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Step end

  • Object:

    Step end

  • Place of origin:

    Italy (made)

  • Date:

    late 15th century (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 two otters with a fish, 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

Italy (made)


late 15th century (made)



Materials and Techniques

Grey sandstone


Height: 17.4 cm, Width: 49.3 cm, Depth: 18.6 cm

Object history note

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

Descriptive line

Step end, grey sandstone, otters and fish, from Palazzo Gondi, Florence

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. 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

Subjects depicted

Otter; Fish


Sculpture Collection

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