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Title: Maiolica
Author: Fortnum, Charles Drury Edward
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                SOUTH KENSINGTON MUSEUM ART HANDBOOKS.

                      EDITED BY WILLIAM MASKELL.

                           No. 4.--MAIOLICA.



_These Handbooks are reprints of the dissertations prefixed to the large
catalogues of the chief divisions of works of art in the Museum at South
Kensington; arranged and so far abridged as to bring each into a
portable shape. The Lords of the Committee of Council on Education
having determined on the publication of them, the editor trusts that
they will meet the purpose intended; namely, to be useful, not alone for
the collections at South Kensington but for other collections, by
enabling the public at a trifling cost to understand something of the
history and character of the subjects treated of._

_The authorities referred to in each book are given in the large
catalogues; where will also be found detailed descriptions of the very
numerous examples in the South Kensington Museum._

                                                                  W. M.

_August, 1875._



                               MAIOLICA

                                  BY

                      C. DRURY E. FORTNUM, F.S.A.

                        WITH NUMEROUS WOODCUTS.

                            [Illustration]

         _Published for the Committee of Council on Education_

                                  BY

                   SCRIBNER, WELFORD, AND ARMSTRONG,
                               NEW YORK.
                                 1876.



LIST OF WOODCUTS.


                                                                    PAGE

Persian wall tile                                                      7

Damascus plate                                                        13

Hispano-moresque vase                                                 15

Rhodian plate                                                         16

Vase with imitative Arabic inscription                                17

Fragment of Damascus vase, from Pisa                                  19

Siculo-moresque bowl                                                  20

Tondo by Luca della Robbia                                            25

Betrothal deep plate, Gubbio                                          30

Plateau, with portrait, Pesaro (?)                                    31

Sgraffiato circular dish                                              33

Vase, Gubbio (?)                                                      38

Dish or plateau, Urbino                                               40

Circular dish, Urbino                                                 41

Plate, a maiolica painter                                             44

Florentine mark                                                       48

Vases, &c., from the manuscript of Piccolpasso                        53

Dish, with portrait                                                   64

Ancient Persian plate                                                 68

Rhodian shallow bowl                                                  70

Damascus marks                                                        71

Plateau, Malaga (?)                                                   78

 “  Spanish                                                           81

Dish, Valencia                                                        82

Hispano-moresque marks                                                83

Inscription on a vase                                                 84

Sgraffiato bowl                                                       87

Plateau, early Tuscan (?)                                             90

Tazza plate, Caffaggiolo                                              91

Plate, Caffaggiolo                                                    91

Ewer, or large pitcher                                                93

Vase, Caffaggiolo                                                     95

Drug-vase, Siena                                                      97

Plate, Siena                                                          98

Plate, by Maestro Benedetto                                           98

Mark of Benedetto                                                     99

Mark on Mr. Henderson’s dish                                          99

Mark on dish in Hôtel Cluny                                          101

Bacile on dish, with portrait                                        105

 “ incredulity of St. Thomas                                         107

Pesaro inscription                                                   109

Vase, Gubbio                                                         112

Dish, two horsemen                                                   113

Plaque, St. Sebastian                                                116

Bowl                                                                 117

Tazza or bowl                                                        117

Deep tazza, Hercules and Antæus                                      120

Plateau                                                              121

Mark (probably of Giorgio) with paraphe                              122

Marks on a plate in the British museum                               123

Small tazza, “the stream of life”                                    124

Fac-simile of Giorgio’s mark                                         125

Plate, Castel Durante                                                129

Vase     “       “                                                   131

Mark, Castel Durante                                                 132

Tondino   “     “                                                    133

Fruttiera “     “                                                    133

Shallow basin   “                                                    134

Dish, with portrait of Perugino                                      135

Mark and inscription of Nicola da Urbino                             139

Mark, &c., of Guido                                                  142

Pilgrim’s bottle, Urbino                                             143

Mark of Francesco Durantino                                          151

Dish, with Cupids, Diruta                                            156

Fabriano mark                                                        157

Another                                                              158

Viterbo, part of a border                                            159

Inscription on a Roman vase                                          161

Mark and date on a Faenza plate                                      165

Plate, Faenza                                                        167

Mark on the same plate                                               167

Plate, Faenza                                                        168

Inscription, Baldasara Manara                                        169

Monogram of F. R.                                                    170

Tazza, Faenza                                                        171

Plate, Forlì                                                         175

Inscription, with portrait-heads                                     176

Vase, Ferrara                                                        178

Plateau, Venice                                                      182

   “     Venice                                                      184

Vase, uncertain fabrique                                             185

Dish, Tuscan (?)                                                     186



MAIOLICA.



CHAPTER I.


It is right, first, to explain that in this dissertation we shall make
constant use of two or three words borrowed from foreign languages; one
is _botega_ or _bottega_, implying something between a workshop and an
artist’s studio, which it would be difficult to express by a single
English word: another is _fabrique_, meaning the private establishment
of a master potter of that day, the idea of which cannot be so well
conveyed by factory, pottery, or studio (itself an imported word), all
of which are therein combined and modified.

The history of pottery and its manufacture is a subject of great extent;
because from a very early period of human existence, known to us only by
the tangible memorials of primitive inhabitants, the potter’s art
appears to have been practised. At first the vessels were of coarse
clay, rude and sun-dried or ill-baked, and occasionally ornamented with
concentric and transverse scratches; from which state they gradually
developed to the exquisite forms and decoration of the Greek pottery;
but it would seem that however universal the production of vessels of
baked clay, the art of applying to them a vitreous covering or glaze was
an invention which emanated from the east, from India or Egypt, Assyria
or Babylon.

On this point Dr. Birch, in the introduction to his erudite work on
ancient pottery, says: “The desire of rendering terra-cotta less porous,
and of producing vessels capable of retaining liquids, gave rise to the
covering of it with a vitreous enamel or glaze. The invention of glass
has hitherto been generally attributed to the Phœnicians; but opaque
glasses or enamels as old as the eighteenth dynasty, and enamelled
objects as early as the fourth, have been found in Egypt. The employment
of copper to produce a brilliant blue coloured enamel was very early,
both in Babylonia and Assyria; but the use of tin for a white enamel, as
recently discovered in the enamelled bricks and vases of Babylonia and
Assyria, anticipated, by many centuries, the re-discovery of that
process in Europe in the fifteenth century, and shows the early
application of metallic oxides. This invention apparently remained for
many centuries a secret among the eastern nations only, enamelled
terra-cotta and glass forming articles of commercial export from Egypt
and Phœnicia to every part of the Mediterranean. Among the Egyptians and
Assyrians enamelling was used more frequently than glazing, and their
works are consequently a kind of fayence, consisting of a loose frit or
body, to which an enamel adheres, after only a slight fusion. After the
fall of the Roman empire the art of enamelling terra-cotta disappeared
among the Arab and Moorish races, who had retained a traditional
knowledge of the process. The application of a transparent vitreous
coating or glaze over the entire surface, like the varnish of a picture,
is also referable to a high antiquity, and was universally adopted,
either to enhance the beauty of single colours or to promote the
combination of many. Innumerable fragments and remains of glazed vases,
fabricated by the Greeks and Romans, not only prove the early use of
glazing, but also exhibit in the present day many of the noblest efforts
of the potter’s art.”

It is true that on the Greek, Etruscan, and Roman pottery a subdued and
hardly apparent glazing was applied to the surface of the pieces, but it
is so slight as to leave a barely appreciable effect upon the eye,
beyond that which might be produced by a mechanical polish, and so
thinly laid on as almost to defy attempts at proving its nature by
chemical investigation; it is, however, supposed to have been produced
by a dilute aluminous soda glass, without any trace of lead in its
composition, the greater portion of which was absorbed into the
substance of the piece, thereby increasing its hardness and leaving only
a faint polish on the surface of the ware.

In Egypt and the east the use of a distinct glaze (_invetriatura_ of the
Italians), covering the otherwise more porous substance of the vessel,
appears to have been known and to have arrived at great perfection at a
very remote period. It was in fact a superior ware, equivalent to the
porcelain of our days, and from the technical excellence of some of the
smaller pieces has been frequently, but wrongly, so called.

It will perhaps be as well, before entering further into the
consideration of the subject, to define and arrange the objects of our
attention under general heads.

Pottery (_Fayence_, _Terraglia_), as distinct from porcelain, is formed
of potter’s clay mixed with marl of argillaceous and calcareous nature,
and sand, variously proportioned, and may be classed under two
divisions: Soft (_Fayence à pâte tendre_), and Hard (_Fayence à pâte
dure_), according to the nature of the composition or the degree of heat
under which it has been fired in the kiln. What is known generally in
England as earthenware is soft, while stone ware, queen’s ware, &c. are
hard. The characteristics of the soft wares are a paste, or body, which
may be scratched with a knife or file, and fusibility, generally, at the
heat of a porcelain furnace.

These soft wares may be again divided into four subdivisions: unglazed,
lustrous, glazed, and enamelled. Among the three first of these
subdivisions may be arranged almost all the ancient pottery of Egypt,
Greece, Etruria, and Rome; as also the larger portion of that in general
use among all nations during mediæval and modern times. We shall be
occupied with the glazed and enamelled wares: the first of which may be
again divided into siliceous or glass glazed, and plumbeous or lead
glazed.

In these subdivisions the foundation is in all cases the same. The mixed
clay or “paste” or “body” (varied in composition according to the nature
of the glaze to be superimposed) is formed by the hand, or on the wheel,
or impressed into moulds; then slowly dried and baked in a furnace or
stove, after which, on cooling, it is in a state to receive the glaze.
This is prepared by fusing sand or other siliceous material with potash
or soda to form a translucent glass, the composition, in the main, of
the glaze upon siliceous wares. The addition of a varying but
considerable quantity of the oxide of lead, by which it is rendered more
easily fusible but still translucent, constitutes the glaze of plumbeous
wares: and the further addition of the oxide of tin produces an enamel
of an opaque white of great purity, which is the characteristic glazing
of stanniferous or tin-glazed wares. In every case the vitreous
substance is reduced to the finest powder by mechanical and other means,
being milled with water to the consistency of cream; into this the dry
and absorbent baked piece is dipped and withdrawn, leaving a coating of
the material of the bath adhering to its surface. A second firing, when
quite dry, fuses this coating into a glazed surface on the piece,
rendering it lustrous and impermeable to liquids. The two former of
these glazes may be variously coloured by the admixture of metallic
oxides, as copper for green, iron for yellow, &c.; but they are
nevertheless translucent, and show the natural colour of the baked clay
beneath.


VITREOUS OR GLASS-GLAZED WARES.

