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The Taking of Portobello: C.1529-1928

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Object information

Current Location: Gallery 27 (Glaisher)


The Taking of Portobello


Pottery: Unidentified Liverpool pottery (Probably)




Tin-glazed earthenware painted in blue with ships in an estuary bombarding a fort

Buff earthenware, tin-glazed bluish-white and painted in blue and a little brownish-red. Circular wth a wide rim, shallow sloping sides,and flat centre with recessed base. The middle is decorated with ships in an estuary bombarding a fort on the left. On the right there is a distant church and other buildings. The rim is decorated with pendant leaves, alternating with three different stylized plants. The edge is encircled by a brownish- red line. On the back there are three undulating lines.


History note: Sir Walter Durnford (1847-1926), Provost of King's College, Cambridge; sold by his executors to Stanley Woolston at Cambridge; bought from Stanley Woolston on 27 July 1926 for £2.10s.0d. by Dr J.W.L. Glaisher, FRS, Trinity College, Cambridge

Legal notes

Dr J.W.L. Glaisher Bequest

Measurements and weight

Diameter: 21.5 cm
Diameter: 8.5 in

Place(s) associated

  • Liverpool ⪼ Lancashire ⪼ England

Acquisition and important dates

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


Second quarter of 18th century
George II
Circa 1740 CE - 1745 CE


Admiral Edward Vernon (1684-1757) set sail for the West Indies in July 1739 and in November attacked and took the important Spanish town of Portobello. News of the victory reached England in March 1740, and made Vernon a popular hero.

The scene represents the taking of the Spanish port of Portobello on the Isthmus of Darien by Admiral Vernon in November 1739. This was followed by his capture of Chagres in Panama in March 1740 (see Dish C.1568-1928). The attribution to Liverpool is not certain.

People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Decoration composed of high-temperature colours ( blue from cobalt, and brownish-red)

Materials used in production

bluish-white Tin-glaze
buff Earthenware

Techniques used in production

Moulding : Buff earthenware, moulded, tin-glazed bluish-white and painted in blue and a little brownish-red

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.1529-1928
Primary reference Number: 72169
Old object number: 4917
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Wednesday 15 September 2021 Last processed: Wednesday 11 January 2023

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 (2023) "The Taking of Portobello" Web page available at: Accessed: 2023-02-08 08:36:41

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{{cite web|url= |title=The Taking of Portobello |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2023-02-08 08:36:41|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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