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Casket

  • Place of origin:

    Italy (North, probably Florence , made)

  • Date:

    late nineteenth to early twentieth century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown (sculptor)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Bone and ebony plaques on a carcase of poplar, with an ivory finial.

  • Museum number:

    A.24-1952

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This hexagonal casket is made in North Italy, probably Florence, probably in the late nineteenth or early twentieth century.
On the lid are representations of the Planets and on the sides of the Signs of the Zodiac.
The facture of the casket and the style of the carving strongly suggest that this is a modern pastiche, with no known parallels. The iconography of the panels is also highly suspect: the gods and goddesses on the lid do not relate to the signs of the Zodiac below, and details betray them. Stylistically, the figurative panels are unconvincing as genuine medieval works, in particular the hunting putti of the lower borders. Florence is the most likely place of production.

Physical description

The sides are decorated with twelve panels with representations of the Signs of the Zodiac separated by twisted columns and pilasters with a vertical scroll pattern. Below, a frieze of animals and putti in a stylised landscape. On the lid are Roman gods and personifications, some of them representing the Planets: Diana, Mars, Mercury, Venus (with Cupid), Time and Jupiter. The knob is a turned ivory sphere and has a small enamel attached to the top with a bust of St. Peter.
The signs of the Zodiac are conceived as twelve female figures accompanied by an attribute.

Place of Origin

Italy (North, probably Florence , made)

Date

late nineteenth to early twentieth century (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown (sculptor)

Materials and Techniques

Bone and ebony plaques on a carcase of poplar, with an ivory finial.

Dimensions

Height: 22.6 cm, Diameter: 27.7 cm

Object history note

Acquired by Dr. W. L. Hildburgh in London in 1927; subesequently placed on loan to the Museum and given by Dr. W. L. Hildburgh, F. S. A. in 1952.

Descriptive line

Casket, bone and ebony plaques on a carcase of poplar with an ivory finial, signs of the Zodiac, Italy (probably Florence), probably late nineteenth or early twentieth century

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

part II, pp. 858-859
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. 858-859, cat. no. 282

Materials

Wood; Bone; Ebony; Ivory

Techniques

Marquetry

Subjects depicted

Columns; Frieze; Pilasters; Landscape; Zodiac symbols; Animals; Putti

Categories

Containers; Sculpture

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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