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  • Place of origin:

    Venice (made)

  • Date:

    1400-1425 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Workshop of the Embriachi (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Bone, horn and intarsia; ivory

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This is triptych, made by the workshop of the Embriachi in Italy, probalby Venice, in about 1400-1425. This is one of the better examples of the most common type of Embriachi triptych - small and with a single tier - which survive in extremely large numbers, often of commonplace quality.

The Embriachi workshop was a north Italian family of entrepreneurs and carvers. The precise location of the workshop is unknown, except that it originated in Florence in around probably the 1370s.
Baldassare Embrichi, a member of a Florentine noble family, and the Florentine literary circles, during his career acted as both merchant and diplomat. He was therefore rather the financial means behind the bone-carving workshop that bears his name, rather than its leading artist. By 1395, political and financial circumstances had forced him to transfer to Venice. The suggested time range of activity for the workshop differs, from the tightest being 1390-1405, to a wider span of 1370s until at least 1416, but certainly no later than 1433. They employed local workers specialising in 'certosina' (inlay of stained woods, bone and horn), and the workshop produced items carved in bone (usually horse or ox) with wood and bone marquetry. As well as altarpieces, the workshop also made caskets as bridal gifts to hold jewels or documents, and these were often decorated with scenes from mythology.

Physical description

The plaques depict St Peter, St James the Greater, the Virgin and Child, a blessing bishop saint (St Nicholas?), and St Stephen, all standing below steeply tiered cityscapes. The ball feet of the triptych are made from ivory, secured with metal pins.

Place of Origin

Venice (made)


1400-1425 (made)


Workshop of the Embriachi (made)

Materials and Techniques

Bone, horn and intarsia; ivory


Height: 39.8 cm, Width: 27.7 cm open

Object history note

In the collection of Leonora Louisa Yorke-Smith, Sidmouth, Devon, until 1934, when it was bequeathed to the Museum.

Descriptive line

Triptych, bone, horn and intarsia, the Virgin and Child, by the workshop of the Embriachi, Italian (probably Venice), about 1400-1425

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

part II, pp. 780-781
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. 780-781, cat. no. 259


Bone; Horn; Ivory



Subjects depicted



Sculpture; Religion; Christianity


Sculpture Collection

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