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Gamespiece - Ambrosius Volland

Ambrosius Volland

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Germany (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1550 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Weiditz, Christoph (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Turned pearwood, painted black, and coloured gesso

  • Credit Line:

    Salting Bequest

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

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 Friedrich Hagenauer and others. Emminent personages such as Charles V or his brother Ferdinand are usually portrayed on this type of games-piece.

Physical description

Profile bust to right. Around the border is painted the inscription.

Place of Origin

Germany (made)


ca. 1550 (made)


Weiditz, Christoph (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Turned pearwood, painted black, and coloured gesso

Marks and inscriptions

Ambrosius Volland, doctor of law, imperial courtier to the Emperor
Latin; Obverse, around the rim of the mount; painting


Diameter: 54.4 mm

Object history note

Provenance: Spitzer Collection. Frédéric Spitzer (b. 1815; d. 1890) was born in Vienna, and settled in Paris in 1852. He amassed a large collection of works of art, which were housed in l'hotel de la rue Villejust, known as the Musée Spitzer. The collection was auctioned in Paris in 1893.
Provenance: Salting Bequest. George Salting (b. 1836; d. 1909), an Australian who settled in England, bequeathed a large collection of works decorative art to the Museum in 1909.

Descriptive line

Gamespiece, pearwood and gesso, Ambrosius Volland, after Christoph Weiditz, Germany, ca. 1550

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

Trusted, Marjorie. German Renaissance Medals. Victoria & Albert Museum, 1990. 128p., ill. ISBN 1851770135.
'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. 84


Pearwood; Gesso

Subjects depicted



Games; Portraits; Sculpture


Sculpture Collection

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