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The Continence of Scipio

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Southwark (made)
    Pickleherring (possibly, made)
    Montague Close (possibly, made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1620-1635 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Montague Close pottery (maker)
    Pickleherring Pottery (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Tin-glazed earthenware, painted

  • Credit Line:

    Presented by Art Fund

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Ceramics, Room 138, The Harry and Carol Djanogly Gallery, case C, shelf 1

Physical description

Dish of tin-glazed earthenware, painted. The central image is of a man seated on a throne flanked by two martial figures. To the right there is a bending female figure with arms crossed (in supplication?). Behind her is a man and another is moving away to the right. On a pavement in the foreground there is a seated dog (?), and a kneeling woman places an elaborate casket, the lid of which is nearby, before the feet of the seated man. The scene is painted in blue, yellow, dull green and manganese-purple and is contained within semi-circular panels in blue. The border has ogival panels in blue with Chinese Wanli-derived decoration of birds and insects on rocks. Around them are cupids, animals, birds, grotesques and floral ornaments in similar colours to those used in the central scene. No obvious stilt marks. Body colour: Reddish buff.
Glaze: White. A lead-glaze and dull grey streaks of tin-glaze over a pale slip covers the entire back. The foot-rim has been wiped virtually entirely clean of glaze.
Shape: Lipski B with straight rim and vertical foot pierced with two holes before firing. (Alphabetic shape codes as used in appendix to Archer. Delftware. 1997)

Place of Origin

Southwark (made)
Pickleherring (possibly, made)
Montague Close (possibly, made)


ca. 1620-1635 (made)


Montague Close pottery (maker)
Pickleherring Pottery (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Tin-glazed earthenware, painted


Height: 8.8 cm, Diameter: 49 cm

Object history note

Purchased from Mr. J. Bissley, Chiswick, by the National Art Collections Fund and given, 1914.
Exhibited: Burlington Fine Arts Club, No: 11, Pl: XXV.

Historical significance: The variety of unrelated types of decoration on this dish is unusual even for the relaxed standards of English pot-painters. The central scene is probably meant to show the Continence of Scipio and must derive from a Netherlandish print source.
The grotesque decoration on the rim is a particularly unusual feature for English Delftware. Grotesque ornament was much used on Italian majolica, Italian potters brought this kind of decoration to the Netherlands and it was disseminated through the prints of of artists such as Cornelis Bos (ca.1510-56) and Cornelius Floris (1514-75).

Descriptive line

Dish of tin-glazed earthenware, painted, possibly made at Montague Close or the Pickleherring pottery, Southwark, Montague Close or Pickleherring, ca.1620-1635.

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

Archer, Michael. Delftware: The Tin-Glazed Earthenware of the British Isles. A Catalogue of the Collection in the Victoria and Albert Museum. London: The Stationery Office, 1997. pp.99-100, Cat. No.A.50. ISBN 0 11 290499 8
Rackham and Read, p.48.
Garner and Archer, p.8, Pl:9.
Warren, p.17, Pl:III.
G. Bernard Rackham, 'The Virtues of English Pottery', E.C.C. Trans, Vol:2, No:7, 1939, p.106.
Honey, pp.38-9
Tait, Part II, p.28, Fig:36.

Production Note

Made at either the Montague Close or the Pickleherring pottery.
This dish is difficult to date because it is so unusual to find such a mixture of styles in one piece. However, the decorative panels with 'birds-on-rocks' and foliage, fruit and flowers suggest a date of ca.1620 - 1630, indiacting a Southwark attribution.


Tin-glazed earthenware


Painted; Glazed

Subjects depicted

Putti; Insects; Bird; Flowers (plants)


Delftware; Ceramics; Earthenware


Ceramics Collection

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