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Ewer: C.81-1927

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Object information

Current Location: In storage


Pottery: Unidentified Orvieto pottery (Probably)




Late Medieval, maiolica ewer, painted in copper-green, turquoise-green and manganese with panels containing stylised foliage, rhomboids and knots, surrounded by cross-hatching and shields.

Pale buff earthenware, the foot lead-glazed yellowish-brown, the rest tin-glazed ivory; the glaze on the neck has a pock-marked surface and differs in colour from that on the body. Painted in copper-green, turquoise-green and manganese.
Shape15. Bulbous ovoid body with restriction round the widest part; moulded, solid pedestal foot; long slender neck, the rim pinched slightly at the front to form a lip; loop handle of triangular section, the lower end of which runs down the shoulder and terminates in an outward curling scroll.
On the restriction, there is a band of guilloche ornament. The rest of the body and neck are divided into panels containing manganese rhomboids, knots or stylised foliage, surrounded by cross-hatching, and, on the shoulder, two unblazoned shields. In the middle of the neck there is a turquoise-green chain. The handle is decorated with manganese ogee lines, each with a dab of green at its apex, and roughly drawn Vs on either side. Below the handle, there are narrow horizontal lines of alternate colours.


History note: Presumed excavated in Orvieto; Elia Volpi, Florence; Durlacher Brothers, London, from whom purchased in November 1920 by F. Leverton Harris.

Legal notes

F. Leverton Harris Bequest, 1926

Measurements and weight

Height: 38.0 cm
Width: 19.0 cm

Place(s) associated

  • Orvieto ⪼ Umbria ⪼ Italy

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1927-12) by Harris, F. Leverton, The Right Hon.


13th Century
14th Century
Circa 1275 CE - 1350 CE


Ewers with very tall, narrow necks are uncommon in comparison with other late medieval forms from Orvieto and elsewhere in central Italy.

This ewer, or its components , were presumably excavated in Orvieto, as it can be seen, numbered 4, in the ninth of a group of photographs taken there c. 1909-10, which were given by David Whitehouse to the British Museum 's Department of Medieval and later Antiquities in 1986, together with a manuscript of Alessandro Imbert's 'Ceramiche orvietan dei secoli xiii e xiv' written in the hand of Prof. Percale Perali. The photograph is inscribed 'Volpi' near the jug, for the collector and dealer, Elia Volpi of Florence.

School or Style

maiolica arcaica

People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Decoration composed of high-temperature colours ( manganese and copper-green and turquoise-green)
Foot composed of lead-glaze Diameter 11.5 cm

Materials used in production

except foot Tin-glaze

Techniques used in production


References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.81-1927
Primary reference Number: 47271
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Monday 18 December 2023 Last processed: Monday 18 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

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

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Ewer" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-06-14 06:23:58

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