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Dish emblematic of Fecundity: C.1422-1928

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Object information

Current Location: Gallery 27 (Glaisher)


Dish emblematic of Fecundity


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


  • Dish
  • oval dish
  • La Fécondité dish



Tin-glazed and painted earthenware decorated in relief with a nude woman and five children emblematic of fecundity

Buff earthenware, press-moulded, tin-glazed, and painted in blue, green, yellow, and brownish-orange. Oval, with wide rim, and curved well. The rim is moulded in relief with alternately oval and circular depressions, separated by human masks, and vases of fruit and foliage, and the well with a reclining nude woman and five nude children, one of whom holds a dog. One of the circular depressions at top centre of the rim is nitialled and dated 'D/C M/1651 in blue.


History note: Purchased by Mortlock & Co, Oxford Street, London from an unknown vendor in 1893; purchased by Dr J.W.L. Glaisher from Mortlock & Co on 10 July 1907, for £75.

Legal notes

Dr J.W.L. Glaisher Bequest

Measurements and weight

Height: 6.1 cm
Width: 40.3 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, Mid#
Production date: dated AD 1651


This dish is one of about forty-three dishes dated between 1633 and 1697 which are decorated in relief with a scene emblematic of Fecundity, showing a nude woman reclining on pillows on a mattress with five nude children to her left. The design was copied from a French lead-glazed earthenware dish, traditionally attributed to Bernard Palissy (c/ 1510- 1590), but probably made by one of his followers in Paris, Fontainebleau, or Rouen A French merchant, Claude Beaulat, living in London, seems to have specialized in importing ceramics from France, could have been the channel through which dishes of this design reached London. (See Documentation, Britton, and Denis-Dupuis) The Pickleherring, Montague Close, and Rotherhithe potteries in Southwark were operating in 1651 when this dish was made, but it seems likely that it was made at Pickleherring. The sailing ship in the circular depressions, links the dish to seven others with ship motifs in their borders. One of these, at Colonial Williamsburg (inv. 19698-123) is decorated with the arms of the Broderers' Company and the initials N/RE and date 1661, probably for Richard and Elizabeth Newnham. Richard was the proprietor of the Pickleherring pottery, Southwark from 1647 until his death in 1684, and there is therefore a strong likelihood that this group of Fecundity dishes was made there. See also C.1410-1928.

School or Style


People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Decoration composed of high-temperature colours ( blue, green, yellow, brownish-orange)
Whoel Length 48.8 cm

Materials used in production

buff Earthenware

Techniques used in production

Press-moulding : Earthenware, press-moulded, tin-glazed, and painted in blue, green, yellow, and brownish-orange high-temperature (metallic oxide) colours; many pinholes in the glaze on the reverse

Inscription or legends present

  • Text: D/C M/1651
  • Location: On front
  • Method of creation: Painted
  • Type: Inscription

References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.1422-1928
Primary reference Number: 71979
Old object number: 2699
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Monday 19 June 2023 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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