The vitreous, silico-alcaline or glass-glazed wares, were of very
ancient date and in all probability had their origin in the east, in
Egypt, or India, or Phœnicia; indeed the discovery of glass, which has
always been attributed to the latter country, would soon direct the
potter’s attention to a mode of covering his porous vessel of baked
earth with a coating of the new material; but the ordinary baked clay
would not take or hold the glaze, which rose in bubbles and scaled off,
refusing to adhere to the surface, and it became necessary to form the
pieces of a mixed material, consisting of much siliceous sand, some
aluminous earth, and probably a small portion of alcali, thus rendering
it of a nature approximating to that of the glaze, and to which the
latter firmly adhered. In some instances, on the finer examples which
may probably have been exposed to a higher temperature in the oven, the
glaze and the body of the piece have become so incorporated as to
produce a semi-translucent substance, analogous to some artificial
porcelains. In its nature this glaze is translucent, and accordingly we
find that when ornamented with designs, they are executed directly on
the “biscuit” or unglazed surface of the piece, which then receives its
vitreous covering through which they are apparent. By means of an oxide
of copper the exquisite turquoise blue of ancient Egypt, “scarcely
rivalled after thirty centuries of human experience,” was produced. The
green colour was, perhaps, given by means of another oxide of the same
metal; violet by manganese or gold, yellow by silver or perhaps by iron,
and the rarer red perhaps by the protoxide of copper. We also find that
bricks and vases of similar glazing, brought to its greatest perfection
in Egypt, were made by the Babylonians and Assyrians.

Throughout Babylonia the sites of ancient buildings afford fragments of
glazed pottery. The glaze of those brought from Borsippa by the abbé
Beauchamp, in 1790, was analysed and found to contain neither the oxides
of lead nor tin, but to be an alcaline silicate with alumina, coloured
by metallic oxides. A more recent analysis of Assyrian examples shows
that with a base of silicate of soda or soda glass and oxide of tin the
opaque white has been produced, being the earliest recorded example of
“enamelled” ware. A small quantity of oxide of lead was also found in
the blue glaze on tiles from Babylonia. At Warka, probably the ancient
Ur of the Chaldees, Mr. Loftus discovered numerous coffins or
sarcophagi, piled one upon another to the height of forty-five feet, of
peculiar form, and made of terra-cotta glazed with a siliceous glaze of
bluish-green colour. They are formed somewhat like a shoe, an opening
being left at the upper and wider end for the insertion of the body, and
closed by an oval lid which, as well as the upper part of the coffin, is
ornamented with figures and plants in relief. They are supposed to be of
the Sassanian period.

The metallic lustre in decoration was applied, apparently at an early
time, to pottery glazed with a siliceous coating, and appears to have
established itself in Persia. On specimens from Arabia it is also found,
and its use in combination with this glaze may possibly have preceded
the manufacture of lustred wares coated with the stanniferous enamel, by
the eastern potters of the Balearic islands, Spain, and Sicily.

In northern India, at Sind, and in Persia, wares are made at the present
day of precisely the same character as the ancient pottery under
consideration. Pieces from the former locality, which were exhibited at
the International Exhibition of 1871, are composed of a sandy
argillaceous frit, ornamented with pattern in cobalt blue beneath a
siliceous glaze. Indeed their agreement in technical character with some
of the pottery of the ancient Egyptians and Assyrians, and with that
produced in Syria and Persia during the fourteenth, fifteenth, and
sixteenth centuries, is most remarkable. Persia also now produces
inferior wares of the same class, specimens of which, as well as some of
those from India, are preserved in the South Kensington museum: the
engraving on the opposite page represents a wall tile (no. 623) of the
seventeenth century.

We thus see how widely spread, and at how early a period, the use of
this most ancient mode of glazing was established and brought to
perfection. It was the parent of all those wares now known as Persian,
Damascus, Rhodian, or Lindus.


PLUMBEOUS, OR LEAD GLAZED WARES.

The silico-plumbeous or lead-glazed wares were for many ages and still
are the most common, and, in Europe, the most widely spread class of
pottery: indeed, throughout the northern and western countries lead, in
combination with glass, seems to have

[Illustration]

been the earliest and until the fifteenth century the only means known
of glazing soft pottery.

We have seen that a certain amount of lead has been found in some of
the blue coloured glazes of Babylonia, and (says Dr. Percy) “probably
employed as a flux;” if so, this might have been the spring of its
general adoption for the purpose of producing a more easily fusible and
therefore a more ready and more manageable coating; but in the east it
does not seem to have supplanted the more elegant and purer siliceous
glaze.

Fragments of Græco-Roman pottery from Tarsus, lamps from the
neighbourhood of Naples, and other examples of a highly glazed pottery
from various antique sites which have all the appearance of a plumbeous
composition, are preserved in many collections, as at the Louvre,
Naples, the British museum, &c. The paste of which these examples are
formed is to all appearance an ordinary potter’s clay, generally of a
buff colour, and in no way similar in character to that of the Egyptian
or Assyrian wares, glazed with a true glass. The adhesion of the
vitreous coating to the surface, and its perfect adaptability to the
irregularities of the shaped and moulded pieces, prove its affinity for
the paste of which they are made, and indirectly that its composition is
not the same as that of the Egyptian or Assyrian glaze.

It is worthy of remark that nearly all these specimens are found in the
south of Europe, examples rarely occurring even at Rome; and, indeed, it
is not improbable that the use of this glaze had hardly been adopted by
the artistic potters before their art, together with all others, had
degenerated under the Lower Empire. The superabundance of the precious
metals and other rich material, more appreciated by the powerful than
the priceless treasures which art had formed from common clay, and which
had been the delight of a more refined state of society, led finally to
a total neglect of the higher branches of ceramic manufacture.

It is not unlikely that plumbeous glaze may have been introduced by
Greek or oriental potters into southern Italy. We learn from the monk
Theophilus that the art of decorating fictile vessels with vitreous
colours was practised by the Byzantine Greeks, who would have carried it
there. This statement, in all probability, refers to the lead glazed
wares and not to the tin enamel, the former of which, as we have seen,
was known earlier than his time to the potters of Tarsus, Pompeii, &c.,
and it is reasonable to believe that the art may have been preserved in
Byzantium when lost, or nearly lost, in Italy. Perhaps, in combination
with incised ornament the use of this glaze never ceased in that country
from the eighth and ninth centuries until the introduction or discovery
of the stanniferous enamel in the fifteenth century; and we find that
the earliest glazed wares of that country, the _sgraffiati_, the
painted, and the _mezza maiolica_ wares, are covered with this
description of vitreous surface.

In the eleventh century churches built in various places were decorated
with discs and “ciotole” of glazed and painted terra-cotta. The
researches of the abbé Cochet at Bouteilles have shown that glazed
pottery was in use in the north of France in the Anglo-norman period of
the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, or perhaps even in earlier
time. Examples of glazed and painted tiles of the fourteenth century are
preserved in the British museum. As before stated, this glaze is
composed of silica with varying proportions of potash or soda and of
oxide of lead, by which addition it is rendered more easily fusible but
remains transparent.

To obtain a white surface was, however, desirable, the colour of the
paste beneath the glaze being generally of a dull red or buff and
ill-adapted as a ground for the display of coloured ornamentation. To
supply this want, before the invention of the tin enamel, an intervening
process was adopted. A white argillaceous earth of the nature of
pipeclay was purified and milled with water, and thus applied over the
coarser surface of the piece in the same manner as the glaze: again
dried, or slightly fixed by fire, it was ready to receive the
translucent coat through which the white “slip” or “engobe” became
apparent. It is easy to conceive that by scratching a design or pattern
through this white applied surface to the darker clay beneath, before
fixing in the fire, a ready mode of decoration presented itself without
the use of colour, to be covered with but visible through the glaze;
hence the early incised or “sgraffiato” ware, one of the primitive modes
of decorating glazed pottery.

Passeri states that pottery works existed from remote periods in the
neighbourhood of Pesaro, as proved by remains of furnaces and fragments
of Roman time and tiles with the stamp of Theodoric; that during the
dark ages the manufacture was neglected, but that it revived after 1300,
and that it then became the fashion in that city to adorn the church
towers and façades with discs and “bacini” of coloured and glazed
earthenware; a practice which had been in use at Pisa and other cities
as early as the eleventh century. The origin of this custom has been
much discussed; and the reader will find an account of it in the
introduction to the detailed catalogue of Maiolica in the South
Kensington collection. Occasionally, or rather frequently, circular and
square slabs of porphyry and serpentine were used on the same building,
concurrently with the glazed earthenware, as on the tower of Sta. Maria
Maggiore at Rome; and, indeed, this mode of enrichment attached to the
architecture of the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries is in accordance with
that produced by the enamelled discs and inlaid stones on processional
crosses and church plate of the same period.

The only instance, observed by the writer, of the occurrence of these
“bacini” of glazed ware in domestic architecture is seen over the
windows of the palazzo Fava in Bologna. This style of decoration ceased
entirely during the course of the fourteenth century.

Passeri instances the use of glaze on tiles upon a tomb in Bologna,
opposite the church of S. Domenico, dated about 1100; and he further
states, but we know not upon what authority, that it was about the year
1300 that the method of covering the clay with a “slip” or “engobe” of
white earth, or the coarser earth of Verona, was first adopted. Slightly
baked, it was glazed with “marzacotto” (oxide of lead and glass),
applied wet and again fired; and this glaze was variously coloured
yellow, green, black, and blue, by iron, copper, manganese, and cobalt.
A similar method of coating the rough and porous baked clay seems to
have been known also at a very early period in the north of Europe, and
to have been in use throughout France, Germany, and England.



CHAPTER II.

ENAMELLED OR STANNIFEROUS GLAZED WARES.


It was found that by the addition of a certain portion of the oxide of
tin to the composition of glass and oxide of lead the character of the
glaze entirely alters. Instead of being translucent it becomes, on
fusion, an opaque and beautifully white enamel, the intervening process
of covering the surface of the clay with a stratum of white earth before
glazing being unnecessary. It, moreover, was found to afford a better
ground for the application of coloured ornament. The process of
application was the same as for the “slip;” after immersion in the
enamel bath, and subsequent drying, the painting is applied upon the
absorbent surface; the piece being then subjected to the fire which, at
one application, fixes the colours and liquifies the glaze. This
“enamelled” pottery (_émaillée_) is by far the more important group of
the glazed wares, being susceptible of decoration by the lustre
pigments, as well as by painting in colours of great delicacy; and it
comprises the Hispano-moresque, the real Maiolica, and the perfected
earthenware of Italy and other countries.

It is true that the first trace of the application of oxide of tin to
produce a white opaque glazed surface is to be met with upon Babylonian
or Assyrian bricks, but we are disposed to think that it was then merely
used as a pigment to produce a white colour, and not as an application
to pottery for the production of a white opaque glaze capable of
receiving coloured enrichment by painting in other pigments. A
corroboration of this opinion would seem to exist in the fact that
throughout Asia Minor, Syria, Persia, and Egypt, a purely stanniferous
glaze on pottery has never been generally adopted, or taken the place of
that simple and beautiful siliceous coating, so dexterously applied and
with such richness of effect upon the Persian and Damascus earthenware.
Engraved is an example of an early Damascus plate (no. 6590), at South

[Illustration]

Kensington. Perhaps isolated and lying dormant in remote localities for
centuries, its use may have been learned by the Arabs, for its next
appearance is upon fragments of tiling apparently of their manufacture
or fashioned under their influence. How the knowledge of this enamel
travelled, when and where it was first used, and to what extent applied,
is still doubtful. We meet with an occasional fragment generally upon
mural decoration of uncertain date on various Arab sites, till at length
it becomes palpably appreciable in the Moorish potteries of Spain and
of the Balearic islands. The baron J. Ch. Davillier, in his excellent
work on pottery, states that he has not been able to discover any piece
which could reasonably be ascribed to a date anterior to the fourteenth
century, some two hundred years after the expulsion of the Saracens from
Spain. In Valencia, however, anterior to its conquest by Jayme I. of
Arragon in 1239, potteries had been long established, and were of such
importance that that monarch felt himself bound to protect the Moorish
potters of Xativa (San Filippo) by a special edict.

