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A Political Allegory: C.14-1953

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Object information


A Political Allegory


Probably Avelli, Francesco Xanto (Painter)
After Raimondi, Marcantonio (Printmaker)
After Dente, Marco (Marco da Ravenna) (Printmaker)


Maiolica dish, painted in polychrome with A Political Allegory.

Dish. Buff earthenware, tin-glazed overall; the reverse greyish and tinged with green. Painted in blue, green, turquoise, yellow, orange, stone, brown, manganese-purple, black, and white.
Shape 57. Circular with a wide, slightly sloping rim and small, deep well; the underside of the rim moulded with three bands of reeding.
A Political Allegory. A man in armour all'antica holding a trident stands on the left accompanied by a horse and a cock. On the right, a nude man with a billowing cloak is poised to make a blow with a curved sword held in his right hand. In the foreground there is a pebbly path and grass; on the right, rocks and a tree; and in the background, a river running past fortifications towards distant mountains. The edge is yellow. The back is inscribed in the middle in dark blue: `fuggi spagna: Marcho/et francia./nota y' (flee Spain: Mark and France. take note y).


History note: Henry Harris; Sotheby's, 20 June 1950, Catalogue of fine Italian maiolica from the well-known collection of the late Henry Harris, Esq. . . ., lot 110; Alfred Spero; Marmaduke Langdale Horn.

Legal notes

M.L. Horn Bequest

Measurements and weight

Diameter: 27.0 cm
Height: 4.5 cm

Place(s) associated

  • Urbino ⪼ The Marches ⪼ Italy

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1953-10-22) by Horn, Marmaduke Langdale


Second quarter of 16th century
Circa 1528 CE - 1530 CE


Dishes signed with a y or phi are considered on stylistic grounds to have been painted by Xanto. The figures were taken from two prints of the Massacre of the Innocents: the nude man whielding the sword from the engraving by Marcantonio Raimondi after Raphael, and the man with the trident from the version by Marco Dente after Baccio Bandinelli.

School or Style


People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Decoration composed of high-temperature colours ( blue, green, turquoise, yellow, orange, stone, brown, manganese-purple, black, and white)

Materials used in production

Tin-glaze Earthenware

Techniques used in production

Moulding : Buff earthenware, tin-glazed overall; the reverse greyish and tinged with green. Painted in blue, green, turquoise, yellow, orange, stone, brown, manganese-purple, black, and white.

Inscription or legends present

  • Text: fuggi spagna: Marcho/et francia./nota y'
  • Location: On the base
  • Method of creation: Painted in dark blue
  • Type: Inscription

Inscription present: rectangular with red printed border

  • Text: Harris collection/Borenius Catalogue/ No.42/Illustrated/Probably Xanto
  • Location: On back
  • Method of creation: Inscribed in blue-black ink
  • Type: Label

Inscription present: rectangular

  • Text: 'typed `painted by Xanto. "Spagnia e Francia". The edge/damaged./From the collection of the late Henry Harris.' and in pencil `8'
  • Location: On back
  • Method of creation: Typed and in pencil
  • Type: Label

References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.14-1953
Primary reference Number: 71966
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Thursday 24 January 2019 Last processed: Sunday 21 March 2021

Associated departments & institutions

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

Citation for print

This record can be cited in the Harvard Bibliographic style using the text below:

The Fitzwilliam Museum (2022) "A Political Allegory" Web page available at: Accessed: 2022-06-28 16:41:11

Citation for Wikipedia

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{{cite web|url= |title=A Political Allegory |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2022-06-28 16:41:11|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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