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  • Place of origin:

    Seville (Probably, made)

  • Date:

    1540-1550 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Ruiz, Juan, born 1485 - died 1550 (goldsmith)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silver, raised, embossed and chased.

  • Credit Line:

    Dr W.L. Hildburgh Bequest

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Medieval & Renaissance, Room 62, The Foyle Foundation Gallery, case 15

The cylindrical body, prominent, curved, spout and curving handle of this ewer are characteristic of sixteenth and seventeenth-century Spanish jugs, particularly those produced in Seville. However, the winged women, bearded heads enclosed in roundels, and monstrous figures that decorate the body and handle of this example are more characteristic of goldsmiths' work from Cuenca (central Spain). The combination of styles means the ewer has been attributed to Juan Ruiz el Vandalino, asixteenth-century goldsmith who worked in both Cuenca and Seville.
Contemporaries referred to this type of ewer as a 'jarro de pico' (literally 'pointed/spouted jug'). They were commonly used in a domestic setting, either as water jugs at table or, when paired with a basin, as ewers for handwashing.

Physical description

Cylindrical body with flanged lip engraved with foliage, the body with embossed band with monsters and roundels enclosing heads, curved spout and a handle of human and animal grotesque, stepped base chased with masks.

Place of Origin

Seville (Probably, made)


1540-1550 (made)


Ruiz, Juan, born 1485 - died 1550 (goldsmith)

Materials and Techniques

Silver, raised, embossed and chased.

Marks and inscriptions

Engraved W (later) on lower body at front



Diameter: 11.30 cm foot, Height: 26.05 cm, Width: 21.20 cm

Descriptive line

Ewer, silver, cylindrical body on a low, circular foot, embossed with monsters and roundels enclosing heads, the curved handle in the form of a vomiting monster. Unmarked.

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

Oman, Charles. The Golden Age of Hispanic Silver 1400-1665, London, HMSO, 1968.
Cruz Valdovinos, José Manuel. Cinco Siglos de Platería Sevillana. Seville, Comisaría de la Ciudad de Sevilla para 1992, 1992. [Catalogue of the exhibition held at the Real Monasterio de San Clemente, Seville, 7 April - 30 May 1992.] ISBN: 8479520647
Montalvo Martín, Francisco Javier. Los jarros de pico del Instituto de Valencia de Don Juan. Goya, vol. 276, May-June 2000, pp. 167-75.

Labels and date

Silver Gallery:
This ewer is an epitome of mannerist design. The embossed and cast ornament is exceptionally inventive. The bands around the foot and the body are composed of masks and medallions between grotesque harpies (monsters) and heads emerging from scrolls. The handle and spout combine different elements to create an apparently chaotic yet in fact cohesive programme: the multi-headed beast of the handle seems to vomit into the ewer while the spout is formed as a fierce monster's head surmounted by a small naked putto urinating over his head. [26/11/2002]
About 1530

Masks, harpies (birds with female heads) and monsters adorn the base and body of this ewer. A touch of humour is added by the handle in the form of a multi-headed monster that appears to vomit into the ewer when seen from the front or side.

Spain, Toledo or Cuenca
Given by W.L. Hildburgh FSA

Museum no. M.471-1956 [2009]

Production Note

Toledo or Cuenca, Castilla La Mancha




Raising; Embossing; Chasing


Food vessels & Tableware; Metalwork


Metalwork Collection

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