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Crispin, Crispinian and Ursula: C.1334-1928

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Object information

Current Location: Gallery 27 (Glaisher)


Crispin, Crispinian and Ursula


Pottery: Pickleherring Pottery (Probably)
Proprietor: Newnham, Richard




Tin-glazed earthenware painted in blue. Crispin, Crispinian and Ursula, daughter of the Emperor Maximus

Buff earthenware, covered with shiny white tin-glaze with many pinholes on the back, and painted in bright blue. Circular with a narrow sloping rim and deep curved sides, standing on a footring, pierced by two holes. The front is painted with an interior with a vault with a cherub's head at its apex, supported by two columns with foliated capitals. The floor is tiled with lozenge-shaped tiles. On the right, a crowned woman is seated in a chair having a shoe fitted by a young man, who kneels beside her. His hat lies on the floor in front of him. Above and to the right of his head are the initials and date, \f1\fs24\lquote H/RM/1677\rquote . \f0\fs17 To the left of him is a man in civilian dress stands on a recumbent man in armour, and further to the left is another standing man in armour. The rim is decorated with a border of scrolls and stylized plants, and there is a blue band round the edge.


History note: Mrs Westley, who lent it to Northampton Museum; her son who was a parson and may have been the Rev. W.A. Westley of St John’s Vicarage, Werneth, Oldham; Frank Stoner, London from whom purchased on 5 October 1925 for £160 by Dr J.W.L. Glaisher, FRS, Trinity College, Cambridge

Legal notes

Dr J.W.L. Glaisher Bequest

Measurements and weight

Diameter: 39.2 cm
Height: 8.3 cm

Place(s) associated

  • Southwark ⪼ Surrey ⪼ England

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1928-12-07) by Glaisher, J. W. L., Dr


17th Century, Late
Charles II
Production date: dated AD 1677


It also occurs as the heading on a seventeenth-century ballad, The Shoe-maker’s Triumph. Family tradition relates that the initials are those of Richard and Mary Hedges of Northampton, famous for its shoe-making industry. This has not been verified, but there was a Hedges family living in Northampton in the seventeenth century.

This dish was probably made to commemorate the marriage of a shoemaker. Crispin and Crispinian are the patron saints of shoemakers, and according to English tradition, plied their trade at Faversham in Kent. The legendary marriage between Crispin and Ursula, daughter of the Emperor Maximinus was popularized during the 17th century by Thomas Deloney's 'The Pleasant and Princely History of the Gentle Craft', first published in 1597 or 1598. With the exception of the prostrate knight, the scene on the dish was derived from two woodcuts forming a double frontispiece to the 1675 edition, and possibly to the 1652 edition. An undated copy is in the Cambridge University Library.

People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Decoration composed of high-temperature colour ( blue from cobalt)

Materials used in production

buff Earthenware

Techniques used in production


Inscription or legends present

  • Text: H/R M/1677
  • Location: On front
  • Method of creation: Painted in blue
  • Type: Inscription

References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.1334-1928
Primary reference Number: 71828
Old object number: 4773
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Wednesday 10 February 2021 Last processed: Friday 16 February 2024

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) "Crispin, Crispinian and Ursula" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-07-24 10:24:07

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