Skip to main content

Virgin and Child: C.2244-1928

An image of Bowl

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: Gallery 27 (Glaisher)


Virgin and Child


Maker: Unknown (Uncertain)


  • Bowl
  • pilgrim's souvenir bowl



Maiolica pilgrim's souvenir bowl, painted in polychrome with the Virgin holding the Christ Child in front of Santa Casa.

Pale yellowish-buff earthenware, tin-glazed overall. Painted in greyish-blue, sage-green, yellow, orange, brown, and manganese. Circular with curved sides, standing on a low footring.
Inside, the Virgin holding the Christ Child stands between sprays of foliage in front of the Santa Casa. Round the rim between greyish-blue lines there are alternating sprays of greyish-blue and yellow leaves, interrupted by the words `CON.POL.DI.S.CASA' (with dust of the Holy House) in manganese. Outside, there are two greyish-blue bands below the rim, which is yellow.


History note: Jolley's, Cambridge, from whom purchased on 11 July 1908 by Dr J.W.L. Glaisher for £1.10.0. (MS Cat. 2820). Jolley bought the bowl in the Corn Exchange, Cambridge. Glaisher could not remember its history in detail but thought Mr Jolley told him that it was owned by an architect from Bedford.

Legal notes

Dr J.W.L. Glaisher Bequest

Measurements and weight

Diameter: 10.9 cm
Height: 3.9 cm

Place(s) associated

  • Pesaro ⪼ The Marches ⪼ Italy
  • Loreto ⪼ The Marches ⪼ Italy

Acquisition and important dates

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


18th Century
19th Century
Circa 1700 CE - 1800 CE Circa 1800 CE - 1900 CE


According to the legend related by Pietro Giorgio da Teramo, about 1470-3, the Virgin Mary's home at Nazareth was carried by angels to Tersatto in Yugoslavia on 10 March 1291 to save it from the Infidels. On 10 December 1294 it was moved again to a forest near Recanati but, because of brigands in the area, it was moved in August 1295 to a hilltop. This site in turn proved unfavourable because two brothers robbed the pilgrims who went there, and after one brother murdered the other, the angels transported the house to its final resting place at Loreto. During the late Middle Ages Loreto developed into an important pilgrimage centre, and a great church, completed in 1500, was built around the `house' which was encased in an elaborate marble rivestimento during the early sixteenth century. In addition to the Holy House, pilgrims came to venerate a statue of the Virgin and the Holy Bowl said to have been used by her.

Souvenir bowls for pilgrims bear the words 'CON POL DI S CASA' (con polvere di Santa Casa), referring to the adding of dust from the sweeping of the Holy House to the clay from which they were made. Bowls like this one are fairly common. The scene inside was probably copied from a woodcut on one of the printed attestations, which pilgrims acquired as evidence of their visit to the shrine. The Virgin is shown wearing a stiff robe similar to that worn by the famous statue, and stands in front of the church of the Santa Casa. Another common design is painted in baroque style, mainly in blue and yellow. The origin of most of these bowls is uncertain. Some can be attributed to Castelli, and it seems likely that the others were made near Loreto, or elsewhere in the Marches.

People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

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

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production

Throwing : Pale yellowish-buff earthenware, tin-glazed overall, and painted in greyish-blue, sage-green, yellow, orange, brown, and manganese.

Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: on acquisition the bowl bore a label, now missing

  • Text: old majolica made from the dust of the shrine and pilgrims feet at Loretto. Very rare.
  • Method of creation: Hand-written
  • Type: Label
  • Location: On front below figures
  • Method of creation: Painted in manganese
  • Type: Inscription

References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.2244-1928
Primary reference Number: 79438
Old object number: 2820
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Monday 24 April 2023 Last processed: Friday 8 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) "Virgin and Child" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-07-24 13:28:29

Citation for Wikipedia

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

{{cite web|url= |title=Virgin and Child |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-07-24 13:28:29|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=""
        alt="Virgin and Child"
        class="img-fluid" />
        <figcaption class="figure-caption text-info">Virgin and Child</figcaption>

Sign up for updates

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