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Family Tree of the Altani Family

  • Object:

    Engraving

  • Place of origin:

    Italy (engraved)

  • Date:

    1717 (printed)
    c.1920 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    engraving on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Presented to the V&A by Dr W L Hildburgh

  • Museum number:

    E.980A-1926

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F, case EDUC, shelf 9, box B

This print is taken from an engraved copper plate in the Word and Image Department and shows the family tree of the Altani family. Engraving is an intaglio process, a term derived from an Italian word meaning an incised design. In the intaglio process the printing surface is sunk beneath the areas that are to remain blank. The lines are cut into the metal using a burin, and can be identified as engraved by the way they swell and taper to a point at the tip. The ink is applied to the plate with a dabber or roller, and forced into the grooves and pits. The surface of the plate is then wiped clean. To take an impression a sheet of paper is laid on the inked plate, and together they are submitted to sufficient pressure to drive the paper into the grooves so that it picks up the ink. This print is missing a portion of the image in the top right hand and bottom right hand corner as does the original copperplate and shows many of the pits and scratches visible on the plate indicating that this print is from a late edition.

The print shows a family tree, with central trunk showing the descent of the family from eldest son to eldest son down the main stem of the tree and brothers and cousins in the branches. Only the male line is shown. At the base of the tree is a two-headed eagle bearing the family arms, and either side of it the family's attributes - on the right a tree and various objects symbolising devotion and learning such as the hats and staffs of bishops and cardinals and books, mathematical and musical instruments. A medallion showing the winged lion of St Mark, the symbol of Venice, is depicted. The cannon, flags and drums point to the family's prowess in war. A palm tree, representative of victory, is depicted on the far left. This is probably the engraved plate for a family tree produced for the 'Memoria sopra la famiglia de' Signori Altani, conti de Salvarolo', published by Enrico Altan the Younger, Count of Salvarolo, in 1717.

Physical description

Print from an engraved copper plate showing the family tree of the Altani family along with illustrations and crest. The image is of a family tree with a central trunk showing the descent of the family from the eldest son to eldest son. The names of the brothers and cousins are in the branches. At the base of the tree is a two-headed eagle bearing the family arms, and either side of it the family's attributes; on the left a cherry(?) tree and various objects relating to the family - the hats and staffs of bishops and cardinals, books, mathematical and astronomical instruments. Hanging from the staffs are a medallion showing the winged lion of St Mark, the symbol of Venice and another showing the Immaculate Conception. On the left of the plate are instruments of warfare. A palm tree is depicted on the far left of the plate

Place of Origin

Italy (engraved)

Date

1717 (printed)
c.1920 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

engraving on paper

Marks and inscriptions

ARBOR QVA SURGENS PANDIT SE ALTANA PROPAGO
Inscription in the scrollwork at the top of the print

DROIT
Inscription at the base of the tree on the print

Dimensions

Height: 30.5 cm, Width: 40.7 cm

Historical context note

The Altani were Counts of Salvarolo, Friuli, Treviso and Venice and resided in Portogruaro in the province of Venice. The plate from which this print was taken was produced for the 'Memoria sopra la familglia de 'Signori Altani, conti di Salvarolo'. published by Enrico Altani the Younger, Count of Salvarolo, in 1717.

Descriptive line

Engraving. Family Tree of the Altani Family, modern impression from an original copper plate made in 1717.

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

Victoria and Albert Museum, Department of Engraving, Illustration and Design and Department of Paintings, Accessions 1926, London: Board of Education, 1927.

Materials

Paper; Printing ink

Techniques

Engraving (printing process)

Subjects depicted

Mitres; Cannonballs; Alligator; Palm trees; Books; Measuring devices; Cardinal's hat; Staff, pastoral; Chaplet; Terrestrial globes; Lion, winged (symbol of Saint Mark); Scientific instruments; Cannon (artillery); Body armour; Crozier; Processional cross; Rosary

Categories

Arms & Armour; Hats & headwear; Images Online; Prints; Printmaking techniques

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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