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An Urbino armorial dish
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An Urbino armorial dish


An Urbino armorial dish
Circa 1550-65, possibly the workshop of Guido Durantino
Of Cardinal's hat form, painted with thatched and fortified buildings amongst hills and trees before distant mountains, the border with a coat of arms within an elaborate pierced and berriboned escutcheon with scrolls and fruit (D-shaped section broken from rim between 11 and 1 o'clock replaced with two maiolica sections probably from another dish from this service)
10½ in. (26.5 cm.) diam.
Removed from Château Les Tours de Lenvège.
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VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price plus buyer's premium

Lot Essay

Uniquely among maiolica services, this is not strictly 'istoriato' as the landscapes are the subjects, and any figures within them are merely incidental.

It is not absolutely certain if this service was made for the Salviati family of Florence, or the Avogadro or Avvocati family of Genoa or Venice. The arms of both families are very similar and are only differentiated by the fields; the field of the Salviati family arms is argent and the field of the Avogadro or Avvocati family arms is gules. Molinier attributed the service to Venice in L'Art, I, 1888, La faïence à Venise, p. 65, where he pointed out that the group of dishes in the Schlossmuseum in Berlin (which were later destroyed in the Second World War) originally came from Venice. However, Julia Poole, in the most recent discussion of this service, attributes the service to Urbino, possibly made in the workshop of Guido Durantino. For a discussion on this and a list of the currently known examples, see Julia E. Poole, Italian maiolica and incised slipware in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, pp. 369-371, and where a dish formerly in the Richard Zschille Collection (sold in these rooms on 1st June 1899, lot 103) is also illustrated on p. 370, no. 407.

Another dish from the Bernal Collection, sold in these Rooms and now in the Victoria and Albert Museum, is illustrated by Bernard Rackham in the Catalogue of Italian Maiolica (London, 1940), Vol. I, p. 277, no. 833 and Vol. II, pl. 132, fig. 833. Another example from this service was sold in these Rooms on 8th April 1974, lot 195 and another (originally from the Adda Collection) on 7th October 1996, lot 243. Also see the dishes sold Sotheby's, London on 3rd November 1970, lot 59; on 30th October 1973, lot 155 and on 1st March 1994, lot 20. Also see Bellini and Conti, Maioliche del Rinascimento, p. 143B, where a somewhat earlier date is suggested and the pair of large ewers from this service sold in these Rooms on 6th December 1971, lot 80.


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