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Bell - Hand bell with the arms of the Lippomani

Hand bell with the arms of the Lippomani

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Italy (probably Veneto, made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1530 - ca. 1570 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Bell metal

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This is a hand bell made in Italy in about 1530-1570. The inscription in this bell indicates that this was used for calling servants, belonging to the Lippomani family of Venice, whose arms were cast in with the bell: '[with] my ring I call your servants, o Lippomano'. The shape of the bell is rare and no other identical example has been found. The Lippomani family were a Venetian patrician family, who had several prominent members during the late 15th and, notably, the sixteenth century.

Physical description

Hand bell decorated with fine foliate scrolls framed by rows of beads on the flattend crown. On the return, egg and dart with dentils below. On the neck, is a raised legend. A rope band separates the waist, which is decorated with a cartouche bearing a coat of arms with three grotesque masks, from which emanate ropes and swags of tied bundles of fruit; varying bunches of grape, foliage and fruit are suspended from the beards; flanking the shields are two profile heads of classical figures, one an emperor facing to the left, the other Hercules wearing a lion skin facing to the right. On the sound bow, a row of downward-facing, overlapping acanthus.

Place of Origin

Italy (probably Veneto, made)


ca. 1530 - ca. 1570 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Bell metal

Marks and inscriptions

'[with] my ring I call your servants, o Lippomano'


Height: 9.8 cm, Diameter: 9.4 cm

Object history note

Bought from the Soulages Collection for £3 in 1865.

Descriptive line

Hand bell, bell-metal, with the arms of the Lippomani, North Italian (probably Veneto), 1530-1570

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

Inventory of Art Objects acquired in the Year 1865. Inventory of the Objects in the Art Division of the Museum at South Kensington, arranged According to the Dates of their Acquisition. Vol. 1. London : Printed by George E. Eyre and William Spottiswoode for H.M.S.O., 1868, p. 4
Robinson, John Charles. Catalogue of the Soulages Collection. London: Chapman & Hall, 1856, p. 118
Moutture, Peta. Bells & Mortars and Related Utensils: Catalogue of Italian Bronzes in the Victoria and Albert Museum. London: V&A Publications, 2001, pp. 144-145
Ellacombe, Henry Thomas. Bells of the Church: a Supplement to the Church Bells of Devon. Exeter: William Pollard, 1872, p. 312
Fortnum, C. Drury. E. A Descriptive Catalogue of the Bronzes of European Origin in the South Kensington Museum. London: George E. Eyre and William Spottiswoode, 1876, p.76


Bell metal

Subjects depicted

Arabesques; Acanthus


Sculpture; Household objects


Sculpture Collection

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