We must bear in mind that there were two periods of Mahommedan sway in
Spain, the first on the expulsion of the Gothic monarchy by the Arabs
and the establishment of the Caliphate at Cordova, in the eighth
century. Of the ceramic productions of this early period we have no
accurate knowledge, but we should expect to find them of similar
character to the siliceous glazed wares prevalent in the east. The
second period is after an interval of five centuries, in 1235, when the
Moors founded the kingdom of Granada, having driven out the Arabs. Then
first appear the wares usually known as Hispano-moresque, like the fine
vase (engraved) no. 8968, at South Kensington; for we find the tiles of
the Alhambra dating about 1300, the Alhambra vase about 1320, and
continuous abundant examples of tin glazed wares of Moorish origin,
until the period of the conquest of the country by Ferdinand and
Isabella; after which the pottery becomes more purely Spanish and
speedily declines.

Mr. Marryat remarks, in reference to the second or Moorish period, that
the art of the new invaders had the same origin as the old, but as we
have no specimens known to have been of the earlier or Arabian period we
cannot accept this verdict as conclusive. Moreover, some confusion has
arisen in classing together the glass glazed or siliceous pottery, with
or without metallic lustre, and the Moresque wares produced in Spain,
which are so distinctly characteristic as being enamelled with the
oxide of tin.

[Illustration]

We particularly refer to those somewhat rare examples of early siliceous
pottery, like the deep Rhodian plate next engraved, some enriched with
metallic lustre, others without, the designs upon all of which are
eminently Arabian or Saracenic, unreadable mock Arabic inscriptions
occurring (as in the textile fabrics of the same period) among the
ornaments; as in the thirteenth century vase in the woodcut, p. 17. Such
are the tiles of early date from various

[Illustration]

places in Persia and Arabia. Similar wares, of which there are specimens
at South Kensington, are supposed to have been made by oriental potters
in Sicily but it is difficult to say at what time. That island was
conquered by the Saracens in 827. Again, there is another variety of
pottery of Moresque character and ornamentation with vermicular pattern
in copper lustre on a seemingly stanniferous glaze, which is ascribed to
Moorish potters who went to Sicily and established works at Calata
Girone in the fourteenth century.

[Illustration]

It is not improbable that the existence in Spain of tin ores in
considerable abundance may have accidentally led to the discovery or to
the adoption of the stanniferous enamel, obtained by an admixture of the
oxide of that metal with glass and oxide of lead. We have no positive
proof of its use on pottery at an earlier date in any other country,
since the period of the Babylonian bricks. May there not be some truth
in the story of the Majorcan dishes built into the Pisan towers, and
that the single specimen of “Persian” ware found by the writer on the
church of Sta. Cecilia in that city, which in all probability was placed
there early in the twelfth century, may be one of the dishes brought
home by the Pisans, at a time anterior to the use of the tin enamel in
Majorca?

There is generally a foundation for fabulous stories, and it is not
unlikely that some few of those trophies were so applied; the more so as
the taste for such architectural decoration prevailed at that period. At
the same time there can be no doubt that many of the bacini adorning
churches in various parts of Italy, including Pisa, were of native
Italian manufacture, as would seem probable from their compositions and
designs. Engravings of these, and of the fragment of oriental ware above
alluded to, are published in the Archæologia, vol. xlii. We are indebted
to the council of the Society of antiquaries for permission (see next
page) to use the latter block.

The earliest traces of the use of stanniferous enamel glaze in Europe,
known to us, is always in connection with a decoration, produced by the
reduction of certain metallic salts in the reverberatory furnace,
leaving a thin film upon the surface, which gives that beautiful and
rich effect known as _reflet métallique_, _nacré_, _cangiante_,
_rubino_, _reverberato_, &c., and in England as lustred ware. In Italy
the use of a metallic lustre was apparently known and practised previous
to the introduction of the tin enamel, for we have abundant examples of
early “mezza-maiolica” from the potteries of Pesaro or Gubbio, glazed
only with the oxide of lead and glass, and which are brilliantly lustred
with the metallic colours. None of these can, however, be referred to an
earlier date than the latter half of the fifteenth century.

Of whom, then, did the Italian potters learn this art? We have no answer
to the question in any historical record, and we are forced to infer
that the name by which this lustred ware was known at the time and in
the country of its production, reflected that of

[Illustration]

the place from which it was derived. Accordingly we find that the
coarser lead glazed lustred ware was known as “mezza-maiolica,” while
that more nearly resembling its original, by the use of the tin enamel,
was known as “maiolica.” That the Moorish potters of Majorca conveyed
this knowledge, and that the Italians named their ware after that of the
island, would seem a reasonable conclusion. M. Jacquemart, however,
thinks it equally probable that although the Majorcan wares were well
known in Italy, this art may really have been communicated by Persian
potters, or their pupils, coming to the eastern ports of Italy; and that
the style of decoration on the early Italian lustred wares is more
Persian than Moresque. This would also in some measure explain why the
lustrous colours were used at some potteries anterior to the adoption
of the stanniferous enamel. The woodcut represents a bowl at South
Kensington, no. 503, possibly of this manufacture, and of great rarity.
In date it is somewhat late; about 1490.

[Illustration]

The general term “Maiolica,” also spelt “Majolica,” has long been and is
still erroneously applied to all varieties of glazed earthenware of
Italian origin. We have seen that it was not so originally but that the
term was restricted to the lustred wares, which resemble in that respect
those of the island from which they had long been imported into Italy.
It is a curious fact, proving their estimation in that country, that
nearly all the specimens of Hispano-moresque pottery which adorn our
cabinets and enrich our museums have been procured in Italy;
comparatively few pieces having been found in Spain.

Scaliger states in reference to the Italian pottery as comparable with
the porcelain of China, that the former derived its name from Majorca,
of which the wares are most excellent. Fabio Ferrari also, in his work
upon the origin of the Italian language, states his belief “that the use
of majolica, as well as the name, came from Majorca, which the ancient
Tuscan writers called Maiolica.” Thus Dante writes:--“Tra l’isola di
Cipri e Maiolica;” showing the then mode of spelling the name of the
island, and it would seem but natural to distinguish an imitation of its
produce as “à la Maiolica.”

The “mezza-maiolica” was the coarser ware, formed of potter’s earth,
covered with a white “slip” upon which the subject was painted; then
glazed with the common “marza-cotto” or lead glaze, over which the
lustre pigments were applied. The “maiolica,” on the other hand, was the
tin enamelled ware similarly lustred. As before stated, these terms were
originally used with reference only to the lustred wares, but towards
the middle of the sixteenth century they seem to have been generally
applied to the glazed earthenware of Italy. We think with M. Jacquemart,
M. Darcel, Mr. J. C. Robinson, and others, that the word _maiolica_
should be again restricted to the lustred wares, although in Italy and
elsewhere it is habitually used to designate all the numerous varieties
of glazed earthenware, with the exception of the more common “terraglia”
and in distinction from porcelain.

The Germans ascribe the discovery of the tin enamel glazing to a potter
of Schelestadt, in Alsace, whose name is unknown but who died in the
year 1283; and in the convent of St. Paul at Leipzic is a frieze of
large glazed tiles, with heads in relief, the date of which is stated to
be 1207. The potters’ art is said to have developed itself in that
country at an earlier period than in Italy; rilievo architectural
decorations, monuments with figures in high relief, and other works of
great artistic merit having been executed in 1230 at Breslau, where
there is a monument to Henry IV. of Silesia who died in 1290, an
important work in this material. Later, at Nuremberg, the elder Veit
Hirschvögel was born in 1441, and by him the use of the tin glaze was
known. Specimens ascribed to his hand and dating from 1470 are preserved
in museums. At Strehla a pulpit of glazed terra-cotta is of the date
1565, and at Saltzburg is the wonderful chimney-piece of the fifteenth
century, still in its original position in the Schloss. At that time,
also, Hans Kraut, of Villengen in Swabia, produced good works, but it is
probable that many of these larger examples are covered with an
admirably manipulated green or brown glaze which is produced without the
admixture of tin.

In Italy history has always awarded the honour of its discovery to Luca
della Robbia, whose first great work was executed in 1438; and however
recent observation may lead to the assumption that its use was known in
the Italian potteries before his time, there can be no doubt that his
was not merely an application of a well-known process to a new purpose,
but that he really did invent an enamel of peculiar whiteness and
excellence, better adapted to his purpose and of somewhat different
composition from that in use at any of the potteries of his time.



CHAPTER III.


We have already seen that in the twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth
centuries native wares were produced in various places, some of which
still exist in the towers and façades of churches, and of a palace at
Bologna. These are lead glazed, rudely painted or with single colours,
and in some instances “sgraffiato” proving that the use of a white
“slip,” or “engobe” was known in Italy at that period, as affirmed by
Passeri, who further asserts that in 1300 the art assumed a more
decorative character, under the then lords of Pesaro, the Malatestas.
Having thus attained an even opaque white surface the development of its
artistic decoration steadily advanced. The colours used were yellow,
green, blue, and black, to which we may add a dull brownish red, noticed
on some of the Pisan “bacini.” Passeri states that the reflection of the
sun’s rays from the concave surfaces of these “bacini” at Pesaro was
most brilliant, and hence it has been wrongly inferred that they were
enriched with metallic lustre. We believe that this effect may arise
from iridescence on the surface of the soft lead glaze, easily
decomposed by the action of the atmosphere in the neighbourhood of the
sea.

Pieces exist, of considerable merit, which may be ascribed to an earlier
period than that on which we find the earliest date. A votive plaque
preserved in the museum of the hôtel Cluny, at Paris, has the sacred
monogram surrounded by the legend >Nicolaus · de · Ragnolis · ad ·
honorem · dei · et · Sancti · Michaelis · fecit · fieri · ano · 1475>. We
have always considered this plaque as of Faenza, but it would seem that
MM. Jacquemart and Darcel are disposed to ascribe it to Caffaggiolo.
The next example, two years later in sequence of date, is in the
possession of Mr. Cook; it represents the Virgin seated on a throne in
an architectural framing, and holding the Child; it has all the
characteristics of a Tuscan origin and the glaze appears to be
stanniferous. We next have the Faenza plate in the Correr museum at
Venice, dated 1482, followed by the plaque ascribed to Forlì, 1489, and
one of Faenza, 1491. Other pieces, dated 1486 and 1487, are in other
collections. But we have no record or dated example of Italian pottery,
coated with the stanniferous enamel, previous to the first important
production by Luca della Robbia in 1438.

M. Jacquemart is of opinion that the use of the tin enamel was known on
pottery in Italy previous to its application to sculpture by that
artist, and in this opinion Mr. Robinson agrees; yet it is remarkable
that no record of such knowledge has descended to us. No enamelled
product of the early fabriques of Faenza or Caffaggiolo bears an earlier
date, nor of that of Pesaro where decoration by means of the lustre
pigments is believed to have preceded their application on enamelled
wares; whereas the use of the tin enamel by Luca on flat painted
surfaces is proved by the _tondo_ on the church of Or San Michele, the
lunette over a door at the Opera del Duomo, and the tiles on the tomb of
Benozzo Federighi, bishop of Fiesole, now in the church of S. Francesco
de Paolo below Bellosguardo, as Florentine evidences; and the twelve
circular discs, on which are painted allegorical figures of the twelve
months, are also to be referred to at South Kensington.

