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A Philosopher, possibly Heraclitus: C.73-1950

Object information

Current Location: Gallery 26 (Lower Marlay)


A Philosopher, possibly Heraclitus


Factory: Capodimonte Porcelain Factory




Soft-paste porcelain painted in enamels and gilt

Creamy-white soft-paste porcelain, press-moulded, and painted overglaze in pale green, pale yellow, flesh pink, pale red, dark mauve, grey, brown, and a spot of black enamel, and gilt. The underside of the base is unglazed, except for a few dribbles, particularly in viewer’s back left corner, and has a square ventilation hole near the back. The rectangular base is bowed at the front and has moulded sides outlined in gold, and a stylized foliage motif at centre front. The philosopher stands on his right foot with his left foot on the upper book of two resting on top of the base. He has pale greyish-brown hair and beard, ruddy cheeks and pale red lips. The upper part of his torso is bare, and he has a dark mauve drape around his body over green trousers, dark mauve sandals, and a larger yellow cloak over his head, which falls down to the ground at the back, and is held up to his face by his right hand, as if wiping his eye with it. Over his left forearm he has a partly unrolled scroll.


History note: Unknown before Mrs W. D. (Frances Louisa) Dickson

Legal notes

Given by Mrs W.D. Dickson

Measurements and weight

Height: 24.1 cm
Width: 10 cm

Place(s) associated

  • Capodimonte ⪼ Kingdom of the Two Sicilies ⪼ Italy

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (1950-09) by Dickson, W. D. (Frances Louisa), Mrs


18th Century, third quarter
Circa 1755 CE - 1759 CE


Accessioned as Buen Retiro, but later reattributed to Capodimonte. The colouring is very close to the Dancing Couple by Giuseppe Gricci C.44-1950.

School or Style


People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Decoration composed of enamel ( pale green, pale yellow, flesh pink, pale red, dark mauve, grey, brown, and a spot of black) gold
Visible Areas composed of glaze ( presumed lead-glaze)
Base Depth 7.5 cm Width 9.3 cm

Materials used in production

Soft-paste porcelain

Techniques used in production

Press-moulding : Soft-paste porcelain, press-moulded in parts, glazed, painted in pale green, pale yellow, flesh pink, pale red, dark mauve, grey, brown, and a spot of black enamel, and gilt

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.73-1950
Primary reference Number: 140361
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Wednesday 19 October 2016 Last processed: Wednesday 13 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

Citation for print

This record can be cited in the Harvard Bibliographic style using the text below:

The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "A Philosopher, possibly Heraclitus" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-02-22 19:14:31

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{{cite web|url= |title=A Philosopher, possibly Heraclitus |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-02-22 19:14:31|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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