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Faith or Religion: C.1811-1928

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Object information

Current Location: Gallery 32 (Rothschild)


Faith or Religion


Production: uncertain (Possibly)




Buff earthenware, moulded, and decorated with blue, yellow, mulberry (manganese), and transparent lead-glazes. The figure is supported on a shallow circular blue base. The saint or allegorical figure, steps forward on her left foot, looking downwards slightly towards an open book held in her left hand. Her right hand she holds a purse-like socket for the insertion of an attribute, possibly a palm, now missing. She wears a greyish-blue veil, a long dark mulberry-coloured robe and shoes, a dull yellow belt, a long blue cloak.


History note: Prince Pierre Soltykoff ; sold Paris, Hôtel Drouot, (Roussel, Caran and Juste) 8 April - 1 May, 1861, Objets d'art et de haute curiosité composant la célèbre collection de Prince Soltykoff, lot 635. Dr Hugh Playfair, 7 Upper Brook Street, London; sold Sotheby's, 4 May 1928, Pottery, Porcelain and Glass, Pictures and Furniture, lot 42; purchased for £27 by Mr Rochelle Thomas for Dr J.W.L. Glaisher, Trinity College, Cambridge

Legal notes

Dr J.W.L. Glaisher Bequest

Measurements and weight

Height: 21.7 cm

Place(s) associated

  • Fontainebleau ⪼ France
  • Paris ⪼ France

Acquisition and important dates

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


17th Century, Early#
Circa 1600 CE - 1630 CE


When purchased by Dr J.W.L. Glaisher the figure was described as 'a rare Palissy figure of a female Saint'. It is now considered to have been made after his death by potters working near Fontainebleau, in Paris, or possibly in Rouen. The figure holds a book which was an attribute of St Catherine of Alexandria, and could have held a martyrs palm in the other hand, but it is also reminiscent of the representation of Religion on p. 456 of the illustrated edition of Cesare Ripa's 'Iconologia' published in Rome in 1603, although it holds a book in its left hand instead of flames signifying devotion.

School or Style


People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Visible Surfaces composed of lead-glaze ( clear, and coloured blue, yellow, manganese)
Colourant composed of manganese cobalt-blue

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production

Moulding : Buff earthenware, moulded, and decorated with clear, and translucent blue, yellow, and manganese glazes

References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.1811-1928
Primary reference Number: 72673
Old object number: 5022
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Tuesday 20 June 2023 Last processed: Tuesday 17 October 2023

Associated departments & institutions

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

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2023) "Faith or Religion" Web page available at: Accessed: 2023-12-01 06:21:50

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