inside the lid is an incised representation of Christ on the cross, set in the tomb, which is flanked by two grieving women, and distant stylised trees.

Six-board, pegged construction which is visible where damage has occurred at one corner.


1400-1420 (made)

Materials and Techniques

Cypress(?), carved and engraved


Height: 58 cm closed, Width: 108 cm, Depth: 46.5 cm, Height: 101 cm lid open

Object history note

Bought for £12 'from Venice' (no further information on file)

Historical context note

Comparable chests
Chest 53' 3/4" x 20 x 19 3/4", Indianapolis Museum of Arts, C10093

Descriptive line

Venetian 1400-20, cypress

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Paul Schubring, Cassoni; truhen und truhenbilder der italienischen frührenaissance. ein beitrag zur profanmalerei im quattrocento (Leipzig: K.W. Hiersemann, 1915); cat. no. 745-6, plate CLIX

Labels and date

Venetian; about 1420
Cypress Wood

On the front, from left to right are the Adoration of the Magi, the Fountain of Life (symbolic of the Virgin) and the beheading of a female saint, possibly St Catherine of Alexandria, who was mystically married to the Christ Child. On the base is a hunting scene.
Flat, incised decoration with a cut away, punched background is a feature of Northern Italian and Alpine woodwork from about 1300, and is traditionally associated with the Adige. This elaborate Chest is more likely to have been made in Venice, a major centre of furniture making. [Pre-2006]


Furniture; Containers; Renaissance (Italian); Medieval and renaissance


Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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