European Roller (Coracias garrulus) thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Request to view at the Prints & Drawings Study Room, level H , Case PD, Shelf 231

European Roller (Coracias garrulus)

Drawing
early to mid 17th century (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. It depicts bird identified as a European Roller and was probably made by Vincenzo Leonardi, one of the major artists working for Cassiano. Despite Cassiano dal Pozzo’s intentions the encyclopaedia was never published.


object details
Category
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Watercolour and bodycolour wuth touches of gum over trances of black chalk on paper
Brief Description
Watercolour, Vincenzo Leonardi, A juvenile European Roller, Italian school, early to mid 17th century
Physical Description
A bird seen in profile with a green plumage, brown feathers on the back and black feathers on the tail; the top of its wings are purple-blue.
Dimensions
  • Height: 19.7cm
  • Width: 27.9cm
  • Full sheet dimensions height: 22.6cm
  • Full sheet dimensions width: 31.3cm
Dimensions taken from Victoria & Albert Museum Department of Prints and Drawings and Department of Paintings, Accessions 1962. London: HMSO, 1964.
Style
Production typeUnique
Marks and Inscriptions
Inscribed in brown ink on top 'Gazzera Marina Pica Marina'
Credit line
Purchased
Object history
From the collection of Cassiano dal Pozzo; purchased by the Museum from Mrs Eliette Bostrom in 1962

Historical context
The present drawing represents a bird identified as a European Roller (Coracias garrulous). This species occurs as two subspecies: the nominate breeds from Morocco, south-west and south-central Europe and Asia Minor east through north-west Iran to south-west Siberia (Russia); and semenowi, which breeds in Iraq and Iran (except north-west) east to Kashmir and north to Turkmenistan, south Kazakhstan and north-west China (west Sinkiang).



This drawing was originally part of Cassiano dal Pozzo’s Museum Chartaceum (Latin for ‘Paper Museum’; now Windsor Castle, Royal Lib., and London, British Museum).

Cassiano dal Pozzo (1588-1657) was a renowned scholar and patron who assembled a vast collection of paintings, medals and books but also drawings and in particular drawings of antiquities and natural history subjects.



The drawings were commissioned from major and minor artists, including Pietro da Cortona, Pietro Testa and Vincenzo Leonardi, as well as collected from other sources. The present drawing has been attributed to Vincenzo Leonardi (1590–c.1648), who worked for Cassiano from at least 1621 until 1646, providing mainly natural history subjects His style is characterised by the use of a sophisticated layering of watercolour and bodycolour.



Cassiano’s intention was to form a visual encyclopaedia of the ancient and natural worlds but his project was never published. A group of drawings were however reproduced in a number of books on natural history, and artists and scholars drew on its fund of images of the Classical world. (See other examples in the collection: E.2776-1962, E.426-2009 and E.1026-2011.)
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. It depicts bird identified as a European Roller and was probably made by Vincenzo Leonardi, one of the major artists working for Cassiano. Despite Cassiano dal Pozzo’s intentions the encyclopaedia was never published.
Associated Objects
Bibliographic References
  • Victoria & Albert Museum Department of Prints and Drawings and Department of Paintings, Accessions 1962. London: HMSO, 1964.
  • Henrietta McBurney, Ian Rolfe, Caterina Napoleone and Paula Findlen, Birds, Other Animals and Natural Curiosities, Part B.IV-V of The Paper Museum of Cassiano dal Pozzo: A Catalogue Raisonné, London, 2017, Cat. 17, pp.110-111, Illus
Collection
Accession Number
E.2777-1962

About this object record

Explore the Collections contains over a million catalogue records, and over half a million images. It is a working database that includes information compiled over the life of the museum. Some of our records may contain offensive and discriminatory language, or reflect outdated ideas, practice and analysis. We are committed to addressing these issues, and to review and update our records accordingly.

You can write to us to suggest improvements to the record.

Suggest Feedback

record createdJune 30, 2009
Record URL