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Basin: EC.19-1946

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Object information

Current Location: Gallery 6 (Upper Marlay): case 4, shelf B


Painter: Vulcan Painter (Probably)




Maiolica basin for ewer, painted in polychrome, with a fox and bear with a shield of arms in a landscape, a battle between centaurs and satyrs, and eight medallions painted with subjects from the Bible and Roman history surrounded by grotesques.

Pale buff earthenware, tin-glazed white overall. Painted in dark blue, pale blue, green, yellow, orange, red, and black.
Shape 69. Circular with sloping rim, upturned slightly at the edge; deep sides moulded with oblique reversed gadroons; flat centre with ribs encircling its outer edge and the emplacement for the ewer in the middle; low foot ring on the back.
The central medallion contains a landscape in which a fox attempts to wrest a shield from the possession of a bear. The bear holds a sword in its right forepaw and rests its left on the shield, which is of testa di cavallo form, charged with the arms per fess gules and argent, overall a tree eradicated. A scroll above is inscribed, 'E COSI VA CHE TROPO VOLLE' (This is what happens to him who wants too much). The rest of the base is decorated with a battle between male and female satyrs and centaurs. The gadroons on the sides are painted in blue with stylised plants. On the rim there are grotesques reserved in a blue ground, interrupted by eight oval medallions, painted with eight subjects from the Bible and Roman history: Marcus Curtius leaping into the chasm, Dido falling on her sword, David with the head of Goliath, Judith with the head of Holofernes, Mucius Scaevola thrusting his right hand into the fire, a woman with a shield, Horatius defending the bridge and, probably, the suicide of Lucretia.
The back is decorated in blue and yellow with a trophy of two crossed quivers, a bow, and an arrow, surrounded by delicate coiling blue stems with blue, orange, and green foliage. The footring is blue with an invected circle within it. The sides and rim are decorated with blue and orange horizontally striped petals between blue bands and there are two blue bands on the outer edge.


History note: Baron Lionel de Rothschild; Mrs Leopold de Rothschild; Alfred Spero, London.

Legal notes

Purchased with the Leverton Harris Fund and with a contribution from the National Art Collections Fund (now The Art Fund).

Measurements and weight

Diameter: 46.3 cm
Height: 5.5 cm

Place(s) associated

  • Cafaggiolo ⪼ Tuscany ⪼ Italy

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bought (1946-07) by Spero, Alfred


16th Century
Circa 1520 CE - 1530 CE

School or Style


People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Decoration composed of high-temperature colours ( dark blue, pale blue, green, yellow, orange, red, and black)

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production

Moulding : Pale buff earthenware, tin-glazed white overall. Painted in dark blue, pale blue, green, yellow, orange, red, and black.

Inscription or legends present

  • Type: Inscription

References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: EC.19-1946
Primary reference Number: 48362
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Saturday 14 March 2020 Last processed: Thursday 1 February 2024

Associated departments & institutions

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

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Basin" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-06-12 15:29:07

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