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Bowl, fragment

Bowl, fragment

  • Place of origin:

    Bologna (probably, made)

  • Date:

    1510 to 1520 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Red earthenware with a white slip and incised decoration

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Dr. W. L. Hildburgh, FSA

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Ceramics, Room 143, The Timothy Sainsbury Gallery, case 14, shelf 2

This fragment of a small dish or bowl is known as a 'kiln waster'. The dish was made, covered with slip, the decoration incised through the slip and then fired in the kiln. The dish was damaged during this first biscuit firing and discarded. This fragment was from the centre of the dish. A fine point was used to incise the lines on her wimple. A thicker, more blunt, tool was used for the outline of the figure.

Other, complete dishes and bowls with similar decoration have been found in nearby Ferrara. It is possible that these were commissioned by a convent.

Physical description

Fragment of a small bowl of red earthenware covered with a white slip. An image of a woman wearing a wimple with a scroll or a cup behind her and possibly part of an inscription beginning with 'RE' has been incised into the red clay through the white slip. However, this could be simply decoration.

Place of Origin

Bologna (probably, made)


1510 to 1520 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Red earthenware with a white slip and incised decoration


Width: 11.4 cm, Height: 3.1 cm, Length: 10.0 cm

Object history note

Part of a large gift of Italian ceramics from DR. W.L. Hildburgh.

Historical context note

The image in the centre of this bowl is of a woman wearing a wimple and a long headdress. The wimple is covering her neck and chin. Behind her is what appears to be the remains of a scroll with an inscription starting with 'RE' although this could be decoration only.
There is a similar image of a woman in profile wearing a wimple on a small plate apparently found in Venice and tentatively attributed to Venetian workmanship of the first half of the 16th century (see Ref: Ericani).

In the same publication (p.106), there is an image of a bowl. In the centre there is a chalice with the host suspended slightly above the mouth of the chalice. There is a possibility that the device behind and to the left of the woman in our fragment is a similar object.

Descriptive line

Fragment of a bowl of red earthenware, covered with a white slip and with decoration incised through the slip. Depicting the head of a wimpled female, probably a nun. The whole is unglazed and is probably a waster. Italian (probably Bologna), 1510 to 1520.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Giuliana Ericani & Paola Marini, La ceramics nel Veneto. La Terrafirma dal XIII al XVIII secolo, Banca Popolare di Verona, 1990
Romolo Magnani & Michelangelo Munarrini, La ceramica graffita del Rinascimento tra Po, Adige e Oglio, 1998

Labels and date

5-14 Biscuit-fired fragments (kiln wasters), with modern tools
Italy, (5-7) probably Bologna, 1510-20; (8-9) Legnago (Veneto), 1480-1500

The lighter lines on no. 5 were executed with a fine stylus similar to no. 10, while the bold lines on no. 6 used a thicker stylus like no. 11. The potter decorated no. 7 using tools with rounded and angled wire loops like nos. 12-13. The dotted backgrounds on nos. 8-9 were created with a rouletting wheel similar to no. 14.

Museum nos. C.65, 77, 69-1920, given by Dr W.L. Hildburgh; C.12B&C-1952, given by M. Fioroni; tools purchased for this display [(TAB) 2009]


Earthenware (red); Slip (coating), white



Subjects depicted

Nun; Woman; Wimple




Ceramics Collection

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