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Tray: C.189-1991

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Object information

Current Location: In storage


Maker: Unidentified Montelupo potter




Renaissance maiolica tray or wall panel, painted in polychrome with a debased form of the Sacred Monogram, surrounded by lozenges, zig-zags, strokes, stems and leaves.

Earthenware, tin-glazed on the front and outside wall and dribbled across the unglazed base. Painted in blue, green, yellow, orange-red, and black. Circular with shallow vertical sides and flat base which has warped in firing.
The central medallion contains a debased form of the Sacred Monogram, outlined in orange and reserved in a blue ground, surrounded by a blue zig-zag border. The rest of the base is decorated with four lozenges with a spot at each point linking them to almond, oval and segmental shapes filled with small strokes and stylised stems and leaves. Round the sides there are short oblique strokes between blue bands and a wide blue band on the rim. The exterior is decorated with three blue horizontal bands.


History note: H.S. Reitlinger (d.1950); the Reitlinger Trust, Maidenhead, from which transferred in 1991

Legal notes

H.S. Reitlinger Bequest, 1950.

Measurements and weight

Diameter: 36.2 cm
Height: 4 cm

Place(s) associated

  • Montelupo ⪼ Tuscany ⪼ Italy

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1991-04-29) by Reitlinger, Henry Scipio


16th Century, second half#
Circa 1550 CE - 1600 CE


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: IHS (sometimes YHS) is an abbreviated form of the Greek word for Jesus (). In Renaissance Italy, devotion to the Name of Jesus increased, in part encouraged by the Franciscan preacher Bernardino of Siena, who held up a painted panel with the letters ‘YHS’ during his sermons. The sacred monogram ‘IHS’ was often to be found in the Renaissance home, inscribed above doorways, painted onto plates and dishes and used as a decorative theme on furniture or jewellery.

Components of the work

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

Materials used in production

base unglazed Tin-glaze

Techniques used in production

Tin-glazing : Earthenware, tin-glazed on the front and outside wall and dribbled across the unglazed base. Painted in blue, green, yellow, orange-red, and black.

Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: debased form of the sacred trigram, ihs

  • Text: ihs
  • Location: In centre of front
  • Method of creation: Painted in dull orange
  • Type: Inscription

Inscription present: circular with serrated edge

  • Text: 597/a
  • Method of creation: Inscribed in pencil
  • Type: Label

References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.189-1991
Primary reference Number: 48470
Packing number: EURCER 352
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

Citation for print

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Tray" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-06-15 19:18:05

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