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Step end

  • Object:

    Step end

  • Place of origin:

    Florence (made)

  • Date:

    1490-1501 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Grey sandstone

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

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

This and fourteen other remarkable step ends in the V&A collection come from one of the most celebrated palaces in Florence. Commissioned by the wealthy merchant Giuliano Gondi, they display a variety of foliage and animals. One can be linked to a story in the Indian Panchatantra, or Fables of Bidpai, and others to Aesop’s Fables. Educated observers would have identified moral and political messages in this decoration.

Physical description

Step-end, stone, carved with a hedgehog catching a mouse surrounded on two sides by a toothed moulding. At the end is a flaming device. From the Palazzo Gondi at Florence, begun in 1490 by Giuliano da Sangallo.

Place of Origin

Florence (made)


1490-1501 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Grey sandstone


Height: 17 cm, Width: 45.8 cm, Depth: 18.8 cm

Object history note

Purchased in Florence (Bardini). From the Palazzo Gondi.

Descriptive line

Step end, carved grey sandstone with a hedgehog catching a mouse.

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

List of Objects in the Art Division South Kensington Museum acquired during the Year 1891. Arranged according to the dates of acquisition, with appendix and indices. London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1892. pp. 8-9
Pope Hennessey, John. Catalogue of Italian Sculpture in the Victoria and Albert Museum. London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1964. pp.183


Grey sandstone (pietra serena)

Subjects depicted

Mouse; Hedgehog


Sculpture Collection

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