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Floor tile: C.61-1927

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Object information

Current Location: In storage


Maker: Antonio dei Fedeli (Probably)




Maiolica floor or pavement tile, painted in blue, green, yellow and manganese with a hound sejant.

Very pale buff earthenware, tin-glazed white on the upper surface and painted in blue, green, dark yellow and manganese. Square with deep sides. The back has been scooped out to produce three raised concentric rings. On the front, a white hound sejant in profile to the right with its head turned sharply to the right. The hound is outlined and shaded in blue and wears a dark yellow muzzle with a leash of the same colour coiling out behind it. The ground is green with yellow patches and tufts of blue grass. The background is manganese.


History note: From a series of tiles commissioned for the Gonzaga villa at Marmirolo, but also used in Isabella d'Este studiolo in the Castello di San Giorgio at Mantua. Purchased from Durlacher Bros., 142 New Bond Street, London, on 20 February 1920. by F. Leverton Harris (d. 1926).

Legal notes

F. Leverton Harris Bequest, 1926

Measurements and weight

Depth: 4.7 cm
Height: 23.4 cm
Width: 23.4 cm

Place(s) associated

  • Pesaro ⪼ The Marches ⪼ Italy

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1927-12) by Harris, Frederick Leverton


15th Century, Late
Circa 1492 CE - 1494 CE


A white hound sejant (seated), muzzled and leashed, symbolizing fidelity, was a device adopted by Gianfrancesco Gonzaga (1395-1444), first Marquis of Mantua. It was one of eight Gonzaga devices pictured on tiles commissioned from Pesaro in 1493 by Giovanni Sforza on behalf of Marquis Francesco II Gonzaga (1466-1519) for his villa at Marmirolo. However, on their arrival at the Castel San Giorgio in Mantua on 1 June 1494, some of them were laid in the studiolo of his wife, Isabella d'Este (1474-1539). The project seems to have been undertaken partly for aesthetic reasons and partly as a measure to rid the room of mice which had been nesting under the floorboards. Apart from this, maiolica pavements were not very practical in domestic situations because their colourful designs were gradually worn away by people's feet. The back of this tile, like that of the others from this pavement, was scooped out to produce three concentric circles. This may have been done to speed the drying of the tiles before firing or to prevent them warping in the kiln.

School or Style


People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Decoration composed of high-temperature colours ( blue, green, dark yellow and manganese)
Front composed of tin-glaze

Materials used in production

very light buff Earthenware

References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.61-1927
Primary reference Number: 15553
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Wednesday 15 July 2020 Last processed: Friday 29 September 2023

Associated departments & institutions

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

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