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Grotesque panel with the figure of Neptune

  • Object:

    Etching with engraving

  • Place of origin:

    Antwerp (published)

  • Date:

    1557 (published)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Floris, Cornelis II (printmaker)
    Cock, Hieronymus (publisher)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Etching and engraving

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Medieval & Renaissance, Room 62, case 15

Cornelis Floris was born in Antwerp but spent some time in Rome in the late 1530s when he would have been exposed to examples of Ancient Roman and Renaissance grotesque decoration. The grotesque style often featured fanciful creatures - part human, part plant. Floris took this idea and in some cases, such as this, pushed it further than it had ever gone before. This print also shows a range of motifs related to the sea and sea creatures which were such a feature of the 16th century style known as Mannerism.

Physical description

Print, etching with engraving

Place of Origin

Antwerp (published)


1557 (published)


Floris, Cornelis II (printmaker)
Cock, Hieronymus (publisher)

Materials and Techniques

Etching and engraving


Height: 30 cm size of plate, Width: 20.4 cm size of plate, Height: 30.1 cm size of sheet, Width: 20.7 cm size of sheet

Object history note

Part of a group of objects previously in possession of Mr. R.S.Smith [South Kensington Museum employee?].

Descriptive line

Design for grotesque ornament by Cornelius Floris; etching and engraving; 1557

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

Guilmard, D. Les maƮtres ornemanistes, Paris 1880-1 p.477 no. 6
Berlin Staatliche Museen: Katalog der Ornamentstich-sammlung, Berlin and Leipzig, 1936-39 no.211.2

Labels and date


Prints were one of the main ways by which styles spread across Europe. The masks, grotesques and strapwork seen in these examples were common features of Mannerism.

Antwerp, where three of these prints come from, was a major centre of printmaking and distribution, with Cornelis Floris one of its most prolific printmakers. He specialised in devising bizarre scenes incorporating fantastic monsters and the natural world.

Grotesque scene with Neptune and sea monsters

Cornelis Floris (1514-75)

Southern Netherlands
(Belgium), Antwerp

Etching and engraving [on paper]

Museum no. 17101 []


Printing ink


Etching; Engraving

Subjects depicted

Snails (animal); Crab (crustacean); Fish; Cornucopia; Strapwork; Trophies (motif); Sphinxes; Shell (motif); Tridents; Bird; Heron; Scallop shell




Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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