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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 two birds, one standing on a serpent, amid scroll foliage, and surrounded on two sides by a toothed moulding.

Place of Origin

Florence (made)


1490-1501 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Grey sandstone


Height: 17.1 cm, Width: 46 cm, Depth: 18.7 cm

Object history note

From the Palazzo Gondi, in Florence. Purchase in Florence (Bardini)

Descriptive line

Step end, eagle, serpent, bird, 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. 10
Pope Hennessey, John. Catalogue of Italian Sculpture in the Victoria and Albert Museum. London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1964. pp.185


Grey sandstone

Subjects depicted

Leaf (plant material); Serpent; Eagle; Bird


Sculpture Collection

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