Mr. J. C. Robinson, in his catalogue of Italian sculpture, has given a
notice of the life and works of Luca della Robbia and his family, and a
description of the specimens ascribed to them and possessed by the
museum at South Kensington; the majority of these rank as works of
sculpture, but among the rest are the _tondi_, here mentioned, a
wood-cut from one of which we introduce. They are, in fact, circular
plaques of enamelled pottery painted on the plain surface with
allegorical representations of the months, in all probability by the
hand of Luca della Robbia himself. We quote Mr. Robinson’s description
of them from page 59 of that catalogue:--

[Illustration]

“Nos. 7632-7643. Luca della Robbia. A series of twelve circular
medallions, in enamelled terra-cotta, painted in _chiar’oscuro_, with
impersonations of the twelve months. Diameter of each, 1 foot 10½
inches. Vasari tells us that ‘Luca sought to invent a method of painting
figures and historical representations on flat surfaces of terra-cotta,
which, being executed in vitrified enamels, would secure them an endless
duration; of this he made an experiment on a medallion, which is above
the tabernacle of the four saints on the exterior of Or San Michele, on
the plane surface of which he delineated the instruments and emblems of
the builder’s arts, accompanied with beautiful ornaments. For the bishop
of Fiesole, in the church of San Brancazio, he also made a marble tomb
on which are the recumbent effigy of the bishop and three other
half-length figures besides, and in the pilasters of that work he
_painted_, on the flat, certain festoons and clusters of fruit and
foliage so skilfully and naturally, that, were they even _painted in oil
on panel_, they could not be more beautifully or forcibly rendered.’ We
have here a record of the fact that Luca, simultaneously with his
enamelled terra-cotta sculptures, also practised _painting_ in the same
vehicle on the flat, or, in other words, the art of majolica painting.
The monumental works before mentioned are now extant to attest the truth
of this account.

“From a careful and repeated study of the above-named works on the spot,
and likewise from the internal evidence of the technical qualities of
the vehicle, terra-cotta, enamel pigments, &c., the writer has now to
add to the list of Luca’s productions, in this especially interesting
branch, the present series of medallions, doubtless united originally in
a grand decorative work. Each roundel is a massive disc of terra-cotta,
of a single piece, evidently prepared to be built into a wall (or
vaulted ceiling) of some edifice. Round the margin of each is a
decorated moulding, in relief, of a characteristic Della Robbia type.
The surface within the narrow border is flat or plane, and the designs
are painted in two or three grisaille tints on a blue ground, of the
usual quiet sober tint affected in all the backgrounds and plane
surfaces of the relievo subjects. These consist of single figures of
_contadini_ or husbandmen, impersonating the agricultural operations of
the Florentine country, characteristic of each month of the year; and
although invested with a certain artistic charm of expression, the
various figures, each of which exhibits a different individual
character, may be taken as life portraits of the sturdy Tuscan peasants
of the day. A band or _fascia_ forming an inner border round each
subject, is ingeniously and fancifully divided into two unequal halves,
one being of a lighter tint than the general ground of the composition,
and the other half darker, thus indicating the night and the day; the
mean duration of each for every month, being accurately computed, set
off on the band accordingly, and noted in written characters on the
upper or daylight part, whilst the name of the month is written in large
capital letters at the bottom in white, on the dark ground of the
nocturnal portion. The sun pouring down a cone of yellow rays,
accompanied by the sign of the zodiac proper to each month, is also seen
on the left of the upper part of each margin, and the moon on the lower
half opposite to him.” The author gives further proof that these
medallions are the work of Luca della Robbia, believing the fact to be
as certain as anything not absolutely authenticated can be.

Luca della Robbia was born about the year 1400, and his name must ever
be associated with the discovery or adaptation on a large scale, and
improvement in composition, of stanniferous enamel. That the nature of
this enamel is different from what was used upon other pottery of the
time may be seen by a comparison of the two surfaces. The greater degree
of opacity and solidity in the former is a marked variation from that in
general use; so with the surface of his painted tiles. Perhaps the
earlier productions of the Caffaggiolo furnaces approach the nearest to
it. There is no piece, seemingly, of the production of a Florentine or
Tuscan pottery with a date before 1477, and this example would appear to
be tin-glazed. With that exception, the first pieces surfaced with the
stanniferous enamel are ascribed to the Caffaggiolo pottery and are
dated 1507 and 1509, some seventy years subsequent to its first recorded
use by Luca della Robbia; and we have no specimens which can with any
probability be ascribed to a period within a quarter of a century of its
habitual application by him. We cannot, therefore, find the slightest
evidence to disprove the assertion of Vasari and others that Luca was
the discoverer, for Italy, of this important improvement in the glazing
of earthenware vessels. It is not, however, unreasonable to suppose that
its composition may have been communicated to him by one of the Moorish
potters from Spain, and that, acting upon this communication, he made a
series of experiments resulting in the perfection to which he attained,
and which result was guarded as a family secret by two succeeding
generations.

A modification of this composition, perhaps also learnt from
Hispano-moorish potters, became gradually known and adopted at various
fabriques, spreading throughout the potteries of Italy, France, &c. We
are inclined to M. Jacquemart’s opinion that it first came into use at
Caffaggiolo, the fabrique established under the influence of the Medici
family, but cannot consent to his suggestion that Luca learnt there the
composition of the enamel. We agree with Mr. Robinson in giving the
precedence, or at any rate an equality in point of age, to Faenza, and
in ascribing to that place certain figures and groups in alto-rilievo,
bearing inscriptions in Gothic letters, the modelling and design of
which are more characteristic of the north of the Apennines than of the
Tuscan valley.

Andrea della Robbia, to whom his uncle’s mantle descended, also painted
occasionally on plane surfaces, as may be seen on tiles which cover the
flat surface of a “_lavabo_” in the sacristy of the church of Sta. Maria
Novella, in Florence. We would merely further note the fact that in 1520
the art was in decadence under the hand of Giovanni the son of Andrea,
Luca’s nephew, and that during the first quarter of that century various
imitators produced inferior works in the same style, copying the models
of the Della Robbia and the works of some other sculptors. By Giovanni’s
brother Girolamo it was introduced into France, where the château de
Madrid was decorated by him under the patronage of Francis the first.

In Italy, Agostino di Antonio di Duccio, said to be a pupil of Luca,
worked at Perugia in 1459-61, where he executed enamelled bas-reliefs on
the façade of the church of S. Bernardino, and in S. Domenico. Pier
Paolo di Agapito da Sassoferrato is said to have erected an altar in
this manner in the church of the Cappucini in Arceria, in the diocese of
Sinigaglia, in the year 1513. He was also a painter. An able modeller as
well as artist potter Maestro Giorgio Andreoli, of Gubbio, also appears
to have executed works in the manner of the Della Robbia. The practice
of enamelling large works modelled in terra-cotta would seem to have
gone out of repute before the end of the first half of the sixteenth
century; not perhaps so much from the secret of the glaze being known
only, as we are told, to the descendants of the Della Robbia family, as
from the want of demand for works in that material.

From the increased use of decorative tiles and the encouragement
afforded to the production of artistic pottery, furnaces and boteghe had
been established in various parts of northern and central Italy,
particularly in Romagna, in Tuscany, and in the lordship of Urbino,
where the manufacture was patronized at an early time by the ruling
family, as also by the Sforza at Pesaro. Here the first use of the
metallic lustre would appear to have been developed; but we have even
less historical evidence of the date of its earliest introduction than
in the case of the tin enamel. Before that great improvement was adopted
by any of the potteries in Italy, the pearly, the golden, and the ruby
lustre colours were produced at Pesaro, and perhaps at Gubbio where it
subsequently attained its greatest perfection. Pesaro being a coast town
of the Adriatic, and one where furnaces had long existed, would form a
ready asylum for oriental workmen fleeing from persecution in their own
country. It is reasonable to suppose that from them the use of these
metallic pigments was acquired, and accordingly we find early pieces
presumably of this fabrique, the decorative “motif” on which is eastern
to a marked degree. Painted wares had been produced anterior to the use
of the metallic pigments, and among them specimens are occasionally
found betraying Persian influence in their design.

[Illustration]

The outlines on the “mezza maiolica” of this period were traced in
manganese black or zaffre blue, with which last the shadings are also
indicated; the flesh is left white. A certain rigidity but truthfulness
is observable in the design, crude and wanting in relief, but precise
and free from timidity. A moresque border frequently surrounds a
coat-of-arms, portrait busts in profile of contemporary princes, or that
of a saint or heathen goddess; or the sacred monogram; or, again
(betrothal gifts) a heart with joined hands, as in the woodcut; or
portraits of ladies with a ribbon or banderole, on which the name is
inscribed with a complimentary adjective as “bella,” “diva,” and the
like; such are the principal subjects of these early _bacili_.

The admirable “madreperla” lustre of these pieces, changing in colour
and effect with every angle at which the light is reflected from their
brilliant surface, is the leading characteristic and special beauty of
this class of wares, which must have been in great request and produced
in considerable quantity. Pesaro and Diruta lay claim to their
production, and each fabrique has its champions.

[Illustration]

We are inclined to ascribe the earlier and more important productions to
Pesaro, and are disposed to consider the Diruta fabrique as a subsequent
and less important source of supply in respect to the quality of the
wares. These _bacili_ are nearly all of the same size and form; large
heavy dishes of flesh-coloured clay with deep sunk centres and a
projecting circular “giretto” behind, forming a foot or base; this is
invariably pierced with two lateral holes, for the purpose of
introducing a cord by which to suspend them to the wall, thus proving
that they were looked upon more as decorative pieces (_piatti di pompa_)
than for general use upon the table; the back is covered by a coarse
yellow glaze, the front having a surface whitened by slip and painted as
above-mentioned. The rim is sometimes ornamented in compartments (_a
quartiere_), or with chequered, “chevroné” or imbricated patterns, or
conventional flowers. Engraved (p. 31) is a fine plateau of early date:
no. 4078 at South Kensington.

The larger pieces of the period made at various places have a certain
general resemblance in the clumsy fashion, the dry archaic style of
drawing executed in blue outline, and in the diaper patterns of the
border. Glazed wares of polychrome and subject decoration were no doubt
produced before the introduction of the lustre colours and, judging from
examples which have come down to us, the forms seem to have been
partially derived from Persian, Hispano-moresque, and other oriental
originals; deep dishes with angular sides and narrow rims; others with a
wide border or side sloping at a gradual angle from the small circular
centre. The gothic element is, however, traceable on some early pieces
of north Italian origin.

A more careful investigation of the records of Italian families, and the
archives of the many towns at which potteries formerly existed, might
throw considerable light on the history and establishment of the various
fabriques and the marks and characteristics of their productions; but at
present we can only form an approximate opinion by comparison of the
examples existing in collections with signed examples by the same hand.
We agree in believing with Passeri that the potteries of Pesaro were of
very early date, probably anterior to Gubbio, and think that full weight
should be given to his statement that the use of the lustre pigments was
introduced from the former to the latter fabrique, where it attained to
unsurpassed excellence under the able management and improvement of Mº.
Giorgio but whether the furnaces of Faenza and Forlì were of earlier or
subsequent establishment to that of Pesaro is still a matter of
conjecture, and of Caffaggiolo and others we have no record. Of the
antiquity of these last there can be no doubt. But although producing at
the latter end of the fifteenth

[Illustration]

and early in the sixteenth centuries some of the most exquisite examples
of artistic decoration and of the perfection of manufacture in this
class of ceramics, we are unable to find a single proof of the use of
the lustrous metallic tints, or a single example of pottery so enriched,
which can with probability be ascribed to the Faenza furnaces. The same
remark applies to other potteries on the northern side of the Apennines.

