Decorative acanthus scrollwork with bird of prey and snail  thumbnail 1
Not currently on display at the V&A

Decorative acanthus scrollwork with bird of prey and snail

Drawing
c.1540-1560 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This drawing was originally part of the Paper Museum, a collection of drawings and prints assembled by the Italian scholar Cassiano dal Pozzo (1588-1657) in order to form a visual encyclopaedia of the ancient and natural worlds. This drawing shows acanthus scrollwork with a bird of prey and snail. It originally belonged to an album of sculpture designs inspired by the decorations and frieze of Roman ancient buildings. Despite Cassiano dal Pozzo’s intentions the encyclopaedia was never published.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Pen, ink and wash over traces of black chalk
Brief Description
Drawing, Decorative acanthus scrollwork with bird of prey and snail from the 'Paper Museum' of Cassiano dal Pozzo, Italy, mid 16th-century
Physical Description
Drawing of decorative scroll work with bird of prey and snail
Dimensions
  • Sheet height: 36.2cm
  • Sheet width: 24.5cm
Style
Object history
Cassiano dal Pozzo; Carlo Antonio dal Pozzo; thence by descent to Cosimo Antonio dal Pozzo; Pope Clement XI; Cardinal Alessandro Albani; King George III; Richard Dalton; John MacGowan; Charles Townley, his sale, 10-11 May 1865 to Thorpe; William Stirling Maxwell; sale, London, Phillips, 12 December 1990, part of lot 273; Toronto, Gallery Kekko; sale, London, Sotheby's, 4 July 2007, lot 49; sale, London, Rosebery's 13 September 2011, lot 780.



Historical context
This drawing once belonged to a group of prints and drawings of Renaissance ornament which was a component of the Museo Cartaceo, or Paper Museum, assembled by the 17th-century Roman antiquarian and collector Cassiano dal Pozzo (1588-1657). This was a vast visual encyclopaedia of the ancient and natural worlds, consisting of thousands of drawings and prints. Originally attributed to the circle of Giulio Romano, the drawing can be dated on stylistic grounds from the mid 16th century.



This sheet was folio 77 of Cassiano's 'sculpture' album, and the first in a sequence of about fourteen sheets from an album bearing designs for acanthus scrollwork. Although all bear modern designs for acanthus scrollwork, they were closely inspired by similarly designed pilasters and friezes of certain ancient Roman buildings and by spolia from antiquities used in building early medieval churches.



This drawing's later provenance is exceptionally distinguished. It belonged to Pope Clement XI, Cardinal Albani and King George III; later still to the collector of antiquities Charles Townley (1737-1805), and to the art historian Sir William Stirling Maxwell (1818-1878). The contents of the album, including this drawing, were dispersed in 1990.

Summary
This drawing was originally part of the Paper Museum, a collection of drawings and prints assembled by the Italian scholar Cassiano dal Pozzo (1588-1657) in order to form a visual encyclopaedia of the ancient and natural worlds. This drawing shows acanthus scrollwork with a bird of prey and snail. It originally belonged to an album of sculpture designs inspired by the decorations and frieze of Roman ancient buildings. Despite Cassiano dal Pozzo’s intentions the encyclopaedia was never published.

Associated Objects
Bibliographic Reference
P. Davies and D. Hemsoll, Renaissance and Later Architecture and Ornament. Part A.X of The Paper Museum of Cassiano dal Pozzo: a Catalogue Raisonné, forthcoming 2013, cat. 188
Collection
Accession Number
E.1026-2011

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record createdSeptember 28, 2011
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