This piece was deemed so desirable to the nation's collections, that the Victoria and Albert Museum appealed to the Art Fund for half of its purchase price - an appeal that was successful.

Formerly in the collection of Tsar Alexander III, this situla - or holy water bucket - was sold from the Hermitage as a result of financial hardship in the Soviet Union. It is one of only four such objects to survive. The situla was made around 920 to mark the visit of Otto II to Milan and contains twelve scenes from the Passion on two superimposed rows.


Spitzer, Aachen (1856); Dr Chaffers; F Attenborough (1857); Basilewsky (1874); Czar Alexander III, Hermitage (1885).

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