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Cistern: C.2215-1928

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Object information

Current Location: In storage


Pottery: Unknown (Possibly)
Potter: Unknown (Possibly)




Maiolica cistern, painted in blue, with bands of hares, lambs, unicorns, horses and foxes, mostly in pairs, amid flowering plants, bands with foliage and flowers on scrolling stems, with birds and animals in the spaces, and rib and neck decoration of leaves, fleur-de-lis, and fruiting vine branch.

Earthenware, tin-glazed on the exterior and lead-glazed brownish-yellow on the interior. Painted in blue with traces of blackish-brown enamel and a little gilding on the rosette surrounding the spigot.
Ovoid with a short narrow neck and everted and stepped rim. Just above the base is a convex horizontal rib, over which at centre front is an applied rosette with a central aperture for the insertion of a gilt-metal spigot, in the shape of a monster's head with a dolphin tap. Further up is another convex horizontal rib with a grotesque mask in relief at centre front and, on opposing sides, projecting shell-shaped handles.
The decoration is divided into five horizontal bands of different widths. The first, fourth and fifth bands from the bottom are painted with hares, lambs, unicorns, horses and foxes, mostly in pairs, amid flowering plants. The second and third are painted with foliage and flowers on scrolling stems, with birds and animals in the spaces. The lower of the two ribs is decorated with formal leaves with remnants of outlining in blackish-brown. The upper rib is decorated with alternating fleur-de-lis and sprays of leaves, similarly outlined. The neck is encircled by a fruiting vine branch with a formal border and two plain bands above.


History note: Private collection, Munich; on death of the owner, sold by legatee to Adolf Steinharter, 25 Residenz-strasse, Munich, from whom purchased on 15 August 1905 by Dr J.W.L. Glaisher

Legal notes

Dr J.W.L. Glaisher Bequest

Measurements and weight

Height: 59.5 cm
Width: 49.5 cm

Relative size of this object

49.5 cm59.5 cm What does this represent?

Relative size of this object is displayed using code inspired by Good Form and Spectacle's work on the British Museum's Waddeson Bequest website and their dimension drawer. They chose a tennis ball to represent a universally sized object, from which you could envisage the size of an object.

Place(s) associated

  • Turin ⪼ Piedmont ⪼ Italy
  • Albisola ⪼ Liguria ⪼ Italy
  • Savona ⪼ Liguria ⪼ Italy

Acquisition and important dates

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


17th Century
1630 CE - 1680 CE


This cistern has usually been attributed to a Ligurian pottery in Albisola or Savona, but in 2004 Guido Farris considered that it probably came from Turin.

School or Style

calligrafico naturalistico

People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Decoration composed of enamel ( blackish-brown) high-temperature colour ( blue) gold
Interior composed of lead-glaze
Exterior composed of tin-glaze
Rim Diameter 20.3 cm
Base Diameter 20.5 cm

Materials used in production


References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.2215-1928
Primary reference Number: 73239
Old object number: 2370
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Tuesday 25 February 2020 Last processed: Wednesday 11 January 2023

Associated departments & institutions

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

Citation for print

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2023) "Cistern" Web page available at: Accessed: 2023-02-05 01:08:13

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{{cite web|url= |title=Cistern |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2023-02-05 01:08:13|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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