Carved walnut wood bellows, 1550-1600, (1881). Etching of a pair of bellows, made mid-late 16th century in Italy, possibly in Rome or Florence. Bellows were used to help an open fire burn more vigorously. By pumping with both hands, oxygen could be directed through the nozzle to feed the flames. This set of bellows is carved with masks and sirens, with the mouth of the central face serving as air-inlet. The grotesque ornament may derive from prints of Antique sculptures of Roman actors' masks. From "The South Kensington Museum", a book of engraved illustrations, with descriptions, of the works of art in the collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum in London (formerly known as the South Kensington Museum). [Sampson Low, Marston, Searle and Rivington, London, 1881]. Artist D Jones. (Photo by The Print Collector via Getty Images)
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January 28th, 2021
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