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Plaquette - An allegory

An allegory

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Italy (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1500 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Master I.O.F.F. (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Bronze, parcel gilt

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This plaquette depicting an allegorical scene is made by the Master IO.F.F., a plaquette maker working around 1500.
Plaquettes are small plaques or reliefs made of bronze, brass, lead or precious metals. They originated in the 1440ies with the desire to reproduce coins and hardstone engravings from ancient Greece and Rome. Some were made as collector's pieces, to be viewed and displayed in private, and others for practical purposes. They also inspired designs in other media, from architecture to bookbindings.
Whilst religious plaquettes had both public and private functions, and mounted religious plaquettes, known as paxes, were held up during mass for the kiss of peace, those with a secular subject matter were usually for private, personal use. They were used as pendants, desk ornaments, and applied to functional objects such as pounce-pots. They were also valued as fine miniature works of art. Plaquettes had a role in disseminating classical imagery and designs throughout Europe, in the same manner as the contemporary print. The subject matter was often a miniature composition, only rarely a single isolated figure.

Physical description

A woman seated on a dragon; behind her another woman holding a mirror hung on the cross-bar of a staff. Before her stand two man, the first naked, holding a palm branch and the second carrying a severed head on a crossed pole. To the left a statue of Diana with the bow on a pedestal before which crouches a lion.

Place of Origin

Italy (made)


ca. 1500 (made)


Master I.O.F.F. (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Bronze, parcel gilt


Diameter: 5.5 cm

Object history note

From the Salting bequest.

Descriptive line

Plaquette, bronze gilt, an allegorical scene, by the Master IO.F.F., Italy, ca. 1500

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

'Salting Bequest (A. 70 to A. 1029-1910) / Murray Bequest (A. 1030 to A. 1096-1910)'. In: List of Works of Art Acquired by the Victoria and Albert Museum (Department of Architecture and Sculpture). London: Printed under the Authority of his Majesty's Stationery Office, by Eyre and Spottiswoode, Limited, East Harding Street, EC, p. 74
Maclagan, Eric. Catalogue of Italian Plaquettes . London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1924, p. 53
Martini, Luciana. Piccoli bronzi e placchette del Museo Nazionale di Ravenna. Bologna: University Press, 1985, pp. 167-8. no. 46





Subjects depicted

Statue; Lion; Men; Palm branch; Woman


Sculpture; Plaques & Plaquettes; Myths & Legends


Sculpture Collection

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