Dish thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Ceramics, Room 137, The Curtain Foundation Gallery

Dish

about 1573-74 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Dishes on a low foot, with moulded ribs and a wavy edge, were intended for serving fruits, nuts and vegetables. The type is sometimes described as fruttiere or 'da frutti' [for fruit] in contemporary sources. Some 'trompe-l'oeil' [trick the eye] versions are known, where the fruit and vegetables are made of tin-glazed earthenware and form an integral part of the dish. Moulded as lifelike as possible these were intended to trick the eye of the beholder into thinking the dish contained real edible treats.
The distinctive decoration of this dish, composed of small loosely connected motifs including human figures, animals and fantasy figures is called 'Grotesque'. It was first introduced by the painter Raphael in his decoration of the Vatican Palace in Rome (1518-19). It was derived from ancient Roman decorations from the Golden House of the emperor Nero (ruled 54-68 AD) on the Esquiline hill in Rome, which came to light during this period.
During the second half of the 16th century, the potters of Urbino specialised in a refined style of decoration incorporating elaborate grotesques on a white ground.
The central male figure is probably derived from a print illustrating Orpheus or Apollo holding a lyre, but in this version his instrument is replaced by a jug.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Tin-glazed earthenware, moulded and painted in colours
Brief Description
Moulded maiolica dish on low foot, with painted grotesque decorations and central medallion
Physical Description
Moulded maiolica dish on low foot, with painted grotesque decorations and central medallion depicting a seated youth with a ewer. The back is decorated with concentric yellow circles.
Dimensions
  • Diameter: 27cm
Style
Object history
Soulages collection
Historical context
Dishes on a low foot, with moulded ribs and a wavy edge, were intended for serving fruits, nuts and vegetables. The type is sometimes described as fruttiere or 'da frutti' [for fruit] in contemporary sources. Some 'trompe-l'oeil' [trick the eye] versions are known, where the fruit and vegetables are made of tin-glazed earthenware and form an integral part of the dish. Moulded as lifelike as possible these were intended to trick the eye of the beholder into thinking the dish contained real edible treats.

The typical decoration of this dish, composed of small loosely connected motifs including human figures, animals and fantasy figures is called 'Grotesque'. It was first introduced by the painter Raphael in his decoration of the Vatican Palace in Rome (1518-19). It was derived from ancient Roman decorations from the Golden House of the emperor Nero (ruled 54-68 AD) on the Esquiline hill in Rome, which came to light during this period.

During the second half of the 16th century, the potters of Urbino specialised in a refined style of decoration incorporating elaborate grotesques on a white ground. Their main pictorial source of inspiration were the etchings by Jacques Androuet I Ducerceau, which were published in 1550, and again in 1562 under the name 'Petites Grotesques'.
Summary
Dishes on a low foot, with moulded ribs and a wavy edge, were intended for serving fruits, nuts and vegetables. The type is sometimes described as fruttiere or 'da frutti' [for fruit] in contemporary sources. Some 'trompe-l'oeil' [trick the eye] versions are known, where the fruit and vegetables are made of tin-glazed earthenware and form an integral part of the dish. Moulded as lifelike as possible these were intended to trick the eye of the beholder into thinking the dish contained real edible treats.

The distinctive decoration of this dish, composed of small loosely connected motifs including human figures, animals and fantasy figures is called 'Grotesque'. It was first introduced by the painter Raphael in his decoration of the Vatican Palace in Rome (1518-19). It was derived from ancient Roman decorations from the Golden House of the emperor Nero (ruled 54-68 AD) on the Esquiline hill in Rome, which came to light during this period.

During the second half of the 16th century, the potters of Urbino specialised in a refined style of decoration incorporating elaborate grotesques on a white ground.

The central male figure is probably derived from a print illustrating Orpheus or Apollo holding a lyre, but in this version his instrument is replaced by a jug.
Bibliographic References
  • Spallanzani M., 'Maioliche di Urbino nelle collezzione di Cosimo I, del Cardinale Ferdinando e di Francesco I de'Medici', in: Faenza LXV (1979), no 4, pp. 111-126, tav. XXXIa
  • Poke, C., 'Jacques Androuet I Ducerceau's 'Petites Grotesques' as a source for Urbino maiolica decoration', The Burlington Magazine, June 2001, p. 335, note 18
  • A.V.B. Norman, Wallace Collection: Catalogue of Ceramics I: Pottery, Maiolica, Faience, Stoneware, London 1976, cat C107, pp. 218-223
Other Number
877 - Rackham (1977)
Collection
Accession Number
8898-1863

About this object record

Explore the Collections contains over a million catalogue records, and over half a million images. It is a working database that includes information compiled over the life of the museum. Some of our records may contain offensive and discriminatory language, or reflect outdated ideas, practice and analysis. We are committed to addressing these issues, and to review and update our records accordingly.

You can write to us to suggest improvements to the record.

Suggest Feedback

record createdJanuary 11, 2006
Record URL