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  • Place of origin:

    Italy (probably Northern Italy, made)

  • Date:

    1400-1425 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown (sculptor)
    Unknown (workshop)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Bone plaques applied to a wooden carcase.

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This casket is made probably in North Italy in about 1425-1450, with nineteenth century restorations and the lid probably of about 1850-1900.
The subjects depicted here are uncertain and the appearance of busts with haloes on the lid is highly unusual - since caskets of this sort are usually secular in nature, which raises doubts of the authenticity of at least part of the casket. It seems likely that the lid of the casket is modern, but the main body of the casket, on the other hand, with its coarsely-executed bone plaques, appears to be authentic.

Physical description

This rectangular casket consists of bone plaques applied to a thick and heavy wooden carcase. The sides are decorated with a conituous frieze of plaques depicting pairs of standing figures in profile in procession. These are apparently mixed groups of men and women, although this is not always clear.
Round the base of the lid, guilloche ornament with rosettes and leaves; the centre section is decorated with busts, haloed, men and women, four on either side and one at each end; the top of the lid has chevron and lozenge patterns.

Place of Origin

Italy (probably Northern Italy, made)


1400-1425 (made)


Unknown (sculptor)
Unknown (workshop)

Materials and Techniques

Bone plaques applied to a wooden carcase.


Height: 17.9 cm, Width: 22.4 cm, Depth: 12.8 cm

Object history note

Acquired by Dr. W. L. Hildburgh, F. S. A. in London in 1929. Subsequently placed on loan to the Museum and given by Dr. W. L. Hildburgh in 1952.

Descriptive line

Casket, bone plaques applied to a wooden carcase (possibly walut), probably Northern Italy, body ca. 1425-1450, with nineteenth century restorations, lid probably about 1850-1900

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

part II, pp. 854-857
Williamson, Paul and Davies, Glyn, Medieval Ivory Carvings, 1200-1550, (in 2 parts), V&A Publishing, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 2014
Williamson, Paul and Davies, Glyn, Medieval Ivory Carvings, 1200-1550, (in 2 parts), V&A Publishing, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 2014, part II, pp. 854-857, cat. no. 281


Wood; Bone



Subjects depicted

Men; Women; Haloes; Busts; Figures


Containers; Sculpture


Sculpture Collection

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