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Diomides and a group Sacrificing a Bull: M.117-1961

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Object information

Current Location: In storage


Diomides and a group Sacrificing a Bull


Maker: Master of the Mars and Venus Plaque
Sculptor: Belli, Valerio (Valerio Vicentino) (After)




Copper enamelled en grisaille and gilded. Diomides seated and holding the Palladium, a ball on a column, two women and an old man about to sacrifice a bull beside an altar.

Rectangular and slightly convex copper plaque enamelled en grisaille on a black ground, and gilded. The translucent counter-enamel is tinged with green.
Diomides seated holding the Palladium before a group sacrificing a bull. On the left, Diomedes, nude, sits in profile to right on a drapery which passes over his left arm which is held out in front of him, supporting a gold winged figure of the Palladium. Further to the right is a column with a ball on top, a clad female figure with a quiver, holding her arms up to the right, another female figure, and an old man facing to the left with a bull, partly concealed behind an altar. A gold line runs round the edge.
Narrow rectangular frame with on the back, a toothed inner edge which holds the plaque in position, and, at top centre, a ring and a circular loop for suspension. The front has a blue-black ground decorated on the front in gold with a repeating pattern of formal flowerheads and foliage.


History note: Otto Beit (1865-1930) before 1918; inherited by Sir Alfred Beit; sold Sotheby's, 7 October 1948, Catalogue of the celebrated collections of Hispano- Moresque, Italian majolica, bronzes and works of art, p. 4, second part of lot 24; Copper & Adams, London; L.C.G. Clarke, Leckhampton, Cambridge.

Legal notes

Louis.C.G. Clarke Bequest, 1960

Place(s) associated

  • Limoges ⪼ Haute Vienne ⪼ France

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1961-04-27) by Clarke, Louis Colville Gray


16th Century, Mid
Circa 1540 CE - 1560 CE


In Greek mythology Diomedes was a prominent hero in the Trojan War. With Odysseus he stole from Troy the Palladium; the sacred image of Pallas, on which the safety of the city of was believed to depend. Godsell (see Documentation) identified the two sources of the design. The group on the right is after a plaquette, of a Sacrifice of a Bull by Valerio Belli (Staatliche Museen, Berlin, A.N.1161, Inv. 1293), and the seated Diomedes is after an anonymous plaquette, after an Antique gem Ulysses standing before Diomedes with a Palladium (NG Washington A 315.38B).

School or Style


People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Decoration composed of enamel ( white, black) gold
Plaque composed of copper Height 4.3 cm Length 7 cm
Frame Height 5.4 cm Length 8.1 cm

Inscription or legends present

  • Text: 451
  • Location: On back
  • Method of creation: Painted in red
  • Type: Inscription

Inscription present: circular tag inscribed on one side and on the other

  • Text: Beit Coll.’, and, Christies/7oct.1948/lot/24.2’.
  • Location: Attached
  • Method of creation: Hand-written
  • Type: Label

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: M.117-1961
Primary reference Number: 156463
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Thursday 11 August 2016 Last processed: Thursday 3 August 2023

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

Citation for print

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2023) "Diomides and a group Sacrificing a Bull" Web page available at: Accessed: 2023-12-02 19:03:36

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