The Piedmontese and Lombard cities do not appear to have encouraged the
potter’s art to an equal extent in the 15th and 16th centuries, neither
can we learn of any excellence attained in Venice till the establishment
of Durantine and Pesarese artists at that city in the middle of the
latter period. Possibly, the fine dish (engraved p. 33) may be of that
manufacture: the costumes have a Venetian character. Perhaps commerce
did for the Queen of the Adriatic by the importation of Rhodian,
Damascus, and other eastern wares, what native industry supplied to the
pomp and luxury of the hill cities of Umbria; for it must be borne in
mind that the finer sorts of enamelled or glazed pottery, decorated by
artistic hands, were only attainable by the richer class of purchasers;
more modest wares or wooden trenchers, and ancestral copper vessels,
contenting the middle class. The northern duchies, Ferrara, Rimini, and
Ravenna, also encouraged the art, but to a smaller extent than that of
Urbino. It would seem that the use of the white stanniferous enamel did
not become general in Italy until some years after the death of Luca
della Robbia, in 1481; and was not adopted by the potters of Umbria
before the end of the fifteenth century.



CHAPTER IV.


The history of the development, perfection, and decline of the ceramic
art of the renaissance in Italy is so intimately connected with and
centred round that of the dukedom of Urbino, that in tracing its
progress we must also briefly call to memory the fortunes and the
failures of that noble house.

In 1443 what had been but an unimportant mountain fief was erected into
a duchy, and the house of Montefeltro ruled a fair territory in the
person of the infamous Oddantonio, the first duke of Urbino. On his
violent death in 1444 Federigo, his illegitimate brother, succeeded to
the dukedom. Of enlightened mind, as well as of martial capacity, he
developed the native capabilities of the country and gathered about him
at the court of Urbino the science and learning of the period. He built
a noble castellated palace at Urbino, for the embellishment of which he
invited the leading artists of the day. A patron of all art, and a great
collector, he encouraged the manufacture of the maiolica wares which
flourished under his reign. On his death in 1482 his son Guidobaldo I.
continued his father’s patronage to the ceramic artists of the duchy,
although much occupied in the Italian wars consequent on the French
invasion by Charles VIII. Passeri states that fine maiolica (by which he
means that covered with the tin enamel) was introduced into Pesaro in
1500; and there is some reason to believe that the new process came from
Tuscany. It differed materially in composition and manufacture from the
“mezza majolica” wares to which it was very superior, and was known as
“Porcellana,” a name applied at that period in Italy to the choicer
description of enamelled earthenware. Passeri also states that in the
inventory of the ducal palaces a large quantity of painted “majolica”
vases were included under this name. The superior whiteness of the
enamel, more nearly approaching to that of oriental porcelain, was
probably the reason for its adoption; but we must not confound the term
as used in this sense with its technical meaning in reference to a
decorative design known as “a porcellana.”

The introduction of the new enamel, which afforded a better ground for
painting, did not cause the use of the bright metallic colours and
prismatic glaze to be relinquished at those potteries where it had
become established, but it appears to have stimulated a development in
the artistic productions of other places, the wares of which before that
period were less attractive. The botega of Maestro Giorgio at Gubbio
seems to have been at this time the great centre of the process of
embellishment with the golden and ruby metallic lustres; and, indeed, we
have little or no knowledge of artistic pottery produced at that
fabrique which is not so enriched. From some technicality in the process
of the manufacture, some local advantage, or some secret in the
composition, almost a monopoly of its use was established at Gubbio, for
we have the evidence of well-known examples that from the end of the
first to the commencement of the last quarter of the 15th century many
pieces painted by the artists of Pesaro, Urbino, and Castel Durante,
were sent there to receive the additional enrichment of the lustre
colours. Pieces may be seen in collections signed in blue by the artist
Francesco Xanto and others which have been subsequently lustred at
Gubbio, and again signed in the metallic pigment by the “maestro” of
that botega. At Diruta also its use appears to have been extensive
though not to so exclusive a degree nor on wares of such high character
as at Gubbio, neither are we enabled by the possession of examples to
conclude that the works or other fabriques were sent to Diruta for the
additional embellishment.

The crude drawing of the earlier ware improved very slowly; in 1502
tiles executed for the palace at Pesaro were still of sorry design; but
it developed by the introduction of half tints, the colouring of the
drapery, and in the composition of the groups of figures, inspired by
the works of Timoteo della Vite and other artists of the Umbrian school.
At Pesaro the art appears to have attained its highest perfection at the
botega of the Lanfranco family, about 1540-45.

The establishment of the ducal Court at Urbino naturally drew more
favour to the potteries of that city, and of its near neighbour Castel
Durante. The latter of these appears also to have been a seat of this
industry from very remote times, and not only to have furnished large
quantities of glazed earthenware but also artistic works of the highest
merit. Castel Durante not only produced fine wares at home but artists
of great ability emigrated from her, establishing themselves at various
places. Hence originally came the Fontana family, the most important
producers of the higher class of decorative pottery at Urbino. At Venice
Francesco Pieragnolo in 1545, accompanied by his father Gian-Antonio da
Pesaro, formed a botega; but his wares are not among the earliest dated
pieces made in that city, where we know that Mº Ludovico was producing
admirable works five years previously, and Mº Jacomo da Pesaro in 1542.
A member of the Fontana family, Camillo, younger brother of the
celebrated Orazio, went to Florence, and another Mº Camillo to Ferrara
in 1567, by the request of the then reigning duke, Alfonso II.; in 1600
we find that Maestro Diomede Durante had a pottery at Rome, producing
pieces painted by Gio. Paulo Savino, in the style of the Urbino
grotesques on white ground, which had been brought to such perfection by
the Fontana family. Another artist of this family, Guido di Savino, is
stated to have previously established himself at Antwerp.

[Illustration]

At Urbino and Gubbio the shaped pieces, the vases, cisterns, &c. were of
large size admirably modelled, as, for instance, the fine vase at South
Kensington, no. 515, in the woodcut; they were also richly “istoriata”
with subjects from sacred and profane history, poetry, &c.: the produce
of the celebrated Fontana botega being, perhaps, the most important of
them. Here also worked the able artist Francesco Xanto, from 1530 to
1541 (latterly in the pottery of Francesco Silvano), so many of whose
painted pieces were subsequently decorated with ruby and gold lustre at
Gubbio.

From 1520 to 1540 the art constantly advanced in this duchy, and had
retained great perfection till 1560. It is probable that the potteries
at Castel Durante were of earlier foundation than those at Urbino and,
from their first establishment to the decadence of the art were some of
the most important and productive furnaces of the duchy. Here several
boteghe existed, one of which was under the direction of the cavaliere
Cipriano Piccolpasso who, himself an artist and a professor of medicine,
was doubtless well advanced in the chemical knowledge of his day. He
worked about 1550, and has left the important and interesting
manuscript, entitled “Li tre libri dell’ arte dell’ Vasajo,” now in the
library of the South Kensington museum. This manuscript was printed and
published at Rome in 1857, and a translation in French at Paris in 1841,
both editions with engraved copies of the numerous designs.

Guidobaldo I. was succeeded in the dukedom by his nephew Francesco Maria
Della Rovere, in 1508, who, incurring the resentment of pope Leo the
tenth, was obliged to retire into Lombardy but was reinstated in 1517.
Rome was sacked in 1527, and history accuses Guidobaldo of having
permitted the horrible act without interfering to prevent it. He died
from poison in 1538 at Pesaro, whither he had retired after a reverseful
life and reign. His duchess was the excellent Leonora Gonzaga. She built
a palace near Pesaro, known as the “Imperiale,” richly decorated by able
artists among whom was Raffaelle dal Colle, whose designs were also
adopted for the maiolica ware. The frequently repeated error of
ascribing the actual painting, as also the making designs for this ware,
to the great Raffaelle Sanzio may probably have arisen from the
similarity in the Christian names of these artists.

The development of the manufacture in the duchy of Urbino may be
considered to have attained its culminating point about 1540, after
which, for some twenty years, it continued in great excellence not only
as regards the “istoriati,” but more particularly in the shaped pieces
and dishes (of which we engrave an example p. 40) decorated with the
so-called “Urbino arabesques” on a clear white ground; the subjects
painted in medallions, surrounded by grotesques of admirable invention
and execution, after the style known as “Raffaellesque.” But excellent
and highly decorative as are the finer products of this period from the
furnaces of the Fontana of Urbino, or of the Lanfranchi of

[Illustration]

Pesaro, they want to the eye of the true connoisseur the sentiment and
expressive drawing, the exquisite finish and delicacy, the rich colour,
and the admirable design of the earlier works produced at the Casa
Pirota in Faenza, at Forlì, Castel Durante, Siena, and Caffaggiolo, in
the latter years of the fifteenth and the first quarter of the sixteenth
centuries, and by Mº Giorgio at Gubbio, many of which rival in beauty
the exquisite miniature illuminations of that palmy period of Italian
art. The service in the Correr museum in Venice, supposed to have been
painted by an unknown artist of Faenza and dated 1482, is of high
quality;

[Illustration]

and we possess at South Kensington works by his hand, particularly a
plaque or tile (No. 69) on which is a representation of the Resurrection
of our Lord, worthy of being ranked with the highest productions of
pictorial art. The borders of grotesques on the plates of this earlier
period differ greatly from those of the Urbino factories of the middle
time, being generally grounded on dark blue or yellow, and executed with
great delicacy of touch and power of colouring; the centres of the
smaller pieces are usually occupied by single figures, small medallion
subjects, portrait heads, amorini, shields-of-arms, &c.; frequently they
were intended for “amatorii” or love tokens. Some of the most careful
and highly finished productions of Mº Giorgio are of this early time,
before he was in the habit of signing with the well-known initials Mº
Gº; the earliest so signed being the admirable St. Francis tazza at
South Kensington, dated 1517.

We may therefore affirm that the choicest works in Italian pottery were
produced during a period which extended from 1480 to 1520 or 1530;
thence till 1560 was its meridian, although some fine works were
produced at Urbino by the Fontana till 1570; before that time the ruby
lustre had been lost, and soon after a rapid decline of design and
execution reduces all to painful inferiority. The woodcut (p. 41) is
from a splendid dish, dated 1533, no. 1748, at South Kensington.

