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Two-handled jar: C.77-1961

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Object information

Current Location: Gallery 7 (Courtauld)


Maker: Unidentified Florence pottery (District of)




Maiolica pharmacy or storage jar, painted in relief-blue, on both sides with two lions rampant addorsed and 'oak leaves'.

Buff earthenware, tin-glazed creamy-white on the interior and exterior; the rim and base unglazed. Painted in bright, extremely shiny relief-blue with manganese outlines.
Ovoid with flat base, short cylindrical neck and two strap handles.
Both sides are decorated with two lions rampant addorsed, each holding a spray of oak leaves in its raised paw, surrounded by sprays of oak leaves with dots in the background. Round the lower part of the body there are two horizontal manganese bands. On the neck, between pairs of horizontal manganese bands, there are oak leaves on a wavy stem. On each handle, and continuing down the side of the jar beneath it, is a fern frond or stalk with twigs branching off on each side and terminating in small round berries.


History note: Sir Otto Beit; Sir Alfred Beit; Sotheby's, 16 October 1942, Catalogue of important Italian majolica, the property of Sir Alfred Beit Bt, MP., lot 15; C. H. St J. & Cicely Hornby; Louis C.G. Clarke.

Legal notes

L.C.G. Clarke Bequest, 1960

Measurements and weight

Height: 25.8 cm

Place(s) associated

  • Florence ⪼ Tuscany ⪼ Italy

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1961-04-27) by Clarke, Louis Colville Gray


15th Century#
Circa 1420 CE - 1450 CE


Lions were not unfamiliar to Florentines during the late Middle Ages. The chronicler, Giovanni Villani, mentions them on several occasions, including cubs born in Florence and given away as diplomatic gifts. Their occurrence on `oak leaf jars', either singly or in addorsed pairs, was probably due to their popularity as heraldic devices in Florence and elsewhere in Tuscany, or to the use of a lion, known as the marzocco, as an emblem of the city.

School or Style


Components of the work

Decoration composed of high-temperature colours ( shiny relief-blue with manganese outlines)
Mouth Diameter 12.4 cm
Base Diameter 14.5 cm
Across Handles Width 23 cm

Materials used in production

except rim and base Tin-glaze

Techniques used in production


Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: circular label

  • Text: 'ST. JOHN AND CICELY HORNBY' printed round the edge in green, 'No' in the centre, and, 'D.200' inscribed below in faded blue-black ink
  • Method of creation: Printed in green and inscribed in blue-black ink
  • Type: Label
  • Text: 740
  • Method of creation: In red paint and again in black ink
  • Type: Mark

References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.77-1961
Primary reference Number: 48175
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Monday 3 July 2023 Last processed: Friday 29 September 2023

Associated departments & institutions

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

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