Bells and Mortars


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The V&A's collection of Italian bronzes is unique in its size, variety and scope. This fully illustrated volume is a complete catalogue of the collection's 75 small bells, mortars and related utensils, such as footed bowls and vases. The pieces are set into the broader context of their history and their domestic, religious or pharmaceutical uses, particularly in the Renaissance period. Descriptions of bronze as a material and the techniques of production are complemented by an extensive alloy analysis. In addition, the book includes a section describing the methodology of the technical research, an appendix revealing the results and a summary table of dated bells.

Due to the range of the V&A's collection, Bells and Mortars is able to provide substantial information on related pieces, and touches on the inter-relationship between sculptural bronze production and the decorative arts. It is the first volume in English devoted to this subject, and line drawing, X-ray photographs and contemporary engravings add to its blend of contextual and scientific data.

This elegantly designed volume will be invaluable to scholars, students and collectors alike, and will provide new insights for anyone with an interest in sculpture and the decorative arts, or pharmaceutical history.


Peta Motture




280mm x 210mm



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