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Anna Kolb of Nuremberg

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Germany (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1550-1575 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:


  • Credit Line:

    Purchased with funds from the Captain H.B. Murray Bequest.

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Medieval & Renaissance, Room 62, The Foyle Foundation Gallery, case 18

The portrait is of a Nuremberg citizen, Anna Kolb. This boxwood version is related to a bronze medal which has been attributed to the anonymous Nuremberg medallist of 1525/6; the style also recalls that of the Augsburg medallist Friedrich Hagenauer (active 1525-1544).Traces of an inscription survive on the present medallion, but it is illegible. It is almost certainly a games piece, rather than a model for a medal.

Physical description

Boxwood games-piece, the obverse of which features a profile bust portrait of Anna Kolb, facing left. The sitter wears a caul on her hair and a chemise with with a high embroidered collar. A chain hangs around her neck. The reverse is plain.

Place of Origin

Germany (made)


ca. 1550-1575 (made)



Materials and Techniques



Diameter: 5.1 cm, Depth: 1 cm

Object history note

Bought from Alfred Spero of London in 1934, with funds from the Murray Bequest.
Captain Henry Boyles Murray (d. 1910) bequeathed works of art to the Museum in 1910, along with £50,000, from which there was an annual income of £2000. It was decided by the Museum to spend this on works of German art of the renaissance.

Historical significance: The present medal is based on the medal of the same subject, which has an inscription identifying it as Anna Kolb. The medal was attributed to the anonymous Nuremberg medallist of 1525/6 by Habich (Die Deutschen schaumunzendes XVI, Jahrhunderts, Munich 1929) the style is close to that of Friedrich Hagenauer.There are traces of an nscription , but it is illegible (these are usually identifying inscriptions).

Historical context note

This wooden medallion was almost certainly used as a games-piece. The depth of the turned wood border would protect the gesso portrait within during use. Games of skill such as chess and draughts with their chivalric and military associations had deep roots in patrician leisure, and Luxury boards and games-pieces became common possesions amongst the elite of Renaissance Europe. Probably produced in series, sets of such games- pieces comprised of perhaps thirty-two pieces, which have subsequently been split up and in part lost. It is likely that they were made in Augsburg in the mid-sixteenth century, copied from slightly earlier medals by Freidrich Hagenauer and others. Emminent personages such as Charles V or his brother Ferdinand are usually portrayed on this type of games-piece.

Descriptive line

Anna Kolb of Nuremberg, boxwood gamespiece. Probably Nuremberg; ca. 1550-1575

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

Trusted, Marjorie. German Renaissance Medals. Victoria & Albert Museum, 1990. 128p., ill. ISBN 1851770135.

Production Note

after Nuremberg 1525/6/7





Subjects depicted



Games; Portraits


Sculpture Collection

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