5 July 2000
A PORTUGUESE DISH
Circa 1500, apparently unmarked
On central cast guilloche foot with pierced band of lozenges and quatrefoils above, with plain raised border, the centre repoussé and chased in high relief with six scenes from the life of Orpheus divided by architectural columns surmounted by portrait busts, the central boss repoussé and chased with Roman equestrian figures and soldiers and later engraved with a coat-of-arms with cardinal's hat above
9¾ in. (25 cm.) diam.
Weight 21 oz. (655 gr.)
The arms are those of Pinto presumably for Dom Francisco Pereira Pinto, Bishop of Oporto. Although he was elected in 1640, he was never able to take up the appointment. At the time he was serving as a Gentleman in the Spanish Royal Court in Madrid. After the restoration of the Portuguese monarchy he was prevented from leaving Spain. He died in Madrid in 1642.
Sir Julius Wernher, 1st Bt. (1850-1912), Bath House, London, by whom bequeathed, with a life interest to his widow, Alice, Lady Wernher, subsequently Lady Ludlow (1862-1945), to their son
Sir Harold Wernher, 3rd Bt., G.C.V.O. (1893-1973), Bath House, London, and from 1948, Luton Hoo, Bedfordshire, and by descent.
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1913 Bath House Inventory, p. 138, no. 681, in the safe.
1914 Wernher Inventory, p. 94, no. 461.
The scenes represented are:
Eurydice wandering with the naiads
Orpheus grieving over the body of Eurydice
Orpheus passing the ghosts beyond the grave approaching Persephone
Orpheus looks back at Eurydice
Orpheus playing in the woods and animals
Death of Orpheus, his head claimed by Lesbos
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