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To celebrate Vikings Live, we have replaced our Roman alphabet with the runic alphabet used by the Vikings, the Scandinavian ‘Younger Futhark’. The ‘Younger Futhark’ has only 16 letters, so we have used some of the runic letters more than once or combined two runes for one Roman letter.

For an excellent introduction to runes, we recommend Martin Findell’s book published by British Museum Press.

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  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    A ship in full sail, heading to the right. c.1470-90 Engraving

  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1470-1490 (circa)
  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 264 millimetres
    • Width: 222 millimetres
  • Curator's comments

    This engraving, cut irregularly around the image, was catalogued by Hind among a group of miscellaneous north Italian prints from about 1460-1500. It seems a product of the early Venetian school, comparable in style and in the fine crosshatching to the engraving with the 'Allegory of Pope Paul II and the Emperor Frederick III' (Hind, E.III.6; M.J. Zucker, 'The Illustrated Bartsch, Commentary', vol. 24, part 3, 2000, p. 221-224, no. 008). A similar representation of a ship is found in one of the canvases in Carpaccio's St Ursula series of 1495 (from the Scuola di Sant'Orsola, now in the Accademia, Venice). As Zucker and Levenson suggested (respectively in 'The Illustrated Bartsch, Commentary', vol. 24, part 3, 2000, p. 228; and in exh. cat., National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., 'Early Italian Engravings from the National Gallery of Art', 1973, p. 160, no. 68) this and similar images of sailing ships were not intended as independent compositions but possibly as pattern for artists working in various media. Another impression of the print is in the National Gallery of Art (Washington).


  • Bibliography

    • TIB 24.2409.011 bibliographic details
    • Hind E.III.8 bibliographic details
    • Bartsch XIII.425.62 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Italian XVc Mounted Roy

  • Subjects

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Prints & Drawings

  • Registration number


A ship in full sail, heading to the r.  c.1470-90

A ship in full sail, heading to the r. c.1470-90 Engraving

Image description



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Object reference number: PPA44653

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