Description This ornate bronze hand bell could be used to summon servants. The making of bells--mall ones, as well as large ones for bell towers--was a specialized craft. To produce a bell with a pleasing sound required an alloy with more tin and less copper than that used for statuary; this produced a metal that was more brittle and therefore more difficult to cast. Hand bells were often ornamented with motifs characteristic of a specific workshop. They could be "personalized" by adding the family's coat of arms to a prepared empty shield. Here, the two shields bear a millwheel, the emblem of the noble Venetian family Molini (meaning "miller").
Provenance Henry Walters, Baltimore [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters
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