Guidobaldo II., who had succeeded to Francesco Maria in 1538, wanted the
force of character and nice appreciation of the higher literature and
art which had distinguished his father; but he was a great patron of the
ceramic productions of his duchy, and sought to improve the designs used
by painters on pottery by the introduction of subjects of higher
character and composition. With this view, lavish of expense, he bought
original drawings by Raffaelle and the engravings of Marc Antonio from
that master’s designs. He also made presents of services to contemporary
princes and friends. One, given to the emperor Charles V., a double
service, is mentioned by Vasari, the vases of which had been painted
from the designs of Battista Franco, a Venetian, whom he had invited to
Urbino. Another service of which pieces are extant was given by the duke
to Andrea da Volterra, his confessor. For the Spezieria or medical
dispensary, attached to his own palace, he ordered a complete set of
vases and drug pots; designs were prepared for these by B. Franco and
Raffaelle dal Colle and executed at the botega of Orazio Fontana, by
whom some of the pieces were painted. They were subsequently presented
by duke Francesco Maria II. to the Santa Casa at Loreto, where the
greater part of them are still preserved. Some of them were engraved by
Bartoli. The story tells us that so highly were they esteemed by
Christina of Sweden that she offered to buy them for their weight of
gold, after a grand duke of Florence had more prudently proposed an
equal number of silver vessels of like weight.

Orazio Fontana, the great artist potter and painter of Urbino, worked
for the duke from 1540 to 1560 and carried the art to the highest
perfection. Passeri states that Orazio had no equal in the execution of
his paintings, the distribution of his colours, and in the calculation
of the effect of the fire upon them in the production of his wares. He
also quotes various contemporary authors who speak of the excellence of
the maiolica of this period. After the death of Orazio Fontana and
Battista Franco works of an inferior class only were produced from the
designs of the Flemish engravers. From 1580 the decline of the art was
rapid. It met but small encouragement from duke Francesco Maria II., who
succeeded in 1574, except during his residence at Castel Durante where
it still, though feebly, survived. He abdicated in favour of the Holy
See, and died in 1631. The rich collections of art then remaining at
Urbino became the property of Ferdinand de’ Medici, who had married the
duke’s granddaughter, and were removed to Florence.

Artistic manufactories had, in addition to those of the Umbrian duchy,
greatly increased in various parts of Italy under the encouragement of
powerful local families; but none appear to have attained to higher
excellence than those of Tuscany. At Caffaggiolo under the powerful
patronage of the Medici, and at Siena, some of the most excellent pieces
of this beautiful pottery were produced, rivalling but not surpassing
the fine examples of Faenza.

The Tuscan pieces are remarkable for their rich enamel, for the force
and brilliancy of the colours, and for the execution and design of the
grotesque borders and other decoration; a deep rich blue, a peculiar
opaque but bright red, and a brilliant yellow, are characteristic
pigments. The existence of the former fabrique has been made known to us
only by the inscription of the name on some few pieces preserved in
cabinets. From their style and the mark accompanying the inscription we
are enabled to detect many examples, some of which bear concurrent
testimony in the subjects connected with the history of the Medici
family with

[Illustration]

which they are painted. The well-known plate (in the woodcut) on which a
painter is represented engaged in executing the portraits of a noble
personage and his lady, who are seated near, and which were supposed to
be intended for Raffaelle and the Fornarina, is a fine specimen of the
work of perhaps the most able artist engaged at this pottery. This
beautiful example is now in the South Kensington museum, acquired from
the Bernal collection.

At Siena also admirable works were produced but we are disposed to think
that their inspiration was derived from Caffaggiolo, whence also her
potters probably received instruction in the application of the
stanniferous enamel. Some pieces of the latter end of the fifteenth
century are with probability ascribed to Siena, and dated pieces as
early as 1501. Tiles also from the same fabrique are remarkable for the
excellence of their grotesque borders on an orange yellow ground, having
centres painted with great delicacy: some unusual examples having a
black ground to their decorative borders.

Rome and the south of Italy do not appear to have produced meritorious
works in this field, during the period of its greatest excellence in the
northern and Tuscan states; and it is not till the dispersion of the
artists, consequent upon the absorption of the Umbrian duchy into the
Pontifical states, that we find a Durantine establishing a pottery at
Rome, and producing in 1600 an inferior repetition of the grotesque
style so admirable in the hands of the Fontana, half a century earlier
at Urbino. The decadence was rapid; an increased number of inferior
potteries produced wares of a lower price and quality; the fall of the
ducal houses which had so greatly encouraged its higher excellence as a
branch of fine art, together with the general deterioration in artistic
taste, alike tended to its end.



CHAPTER V.


A revival in the production of native decorative earthenware took place
in various parts of Italy, as also in the rest of Europe. The efforts
made to imitate true porcelain were reflected by improvements in the
quality and decoration of enamelled earthenware, and in the last century
we find potteries in various pacts of Piedmont and Lombardy, Venice,
Genoa and Savona, Urbino and Pesaro, Siena, Castelli, Florence and Rome,
producing wares of greater or less artistic excellence. But although
careful drawing is occasionally found, as on some of the pieces painted
by Ferdinando Maria Campana at Siena, from the prints of Marc Antonio,
and some charming designs with borders of amorini among foliage, and
subject pieces of great merit from the Castelli fabrique; and although
the “technique” of the manufacture is also of great excellence; the
ornamentation wants that masculine power of colouring and vigour of the
renaissance, so strikingly apparent upon the better productions of the
older furnaces, and the admirable delicacy and richness of effect to be
seen upon the earlier works.

The endeavours made throughout Europe to discover a method of making
porcelain, similar in its qualities or approaching to that imported from
China, had begun in the sixteenth century. In this direction also royal
encouragement was of the greatest value, and we find that first in the
field of discovery was, as naturally might be expected, that country in
which the enamelled earthenware had previously reached its highest
perfection. Under the patronage of the Grand Duke Francis I. about 1580,
experiments were made which at length resulted in the production of an
artificial porcelain of close body and even glaze. The existence of such
a production and the history of its origin have been revealed to us only
within the last few years, and we are indebted to Dr. Foresi of Florence
for having made this discovery, so interesting in the history of the
ceramic arts. He had noticed and collected some pieces of a porcelain of
heavy nature and indifferent whiteness, decorated in blue with flower
and leafage pattern of somewhat oriental style but at the same time
unmistakably European, on some of which a mark occurs consisting of the
capital letter F, surmounted by a dome. The earliest recorded European
porcelain had heretofore been that produced by Dr. Dwight, at Fulham, in
1671, and at St. Cloud in France, about 1695, but the specimens found by
Dr. Foresi were manifestly not attributable to either of these or any
other known sources. Further researches brought to light a piece of the
same ware on which the pellets of the Medici coat were substituted for
the more useful mark, and led to a search among the records of that
house. Dr. Foresi was rewarded for his trouble by the discovery that the
above-named duke had actually caused experiments to be made, and had
established a private fabrique in connection with his laboratory in the
Boboli gardens. The Magliabecchian library yielded an important
manuscript compilation by some person employed by the duke, giving the
nature of the composition and details of the production of this ware.
The marks on the pieces explained the rest. The Medici arms and the
initials F. M. M. E. D. I. I., reading “Franciscus Medici Magnus Etruriæ
Dux Secundus,” on one important piece now in the collection of the baron
Gustave de Rothschild of Paris, clearly attached it to his reign, while
the letter F, the initial of the city, and the dome of her cathedral of
which she was so proud, equally pointed to the place of its production.

Another exceptionally fine and interesting piece has recently been
acquired in Italy by signor Alessandro Castellani. It is a shallow basin
in the centre of which the figure of St. Mark, with the lion, is
painted in the usual blue pigment, and in a manner which stamps it as
the work of a master’s pencil. What makes this specimen particularly
interesting is the existence of a monogram composed of the letters G.
and P. which is painted on the volume held beneath the lion’s paw, while
on the reverse of the piece the usual mark occurs, as given in the
accompanying facsimile. It has been suggested that this monogram may be
that of Raffaelle’s great pupil, Giulio Pippi _detto_ Romano, and that,
as it has been stated that he occasionally painted upon enamelled
earthenware, this piece may be considered as his work. That the design
was from the hand of that master is probable, and that its execution was
by able ceramic painters is equally so: but Giulio Romano died in 1546,
whereas the Medici porcelain does not appear to have been perfected
before 1580.

[Illustration]

This Florentine porcelain is especially rare; scarcely thirty examples
being known to exist. Three of these are at South Kensington, and one
is in the possession of the present writer. It is of value to our
subject, not merely as an important episode in the narrative of the rise
and progress of ceramic industry in Italy but from its exceptional
nature, as one at least of the specimens was decorated by an artist
whose handiwork is to be recognised upon pieces of the Urbino enamelled
earthenware. The fine “Brocca” 15 inches high, belonging to the baron
Gustave Rothschild, is surmounted by an elegantly formed handle
springing from grotesque winged masks, modelled in relief. The body is
decorated with two belts of grotesques, divided by a narrower one, on
which are masks and scroll ornaments; beneath these is a band divided
into arched panels or compartments, in each of which is a flower in
somewhat Persian taste. These grotesques are executed with great freedom
and force and at the same time with a careful finish and delicacy, and
in the manner of an unknown painter who worked at the botega of Camillo
Fontana.

It remains to us only to notice the productions of the present day, many
of the more meritorious of which are only imitations (in some instances,
we regret to say, produced for fraudulent purposes) of the more
excellent works of an original period of art: and to give some account
of the mode of manufacture, the forms and uses of the pieces, and the
manner of their decoration.

The first successful attempt at re-producing the Italian enamelled
pottery of the renaissance from original models was, we believe, made at
Doccia (the manufactory belonging to the Marquis Ginori) near Florence.
The greater number of these pieces were ordered by an unprincipled
dealer of that city who supplied the models, and by whom and his agents
they were more or less scratched, chipped and otherwise “doctored” to
look old, and so imposed upon unwary purchasers at high prices. The
writer recollects some of these specimens which were, years since,
offered to him at Leghorn by an English tradesman of position (himself
possibly deceived), to which a family history had been attached, their
reputed owner (it was said) being under the necessity of parting with
them. Since that period the productions of Doccia have improved, the
lustre pigment has been re-produced, and these revivals have been justly
admired at various international exhibitions of art and industry as
legitimate works of the manufactory.

But a still better imitation of the metallic lustre of Gubbio has been
produced by an artist of that city; and at Siena some excellent copies
of tiles and other pieces have been made; so also at Faenza. Bologna,
too, has made copies of the rilievos of Della Robbia which, like those
produced at Doccia, may be purchased new of the makers, or found,
scratched and dirty, in various curiosity shops throughout Europe, ready
to pass for old, some of the worst being occasionally signed as by Luca
to enhance their interest. It is to be regretted that a few of these
forgeries, as well as admirably executed terra-cottas, have found their
way into public museums under a false passport.

At Naples reproductions of the wares of Castelli are well executed.

In France the excellent reproductions of Persian and Rhodian wares by
Deck, and some good imitations of the Italian enamelled and lustred
pottery by various artists; and in England the pieces produced by
Minton, Wedgwood, and other manufacturers, have led to modifications and
adaptations, resulting in an important development of this branch of
artistic pottery.



CHAPTER VI.


We are fortunate in possessing a manual of the Italian potters’ art of
the sixteenth century, in the manuscript by the “Cavaliere Cipriano
Piccolpassi Durantino,” as he signs his name on the title page of his
work. Nearly all the information on this branch of the subject, conveyed
to us by Passeri and subsequently by Sig. Giuseppe Raffaelli and other
writers, has been gathered from that manuscript written in 1548. We
think we cannot do better than go at once to this fountain head, and
epitomize the information it conveys, upon the manner and materials,
upon the forms and decoration, of maiolica.

