With remainder of a red wax seal mark and paper label no. 122 attached to the reverse.
According to Livy's 'History of Rome' (VII, 6) in 362 B.C. a deep chasm opened up in the Roman Forum and Marcus Curtius, a young Roman soldier, sacrificed himself to save the city by leaping into it. The wise men of the city declared that the Gods demanded that Rome's most valuable possession be thrown into it in order for it to be filled. Claiming that nothing was more precious than a brave citizen, Curtius leapt, fully armed and on horseback, into the chasm, which immediately closed. The spot was afterwards covered by a pond known as the Lacus Curtius which was dry by the 1st century BC. The legend of Marcus Curtius is the most widespread of several tales invented to explain the origin of the name Lacus Curtius in the Forum.
The service to which this dish belongs was made for the Scheuffelin family of Nördlingen in South Germany. In the 16th century Italian maiolica workshops enjoyed international recognition with commissions for armorial services coming from families in France and Spain as well as Germany. Most of this service appears to remain in Germany, apart from one dish from the C. Drury E. Fortnum Collection, painted with King Erysichthon cutting down a tree sacred to Ceres, which is now in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford (WA1888.CDEF.C420). Two dishes are in the Schlossmuseum Weimar and are illustrated by Elisabeth Reissinger, Italienische Majolika, Berlin, 2000, pp. 82-85, no. 21 and 22 and four further pieces are in the Goethe-Nationalmuseum, Weimar. Another example, previously in the Schlossmuseum in Berlin is known to have been destroyed in World War II. The largest group remaining together are in the Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum, Brunswick, see Johanna Lessmann, Italienische Majolika, Brunswick, 1979, pp. 224-226, nos. 232-237, where the author tentavively attributes the service to the Fontana workshop.
The distinctive infill-shading around the arms indicates that a space was left around the arms. It possibly indicates that the space was left so that the arms could be subsequently added by another painter. A group of dishes from the Punic War Series
1. See the footnote to the preceding lot for reference to this group and the example sold in these Rooms on 24 May 2011, lot 34, bearing the distinctive pale blue oval patch in the sky.