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  • Place of origin:

    Urbino (made)

  • Date:

    1533 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Avelli, Francesco Xanto (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Tin-glazed earthenware

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Ceramics, Room 137, The Curtain Foundation Gallery, case P1, shelf 1

In 16th century Italy wealthy aristocratic patrons could order large maiolica services decorated with paintings by talented artists. They were painted in the 'istoriato' style, with scenes from history. Such services were probably used on grand occasions. They were also intended for display. Today individual pieces are to be found in collections all over the world.

Physical description

Tin-glazed earthenware dish (maiolica)

Place of Origin

Urbino (made)


1533 (made)


Avelli, Francesco Xanto (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Tin-glazed earthenware

Marks and inscriptions

'M.D.XXXIII Hor uedi la magnanima Reina chuna treccia riuolta, e, laltra sparsa corse alla, Babilonica ruina. Nel. I. libro di Trogo Pompeio'; 'Fra: Xato. A Rouigo i urbino'
1533, Now behold the noble queen who ran with one tress bound up, the other loose, at the fall of Babylon. In the 1st book of Trogus Pompeius; Brother Xanto of Rovigo in Urbino


Diameter: 46.9 cm

Descriptive line

Tin-glazed earthenware dish depicting the Marriage of Ninus and Semiramis, and the arms of Gonzaga impaling Paleologo, painted by Francesco Xanto Avelli, Urbino, dated 1533

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

Hildyard, Robin. European Ceramics. London : V&A Publications, 1999. 144 p., ill. ISBN 185177260X
Mallet, J.V.G, Xanto: Pottery-painter, Poet, Man of the Italian Renaissance (London: The Wallace Collection, 2007), cat. 40
V&A Gonzaga Exhibition

Labels and date

Dated 1533
Francesco Xanto Avelli (1486/7?-1542?)

The scene on this dish derives from an engraved copy of a work by the much-admired Italian artist Raphael. It was executed by the painter and poet Francesco Avelli, whose signature appears on the back. His choice of subject matter shows the Greek general Alexander overcome with love for Roxana, daughter of King Oxyartes.

Italy, Urbino

Tin-glazed earthenware (maiolica); originally with a foot

With the arms of Margherita Paleologo of Monferrato, wife of Federigo Gonzaga, 1st Duke of Mantua

Museum no. 1748-1855 [2008]


Earthenware; Tin glaze


Glazing (coating)

Subjects depicted





Ceramics Collection

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