Skip to main content

Cistern: C.2215-1928

An image of Cistern

Terms of use

These images are provided for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons License (BY-NC-ND). To license a high resolution version, please contact our image library who will discuss fees, terms and waivers.

Download this image

Creative commons explained - what it means, how you can use our's and other people's content.

Alternative views

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

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: Monday 18 December 2023 Last processed: Monday 18 December 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 (2024) "Cistern" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-07-14 02:18:13

Citation for Wikipedia

To cite this record on Wikipedia you can use this code snippet:

{{cite web|url= |title=Cistern |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-07-14 02:18:13|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

API call for this record

To call these data via our API (remember this needs to be authenticated) you can use this code snippet:

Bootstrap HTML code for reuse

To use this as a simple code embed, copy this string:

<div class="text-center">
    <figure class="figure">
        <img src=""
        class="img-fluid" />
        <figcaption class="figure-caption text-info">Cistern</figcaption>

Sign up for updates

Updates about future exhibitions and displays, family activities, virtual events & news. You'll be the first to know...