After a “prologo” in which the author defends himself from the invidious
remarks of others, he tells us how the earth or clay brought down by the
river _Metauro_ was gathered from its bed during the summer when the
stream was low, and by some was made into large balls, which were stowed
in holes (_terrai_) purposely dug in the ground; by others it was
previously dried in the sun; here it remained to mellow and purge itself
from impurities, which otherwise would be injurious. This same method of
gathering the material for the foundation of the wares was adopted at
many other places. At Venice the earth of Ravenna and Rimini is worked,
although they frequently use that dug at Battaglia, near Padua, but for
the better sort that of Pesaro.

Our author enters into further details of the method of gathering the
potters’ clay where there are no rivers, by digging a succession of
square pits connected by a channel in the depressions between hills,
into which the earth, washed by showers of rain, is refined in its
passage from pit to pit. For inferior wares the earth is then collected
on a table and well beaten with an iron instrument, weighing twelve
pounds, three or four times, being kneaded with the fingers as a woman
would in making bread, and all impurities carefully removed. Afterwards
it is formed into masses, from which a piece is taken to work upon the
wheel or press into moulds. If the earth is too “morbida” it is placed
upon the wall or house top, on sieves, through which it is washed by the
rain, and gathered in old broken vases, &c., placed beneath.

For making wares “all’ urbinate” (meaning probably with a white ground)
the dug clay ought to be white, for if of a blue colour it will not take
the tin glaze; this, however, is not objectionable if it is to be
covered with a slip of “terra di Vicenza” (a white clay), a method which
he terms “alla castellana.” But it is the reverse with the clay gathered
from the beds of rivers, the blue in this case being of the better
quality.

It is difficult for us now accurately to apply the names which he gives
to the variously shaped pieces, and the more so, as we are informed that
in our author’s time various names were attached by different artists
and at different potteries to the same form. Thus the “Vaso a pera” was
also known as “Vaso da due maniche” and “Vaso Dorico;” and the body of
such a vase was by some made in one piece, by others in two or three,
making joints at the lower part and at the insertion of the neck, and
uniting them by means of lute (_barbatina_). Vases and jugs with
pyriform bodies, moulded handles, and shaped spouts, or lips, were known
as “a bronzo antico” (fig. 1), their forms, doubtless, being derived
from the antique bronze vessels discovered in excavations.

Some of these pieces have a stopper fitting into the neck by a screw,
the worm of which is worked upon it by means of a piece of wood
(_stecca_) formed with projecting teeth, the interior of the neck being
furnished with a corresponding sunken worm. The details of all these
methods are illustrated on the third table of

[Illustration: FIG. 1.]

[Illustration: FIG. 2.]

his atlas of plates. After telling us that the _albarello_ (fig. 2), or
drug pot, universally known under that name, is made of different sizes
and always of one piece, our author describes the manner of

[Illustration: FIG. 3.]

[Illustration: FIG. 4.]

forming the _Vaso senza bocca_ (fig. 3), a sort of puzzle jug with
hermetically fixed cover on the top and an opening beneath the foot,
from which an inverted funnel rises inside the body of the vase. To fill
it, the piece must be turned upside down and the liquid poured into the
funnel below, and may be again poured out at the spout when required,
in the ordinary way, the vase having been placed upright.

It is hardly necessary to give a list of different forms, but we may
follow our author in his description of that set of five, or sometimes
nine separate pieces, which, fitting together, form a single vase (fig.
4). These sets, known as “scudella da donna di parto” or “vasi
puerperali,” were made for the use of ladies in their confinements, and
consist of the following pieces:--(1.) The broth basin or _Scodella_, on
raised foot. Over this fits the lid (2), which also does duty as a plate
(_Tagliere_) for the roll or slice of bread; inverted over this is the
drinking cup. (3), _Ongaresca_, upon the foot of which fits the salt
cellar, _Saliera_ (4), surmounted by its cover (5). The particulars of
the arrangement of the nine pieces are not given. Single portions of
these are to be found in collections, but the present writer is not
aware of any one complete set having been preserved.

Using either the _mugiuolo_ or the _scudella_, the mass of clay placed
upon the disk is revolved by the wheel and fashioned into form with the
hands, assisted by variously shaped pieces of flat wood (_stecche_) and
moulding tools of iron (_serri_) all of which are figured in
Piccolpasso’s designs.

The forms of the seggers, _case_ (that is, cases made of fire-clay and
pierced with holes, in which the finer wares are baked, being thus
protected from dirt or accident in the furnace), and the composition of
the clay of which they were made, as also of the _tagli_, _punte_,
_smarelle_, _pironi_, &c. variously formed tripods and supports for
holding the pieces to be fired, are given us in detail. The clay
consists of a mixture of the red earth used for coarser wares and the
white, which is reserved for vases and finer pieces.

Shaped pieces with ornaments in relief, masks, spouts, handles, &c. are
formed in moulds made of plaster of Paris (_gesso_) upon the original
models. The mould being ready, the potter’s clay is formed into a
cheese-shaped mass of a diameter suitable to the size of the mould;
from this slices are cut by means of a wire worked over two pieces of
wood of the thickness of the required slice, and placed at either side
of the cheese of clay. A slice of even thickness being thus obtained it
is pressed by the hand into the hollows of the mould; that for the other
side of the piece is then steadily pressed over the clay which occupies
the corresponding mould, and the excess exuding from the edge between is
neatly cut away. The foot would be similarly formed in another mould,
and subsequently attached to the bowl by means of lute (_barbatina_).
This lute is made of the finer quality of clay, much worked and allowed
to dry, then mixed with a certain quantity of the shearings of fine
woollen cloth, kneaded with water and diluted to the consistence of
thick cream.

To make shaped vases or ewers (_bronzi antiche_) a mould is formed to
each side of the piece, uniting longitudinally at the handle and spout;
the clay pressed into each of these is neatly cut from the edge by means
of the _archetto_, a wire strained across a forked stick, and joined to
the corresponding side with _barbatina_ by which also the handle, formed
in another mould, is attached to the piece, the inside being smoothed at
the joint by means of a knobbed stick (_bastone_). The pieces known as
“abborchiati,” such as salt-cellars with ornaments in rilievo, are made
in the same manner, as are also the “smartellati” or tazze, &c. formed
after the manner of pieces in beaten metal (_repoussé_) with bosses and
radiating compartments in relief. The basket-like pieces (_canestrella_)
were similarly moulded.

In his second book Piccolpasso gives the receipts and methods of
preparing the glaze and colours, commencing with the “marzacotto,” the
silicate of potass or glass, which is the foundation of all glaze. We
are then told the manner of constructing a reverberatory furnace in
which the tin and lead can be oxydized, and which is built of brick with
an earth called “sciabione,” probably a sort of fire-clay. It consists
of an elongated square structure divided longitudinally into two
compartments, in one of which is placed the fire, while the other is
occupied, on a higher level, by a shallow tray or trough made of _tufo_,
a volcanic stone, or of brickwork, to contain the metals, upon and over
which the flame of the burning wood is made to play in its passage to
the draft hole at the end.

The construction of other furnaces is his next subject. They were built
of brick and of an elongated quadrilateral plan, divided into two
stories by an arched floor, pierced to allow of a free circulation to
the heat; the upper chamber, which is higher than the lower, is
furnished with four small openings on the upper part of either side
(_vedette_) and nine similar ones in the vaulted roof; the lower chamber
has a well or depression sunk about one foot beneath the surface to
receive the ashes from the fire, and both it and the upper one have an
arched opening or feeding door (_bocca_) at one end. The dimensions
usual at Castel Durante were six feet long by five wide, and six high,
but in Venice they were larger, for, says Piccolpasso, “I have seen one
at the house of Mº Francesco di Pier ten feet wide by twelve long,
outside, having three openings to feed the fire.”

In the upper chamber the wares are placed for baking, the finer sorts
being enclosed in the seggers (_case_) piled one above another, and the
coarser arranged between, supported by pieces of tile, &c. and so packed
as to fill the chamber as much as possible without impeding the free
current of the fire. This is the first baking, and at the same time the
pigments, prepared as previously described, are submitted to the action
of the fire in the upper part of the furnace. The opening to the upper
chamber is then roughly bricked and luted up, leaving only a small
orifice (_bocchetta_) in the upper part. The small lateral openings
(_vedette_) are also closed, and those in the roof loosely covered with
pieces of tile. The vases containing the mixture of sand and _feccia_
for making the _marzacotto_ are then placed upon each other under the
furnace at the further end (probably in the lower or fire chamber). All
being prepared, and invoking the name of God, “uso Christiano,” with
the sign of the cross, take a handful of straw and light the fire made
of well-dried wood placed in the lower chamber, and which must be
gradually increased for four hours, taking care that it is never pushed
too much, lest the pieces run or become too hard to receive the glaze.
The furnace should be of a clear heat all throughout and so continued
for about twelve hours, drawing away the ashes from below with the
“cacciabragie” or rake. When sufficiently baked let the fire burn out,
and remove the cinders that all may become cool.

We must refer to the Introduction to the large catalogue of the maiolica
collection at South Kensington for further extracts, quoting here one
sentence only where the author says, “And now I will give you the
‘sbiancheggiati’ that is made in Lombardy, bearing in mind that the
earth of Vicenza is used, making the design on the white earth; I would
say with a style of iron of this kind (gives design), and this drawing
is called ‘sgraffio.’” This is an interesting passage connecting as it
does these incised wares with the fabriques of Lombardy, to which, from
the character of the designs upon the earlier pieces, we have always
assigned them.

In his third book Piccolpasso goes into further details of the glaze and
colours, manner of painting, firing, &c.

The “bianchetto” which is only once baked, and the other colours, being
removed from the furnace, are triturated with water on a “piletta” or
hand colour mill, or by means of a pestle and mortar, to reduce them to
a fine powder, and passed through a horse-hair sieve. Some grind them on
a slab of porphyry which is even better. The green pigment may be baked
two or three times. The “zallo” and the “zallulino,” after once or twice
baking, are covered with earth and again baked in the hottest part of
the furnace.

The white enamel glaze, having been properly milled and fined through a
sieve, is made into a bath with water to the consistency of milk. The
pottery baked in biscuit is taken out of the furnace, and after being
carefully dusted with a fox’s tail is dipped into this bath of glaze and
immediately withdrawn, or some of the pieces may be held in the left
hand while the liquor is poured over them from a bowl. A trial piece
should show the thickness of glove leather in the adhering coat. The
“invetriatura” having been thus applied and the pieces allowed to dry
are now ready to receive the painting. This is executed with coarser and
finer brushes or _penelli_, made of goats’ and asses’ hair, and the
finest of the whiskers of rats or mice; the ordinary wares being held in
the left hand or on the left knee and the finer in wooden cases, lined
with tow, to prevent rubbing. A different brush must be used for each
colour. The painters generally sit round a circular table suspended from
the ceiling so that it may turn round, and upon this the different
pigments are placed.

The painted pieces after being dried in a clean place, taking care that
the “bianco” is not chipped or rubbed off, are painted with _zallulino_
on the outer edge and are then ready to receive the “coperta” or outer
glaze. The liquid of the bath must be thin, as a translucent coating
only is required over the colours; into this the pieces are dipped, and
being again dried are ready for the final firing.

In a supplement Piccolpasso gives us an account of the manner of making
_maiolica_, and it will be observed that throughout his narrative he has
never applied that term to the painted and glazed wares produced at his
own botega, or at any of the others to which he refers.

