Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.



  • Place of origin:

    Urbino (probably, made)
    Castel Durante (possibly, made)

  • Date:

    1541-51 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Camillo Gatti (made)
    Durantino, Guido (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Tin-glazed earthenware painted with colours

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Ceramics, Room 145, case 28, shelf 2

According to Giorgio Vasari, Battista Franco (an Italian mannerist painter) was an excellent draughtsman and the Duke of Urbino Guidobaldo II della Rovere commissioned to him a large number of drawings to be executed in maiolica at Castel Durante; services where made for the Emperor Charles V and for Cardinal Alessandro Farnese.

No service designed by Franco survives intact, but there is a large number of surviving drawings by him all representing scenes from the history of Troy, probably made for a large maiolica service. This dish probably belongs to this set; the original design is known and copies of it were probably made by potters and used as tracings.

Vasari attributes the services to potters from Castel Durante but it is more likely that they were made in Urbino, in the workshop of Guido Durantino, who indeed was from Castel Durante. Guido, who took the name Fontana around 1540, was the head of one of the most important maiolica workshop of the city of Urbino, specialised in producing 'istoriato' or narrative ware.

Physical description

Plate, concave centre, large flat rim; tin-glazed front and back.
Painted in blue, green, yellow, orange, brown, black, manganese, purple and white.
The centre depicts King Priam receiving Helen of Troy, who leans forward to be embraced by him, surrounded by a group of ladies, two horse-men and two foot-soldiers. Behind them is an arch-like structure with salomonic columns. The border contains satyrs, putti, eagles and trophies, divided down the centre and repeating in mirror image. The border is bounded by two bands of beads and lozenge decoration painted in brown, white and yellow.
On the back concentric circles in yellow and, in blue, an inscription in capital letters:
IL RE TROIAN RICEVE HELLENA/BELLA (the Trojan King receives beautiful Helen)

Place of Origin

Urbino (probably, made)
Castel Durante (possibly, made)


1541-51 (made)


Camillo Gatti (made)
Durantino, Guido (made)

Materials and Techniques

Tin-glazed earthenware painted with colours

Marks and inscriptions

the Trojan King receives beautiful Helen


Diameter: 41 cm

Descriptive line

Dish with King Priam welcoming Helen to Troy; tin-glazed earthenware, made in Urbino or Castel Durante, 1541-51

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

Clifford, Timothy, Mallet, J.V.G. Battista Franco as a Designer for Maiolica, Burlington Magazine, June 1976
Trusted, Marjorie (ed.) The Making of Sculpture. The Materials and Techniques of European Sculpture, London, 2007, p. 88, pl. 147.

Production Note

John Mallet attributed the dish to Camillo Gatti working in the workshop of Guido Durantino in Urbino

Perhaps Fontana Workshop?


Ceramics Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.