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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

    Design for a fan-handle; decorated with a woman brushing her hair, flanked by two dogs and two eagles Pen and brown ink, with brown wash, over black chalk

  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1525-1563
  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 203 millimetres
    • Width: 117 millimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Content

        Inscribed on Mariette's mount: 'Benvenuto Cellini Cardinalitiam Clavam rogante Em. Laurent. Campeggio delineabat'
  • Curator's comments

    Despite Mariette, this is a design for a fan-handle and not a Cardinal's mace. Attributed to Lelio Orsi by Popham. Subsequently transferred to Salviati. See L Mortari, 'Francesco Salviati', Rome, 1992, No 285.

    Turner, Florentine Drawings of the Sixteenth Century, London, 1986
    Attributed to Cellini when in the collection of P.-J. Mariette where it was identified as a design for a Cardinal's mace. Popham gave 1948,0109.3 to the Parmese painter Lelio Orsi and correctly identified the object studied in the drawing as a fan-handle. The attribution on stylistic grounds to Salviati was made by J. A. Gere.
    Salviati was much employed as a designer of metal-work and other applied and decorative art objects: besides making drawings for armour and tapestries, he also designed furniture. This was an activity to which the innate decorative tendency of his work particularly suited him. Although there exist many drawings of this sort by Salviati, the works for which they are studies have rarely survived.

    Literature: A. E. Popham, Italian Drawings in the Department of Prints and Drawings in the British Museum: Artists working in Parma in the sixteenth century (2 vols.), London, 1967, no, 54 (as Lelio Orsi).


  • Bibliography

    • Turner 133 bibliographic details
    • Popham (Parma) 54 (as Orsi) bibliographic details
  • Location

    Italian Roy XVIc

  • Exhibition history

    1986, BM, Florentine Drawings 16thC, no. 133

  • Subjects

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Acquisition notes

    This item has an uncertain or incomplete provenance for the years 1933-45.

  • Department

    Prints & Drawings

  • Registration number


Design for a fan-handle; decorated with a woman brushing her hair, flanked by two dogs and two eagles
Pen and brown ink, with brown wash, over black chalk



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Object reference number: PDO8831

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