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Coat of arms

Coat of arms

  • Place of origin:

    Italy (north, made)

  • Date:

    1508-1509 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Carved istrian stone

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Medieval & Renaissance, Room 50a, The Paul and Jill Ruddock Gallery, case WS

This is the coat of arms of the Alidosio family, a powerful and extensive family from North East Italy which can be traced back to the tenth century. The eagle on the shield faces left, a position known in heraldic terminology as contourné. These arms were acquired with four other pieces which all came from the Pallazo Alidosio in Cesena. The palace was built in 1508 by Obizzo Alidosio a favourite of Pope Julius II. Obizzo was used as an envoy by the Pope and was made Papal Governor of Cesena in 1508. Following his appointment he was granted permission to build a palace and began work immediately, he died a year later. The palace was at one time converted into a theatre, and stood until it was demolished sometime between 1838 and 1846.

Physical description

Coat of arms of the Alidosio of Imola. Istrian stone. The relief is carved with a shield charged with an eagle facing left (contourné). The shield is surmounted by a helm and a forward facing eagle, the wings of which form the sides of the work.

Place of Origin

Italy (north, made)


1508-1509 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Carved istrian stone


Height: 63 cm, Width: 42 cm, Depth: 8 cm, Weight: 22.5 kg

Object history note

Acquired by the Museum in 1861 with two columns a pediment and another coat of arms (7367, 7368, 7673 and 7674-1861) all thought to have originated from the Palazzo Alidosio at Cesena.

Historical context note

The Alidosio is an ancient surname in Emilia, dating from the 10th century in the annals of Imola. They originated from the Onesti family and the Counts of Cunio and became a powerful family with extensive branches. Their genealogy begins properly in the 13th century, with two main branches of the family: those invested as the bishops of Imola between 1335 and 1424 and those who became the Lords of Castelo del Rio.

The family's first recorded connection with Cesena is the marriage of Riccarda Alidosio to Andrea Malatesta signore di Cesena e Fossombrone.

Obizzo Alidosio (d.1509) was a Lord of Castelo del Rio. A doctor of law he became a favourite of Pope Julius II. He was sent as an envoy of peace to Forli in 1505 and on 9th of April 1508 he was made Papal Governor of Cesena by Julius. On 31st July 1508 Obizzo received a from the town of Cesena a grant of land on which to erect a palace. Bazzochi and Galbucci state that the architect of the palace was built by Sapiano Merlino. Obizzo Alidosio died in Cesena on 8th September, 1509 where upon the palazzo passed with the rest of his property to his son Cesare, who bequeathed it to a cousin Ciro. The palace was later converted into a theatre known as the Teatro Spada., and was demolished and replaced between 1838 and 1846. The family was extinct by 1645 according to Litta, who recorded the Alidosio in his Famiglie Celebri Italiane in 1852.

Descriptive line

Coat of arms of the Alidosio family of Imola, carved in relief from Istrian stone, Italy, first half of 16th century.

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

Pope-Hennessy, J. Italian Sculpture In The Victoria And Albert Museum (HMSO, 1964) Cat. 534 fig.528
Bazzochi and Galbucci Storia di Cesena (Bologna, 1915) p.145
J.A.G The Coat of Arms (London, Heraldry Society, 1960) vi pp.2-3
Memoire storiche dell anticha ed illustre famiglia Alidosio (Rome)
Inventory of Art Objects Acquired in the Year 1861 In: Inventory of the Objects in the Art Division of the Museum at South Kensington, Arranged According to the Dates of their Acquisition. Vol I. London: Printed by George E. Eyre and William Spottiswoode for H.M.S.O., 1868, p. 30
Pope-Hennessy, John. Catalogue of Italian Sculpture in the Victoria and Albert Museum. Volume II: Text. Sixteenth to Twentieth Century. London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1964, p. 504


Istrian stone



Subjects depicted

Shield; Eagles; Helmet


Sculpture; Architecture


Sculpture Collection

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