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Dish: C.63-1927

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Object information

Current Location: Gallery 6 (Upper Marlay): case 4, shelf C


Potter: Unidentified Castel Durante potter (Possibly)
Potter: Unidentified Urbino potter (Possibly)


  • Dish
  • dish standing on low foot



Maiolica dish standing on a low foot, painted in polychrome, with a bust of a female warrior named MARTA B(ELLA) on a scroll

Buff earthenware, tin-glazed overall; the reverse severely crazed. Painted in blue, green, yellow, orange, and manganese. Circular with shallow curved sides, standing on a narrow ring foot.(Poole 1995, Shape 77) A bust of a female warrior faces in profile to left, wearing a fantastic parade helmet in the shape of a crouching lion-like beast. Her name, `MA/RTA B'(Bella) is inscribed on a scroll arched over her head. The background and rim are blue.


History note: M. & R. Stora, ( Maurice (1879-1950) and Raphaël (1887-1963), 32 bis, Boulevard Hausmann, Paris, from whom purchased in 1920 by F. Leverton Harris (1864-1926)

Legal notes

F. Leverton Harris Bequest

Measurements and weight

Diameter: 24 cm
Height: 4.8 cm

Place(s) associated

  • Castel Durante ⪼ The Marches ⪼ Italy
  • Urbino ⪼ The Marches ⪼ Italy

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1927) by Harris, Frederick Leverton


16th Century
Circa 1520 CE - 1530 CE


Dishes decorated with heads of women or men, have traditionally been attributed to Castel Durante, but may equally well have been made in Urbino. This is one of a small group decorated with young women wearing elaborate parade helmets. The only dated example, of 1522, is in the Museo Civico, Pesaro. Inscribed `FAVSTINA', it differs from the rest of the group in having a border of bound leaves and fruits. The others are `DEIDAMIA' in the Kunstgewerbe¬museum, Berlin.`BRADAMANTE BEL' at the Ceramic Museum at Sèvres, and later, and painted in a different style, `MARFISA' in the Museo Internationale delle Ceramiche at Faenza. Closely related to Deidamia is a small group of dishes with girls wearing visor-like headdresses and a cloth snood enclosing their hair at the back of their head: `CARENDINA' in the Lehman collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, `TARSIA B [Bella]' in the Gambier¬-Parry collec¬tion at the Courtauld Institute Galleries, London, and `PHILOMENA' in the Metropolitan Museum. The Fitzwilliam Museum's MARTA B' differs from all these in having an extremely long and slender neck, a zoomorphic helmet as opposed to one decorated with grotesque masks, wings or shell-like coils, and an arched name scroll instead of a coiling ribbon passing behind her shoulders. In this respect it resembles two dishes decorated with heads of men wearing Saracen-style helmets and having an arched scroll over their head bearing their name, 'CATELINA' and 'SANSONE'. There are several further dishes decorated with men wearing parade helmets with their names on scrolls below, including SCANDERBECH in the Musée des Arts décoratifs Lyon, and CORNELIO in the Louvre.

School or Style


People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Decoration composed of high-temperature colours ( blue, green, yellow, orange, and manganese)

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production

Tin-glazing : Buff earthenware, tin-glazed overall; the reverse severely crazed. Painted in blue, green, yellow, orange, and manganese.

Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: MA separated by the helmet from RTA B on scroll over woman's head

  • Text: MARTA B
  • Location: On scroll on front
  • Method of creation: Painted in blue
  • Type: Inscription

Inscription present: or 602

  • Text: 662
  • Location: On the base
  • Method of creation: In blue, after firing
  • Type: Number

References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.63-1927
Primary reference Number: 79249
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Saturday 27 January 2024 Last processed: Thursday 1 February 2024

Associated departments & institutions

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

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