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Adam and Eve and the Tree of Knowledge: C.206-1928

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Object information

Current Location: Gallery 27 (Glaisher)


Adam and Eve and the Tree of Knowledge


Potter: Toft, Thomas




Earthenware, slip-coated, and trailed with 'The Fall' or 'Temptation' under lead-glaze; reverse unglazed

Red earthenware, thrown, the front coated with dark brown slip, trailed in pale red, olive-green, and white slips, and covered with yellowish lead-glaze. The green slip, where used for broader surfaces and not as a trailed outline, appears to have been cut from a slab of lcay and pressed down with a coarse textiles fabric of which is shows the meshes. Circular with a wide slanting rim and deep well. Decorated in the well with 'The Fall' or 'Temptation'. Eve and Adam stand respectively on the left and right of the Tree of Knowledge which is entwined by Satan in the form of a snake. To the right of Eve is the name 'EVE and to the left of Adam, AD/AMAbove Adam there is a small angel, and a bird (probably an eagle). Above Eve there is a wyvern, and above the tree, a rabbit, a tulip, paired leaves, and a tulip. The rim is decorated with stylized tulips alternating with pomegranates, broken at the bottom by a panel trailed with 'THOMAS TOFT' with five almond-shaped motifs below it. The reverse is undecorated.


History note: Francis Derwent Wood; Mr Rochelle Thomas, King Street, St James's, London; Mr Stoner, London, from whom purchased for £105 on 12 June 1908 by Dr J.W.L. Glaisher, Trinity College, Cambridge.

Legal notes

Dr J.W.L. Glaisher Bequest

Acquisition and important dates

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


17th Century, Late
Charles II
Circa 1670 CE - 1685 CE


The Temptation or Fall was a popular subject for the decoration of seventeenth-century slipware and delftware dishes This one is unusual in having a dark brown slip ground. The angel, wyvern, and rabbit symbolize good, evil, and lust or fecundity respectively. A dish with this subject on the more common cream ground, dated 1674, is at Temple Newsam House, Leeds.

People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Front composed of lead-glaze ( probably galena applied in powdered form)
Decoration composed of slip
Whole Horizontal Diameter 54.3 cm
Whole Vertical Diameter 55.5 cm

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production


Inscription or legends present

  • Text: EVE
  • Location: On front
  • Method of creation: Slip-trailed
  • Type: Inscription
  • Text: AD/AM
  • Location: On front
  • Method of creation: Slip-trailed
  • Type: Inscription
  • Location: On front in panel on lower part of rim
  • Method of creation: Slip-trailed
  • Type: Signature

References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.206-1928
Primary reference Number: 73061
Old object number: 2091
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Sunday 21 November 2021 Last processed: Friday 8 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

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

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