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Standing Virgin and Child: EC.2-1938

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Object information

Current Location: In storage


Standing Virgin and Child


Pottery: Unidentified Orvieto pottery (Probably)




Tin-glazed earthenware painted in manganese and green

Greyish-buff earthenware. Tin-glazed greyish-white on the exterior and painted in manganese and green. The Virgin stands holding the infant Christ in her left arm. Christ wears a skirt, and she wears a long pleated gown and a cloak over her head which falls down over her shoulders to the ground. The Virgin's costume is decorated with vertical rows of slanting manganese and green strokes between wide green and narrow manganese stripes. Christ's skirt has close-set stripes of alternate colours. The figure of the Virgin is hollow and the head was made separately and set into the body before firing.


History note: Collection of either Signor Avvocato Marcioni or Cavaliere Capitano Lucatelli; Sotheby's, 16-17 February 1914, Catalogue of the collections of early Italian pottery formed by Signor Avvocato Marcioni and Cavaliere Capitano Lucatelli of Orvieto, lot 151 & pl. IV; Lethbridge; Sotheby's, 18 June 1928, lot 15; Alfred Spero; Dr J.W.L. Glaisher; Mrs W.D. (Frances Louisa) Dickson, Bournemouth.

Legal notes

Given by Mrs W.D. Dickson

Measurements and weight

Height: 32 cm

Place(s) associated

  • Orvieto ⪼ Umbria ⪼ Italy

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (1938-01-18) by Dickson, W. D. (Frances Louisa), Mrs


14th Century
15th Century#
Circa 1350 CE - 1450 CE


A thermoluminescence test by the Oxford Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art (report dated 23 February 1994, sample 581m36) estimated that the figure was last fired between 400 and 650 years ago (1344-1594). However, the colouring and style suggest that it was not later than about 1450.

Label text from the exhibition ‘Madonnas and Miracles: The Holy Home in Renaissance Italy’, on display at The Fitzwilliam Museum from 7 March until 4 June 2017: This statuette of the nursing Virgin is a rare survival of the kind of devotional image that would have graced many a humble home. The Virgin is stately and imposing, yet offers a reassuringly human image of motherhood; she and the Christ Child both wear everyday green-striped skirts, and have no haloes to mark them out as holy.

Late-medieval maiolica figures are extremely rare. A woman holding a shield charged with the Monaldeschi arms formed lot 152 in the Marcioni-Lucatelli sale at which this one was also sold. A standing woman holding a bowl is in the Palazzo di Venezia, Rome (PV 165), and a man seated beside a bowl was formerly in the Moretti collection. Smaller moulded figures and moulds have been found at a kiln site in the via della Cava, Orvieto.

School or Style

maiolica arcaica

People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Decoration composed of copper-green manganese
Exterior composed of tin-glaze
Front-back Depth 18 cm

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production


Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: rectangular with cut corners and dark blue border

  • Text: 5077/Early figure of the/Virgin and Child/of Orvieto pottery/painted in green/and manganese/circa 1300/Sold at Sotheby's/June 18 1928 and/bought from the/purchaser July 16/1928
  • Method of creation: Inscribed in faded black ink in Dr. J.W.L. Glaisher's hand
  • Type: Label

Inscription present: circular, printed in white reserved on a black ground

  • Text: 'FRANCES L. DICKSON' inscribed in the middle in black ink 'KEPT FROM GLAISHER COLL.'
  • Method of creation: Printed in white and inscribed in black ink
  • Type: Label

References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: EC.2-1938
Primary reference Number: 47359
Old object number: 5077
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Tuesday 9 February 2021 Last processed: Friday 29 September 2023

Associated departments & institutions

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

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2023) "Standing Virgin and Child" Web page available at: Accessed: 2023-12-06 00:38:47

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