He tells us that he feels he ought not to omit the account of it which
he has received from others, although he has never made or even
witnessed the making of it himself. “I know well” he says “that it is
painted over finished works; this I have seen in Ugubio, at the house of
one Maestro Cencio.” The portion of the design which is to receive the
lustre colour is left white at the first painting; thus, a figure in a
grotesque whose extremities are to be lustred will only have those parts
painted which are to be coloured, leaving the extremities merely
sketched in outline upon the white ground; these, after the colours have
been set by firing, are subsequently touched with the lustre pigment.
The process of firing differs from the former one, because the pieces
are not enclosed in seggars but are exposed to the direct action of the
flames.

The furnace also is differently constructed, the fire chamber square in
form, having no arched roof pierced with holes but only two intersecting
arches of brick to support the chamber above, the four corners being
left as openings for the free current of the flames. Upon these arches
is placed a large circular chamber or vessel, formed of fire-clay, which
fits into the square brick structure, touching at the four sides and
supported on the intersecting arches beneath, but leaving the angles
free. This inner chamber is pierced in all directions with circular
holes, to allow the flames free passage among the wares. The method of
building these furnaces is kept guarded, and it is pretended that in it
and the manner of firing consist the great secrets of the art. The
_scudelli_ are packed with the edge of one against the foot of another,
the first being supported on an unglazed cup. The furnaces are small,
only from three to four feet square, because this art is uncertain in
its success, frequently only six pieces being good out of one hundred;
“true the art is beautiful and ingenious, and when the pieces are good
they pay in gold.” The fire is increased gradually, and is made of
_palli_ or dry willow branches; with these three hours firing is given,
then, when the furnace shows a certain clearness, having in readiness a
quantity of dry broom cease using the willow wood, and give an hour’s
firing with this; after, with a pair of tongs remove a sample from
above. Others leave an opening in one of the sides by which a sample or
trial, painted on a piece of broken ware, can be removed for
examination, and if it appears sufficiently baked decrease the fire.
This done, allow all to cool, then take out the wares and allow them to
soak in a lessive of soap-suds, wash and rub them dry with a piece of
flannel, then with another dry piece and some ashes (of wood) give them
a gentle rubbing, which will develope all their beauty.

“This is all, as it appears to me, that can be said about the maiolica,
as also about the other colours and mixtures that are required in this
art.”



CHAPTER VII.


We have given in the last chapter a very brief abstract or epitome of
the interesting manuscript of Piccolpasso, which offers us a perfect
idea of the manner and comparatively simple appliances under which the
beautiful examples of the potter’s art were produced in Italy during the
fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The _rationale_ of these processes is
clear enough and requires no comment; but we may perhaps remark that
whereas the fixing of the glaze and colours in the ordinary process is
merely produced by a degree of heat sufficient to liquefy and blend
them, in the case of the metallic reflection a different effect is
requisite, and different means adopted. The pigments consist partly of
metallic salts, which being painted on the wares, after exposure to a
simple heat for some time, have then directed upon their glowing surface
the heated smoke given off by the fagots of broom; this smoke being in
fact carbon in a finely divided state has great power, at a high
temperature, of reducing metals from their salts; painted on the wares
these are thereby decomposed, leaving a thin coat of mixed metal,
varying in colour and iridescence from admixture with the glaze and
other causes, and producing the beautiful effects so well known.

The various names by which the Italian pottery of the renaissance has
been known have in some instances arisen from, as they have also led to,
error. “Faenza ware,” doubtless, had its origin from the town of that
name, although its French equivalent “faïence” may either be a
translation of the Italian, or may be derived from a town in Provence,
called “Faiance” or “Fayence,” a few miles from Cannes and Fréjus,
where potteries are stated to have existed from an early period. “Urbino
ware” and “Umbrian ware” explain themselves as connected with those
important sites of the manufacture, while the name of “Raffaelle ware”
was doubtless derived from the subjects after his designs, with which so
many pieces were painted, and from the grotesques after his manner. A
very beautiful drawing of his school, and which has been ascribed to
Raffaelle’s own pencil, is in the royal collection at Windsor. It is for
the border of a plate, and consists of a continuous circular group of
amorini, dancing in the most graceful attitudes.

Scripture subjects are perhaps more general upon the pieces of early
date, particularly those of Faenza, on which designs from Albert Dürer,
Martin Schön, and other German painters are found, executed with the
greatest care; such subjects were also used at Caffaggiolo. The spirit
of the renaissance awakening a passion for the antique declared itself
in the numerous representations from Greek and Roman history and
mythology, scenes from Homer, the metamorphoses of Ovid, and the like,
which formed the main stock subjects for the wares of the Umbrian
fabriques, excepting always the sacred histories delineated so admirably
by Orazio Fontana and others, from the designs of Raffaelle and his
scholars. It was among the artists of this duchy that the habit of
writing the subject on the back of the piece chiefly prevailed, with
specimens of curious spelling and strange latinity. Transmutation of
subject is not rare, as the burning of the “Borgo” for the siege of
Troy, and others. The forms appear to have varied considerably at
different localities of the craft, partaking of a classic origin, mixed
with some orientalism in the earlier and gothic forms in the more
northern pieces; but upon all the exuberance of fancy and rich
ornamentation characteristic of the Italian “cinque-cento” is made
evident, as it is upon the furniture, the bronzes, and the jewellery of
that artistic period.

[Illustration]

There can be little doubt that the maiolica and finer painted wares were
looked upon at the time they were produced as objects of ornament or as
services “de luxe.” The more ordinary wares or _dozzinale_ were
doubtless used for general domestic purposes in the houses of the higher
classes, but the finer pieces decorated by better artists were highly
prized. Thus we find that services were only made for royal or princely
personages, frequently as presents. Some of the choicest specimens in
our cabinets were single gift pieces; small plates and _scodelle_ which
it was then the fashion for gallants to present, filled with preserves
or _confetti_ to ladies. Many of these are of the form known as
_tondino_, small, with a wide flat brim and sunk centre; in this the
central medallion is generally occupied by a figure of Cupid, hearts
tied by ribbon, or pierced by arrows; or by joined hands and similar
amatory devices, or with a shield of arms and initial letters. The
borders are painted with grotesques and trophies, among which sonnets
and music sometimes occur, and medallions with love emblems, portraits,
and armorial bearings. These _amatorii_ pieces also occur as large
plates and deep saucers, the surface of each entirely covered with a
portrait of the beloved (as in the engraving p. 63) accompanied by a
ribbon or banderole, on which her name or a motto is inscribed, often
with the complimentary accompaniment of “bella,” “diva,” “paragon di
tutti,” &c. Jugs, vases, and other shaped pieces were also decorated in
a similar style.

We find in maiolica all objects for table use: inkstands, ornamental
vases, and quaint surprises; salt-cellars of curious forms; jugs of
different size and model; many kinds of drug pots and flasks; pilgrims’
bottles, vasques, and cisterns; candelabra and candlesticks, rilievos
and figures in the round; in short, every object capable of being
produced in varied fancy by the potter’s art: even beads for necklaces,
some of which are in the writer’s possession, decorated with knot work
and concentric patterns and inscribed severally ANDREA · BELLA =
MARGARITA · BELA = MEMENTO · MEI ·; these last, the only examples known,
are finished with considerable care and are probably of the earlier
years of the sixteenth century.

There is little doubt that many of the pieces ostensibly for table use
were only intended and applied for decorative purposes (like the vase in
the woodcut p. 131), to enrich the shelves of the “credenza,”
“dressoir,” or high-backed sideboard, intermingled with gold and silver
plate, Venetian glass, &c. Such pieces were known as “piatti di pompa”
or show plates, and among them are some of the most important and
beautiful of the larger dishes and bacili, as well as the more elaborate
and elegant of the shaped pieces.



CHAPTER VIII.

PERSIAN, DAMASCUS, AND RHODIAN WARES.


In a previous chapter we have traced the origin or parentage of this
section of wares to the glazed pottery and artificial semi-porcelain of
Egypt, and we have seen that in Assyria and at Babylon siliceous glazed
tiles were used for wall decoration. Whether in Persia and in India a
similar manufacture existed at that early period we have at present no
exact knowledge, but we are told by the Count Julien de Rochchouart in
his interesting “Souvenirs d’un voyage en Perse” that he possesses a
brick glazed of dark blue colour, with cuneiform characters in white,
which was found among the ruins of the ancient city of Kirman. The
mosques of the 12th century in that country, particularly that at
Natinz, are covered with glazed tiles of the most perfect workmanship
and artistic excellence, with coloured and lustred decoration. Later
examples--of the earlier years of the 17th century--specimens of which
are in the Kensington museum are also beautiful, and the fashion, though
in a degenerate form, is revived in that country at the present day. The
piece of glazed pottery supposed to have been of ancient Hebrew origin
and now preserved in the Louvre is also of this nature, and it is
suggested by M. Jacquemart that the Israelites may have acquired the art
in Egypt.

The varieties of pottery known under the names of Persian, Damascus,
Rhodian, and Lindus wares, composing a large family, may be classified
as _siliceous or glass-glazed_ wares. The leading characteristics are--

     1. A paste composed of a sandy and a white argillaceous earth, and
     some alkali or flux, greatly varying in their relative proportions,
     and producing degrees of fineness and hardness from a coarse sandy
     earthenware to a semi-vitrified translucent body, the latter being
     in fact a kind of porcelain of artificial paste.

     2. A glaze formed as a true glass, of siliceous sand and an alkali
     (potash or soda), with the addition in some cases of a small
     quantity of oxide of lead or other flux.

Such is the general, but by no means the constant, definition of the
component ingredients of all the varieties rightly classed together as
members of this group, for there can be no doubt that great variations
occurred in their composition at different periods and places, and some
examples of the finer kinds of Persian, Arabian, and perhaps of Damascus
wares are met with in, or under, the glaze of which the oxide of tin has
been used to produce a white and more even surface.

A large amount of information about Persian ware is conveyed to us in
the work of the comte de Rochchouart who, during a residence of some
years in Persia, gave great attention to its ceramic productions of
former and of present times. After establishing the fact of the former
production of at least four distinct kinds of Kaolinic porcelain, he
minutely describes ancient varieties of faience of which the polychrome
pieces are the more rare, the blue and white less so; he mentions one
uncommon variety, believed to have been made at Cachan, as having a
paste of red earth covered with a stanniferous enamel of great beauty,
and painted in cobalt under a glaze highly baked; they ring like metal.
We do not recollect having seen an example of this variety. Marks
imitating those on Chinese porcelain occur on pieces painted in cobalt
blue on white. He further tells us that the ancient faience of Persia is
as admirable as the modern is detestable, notwithstanding it retains a
degree of oriental elegance. The industry at present is carried on at
Nahinna; at Natinz, where pottery has been made for some hundred years,
and where some of the finest was produced but now inferior; at Cachan,
turquoise blue, and many-coloured; while Hamadan, Kaswine and Teheran
make inferior wares, the latter being the worst.

We do not derive any information from M. de Rochchouart on the subject
of the lustred wares, except in his description of the tiles of the
mosque of Natinz of the 12th century; nor do we learn anything of that
variety of creamy white pottery having the sides pierced through the
paste but filled with the translucent glaze, and which is believed to be
the Gombrōn ware of Horace Walpole’s day. But he gives interesting
information on the subject of the tiles used for decoration, of which
the finest are those mentioned above; those of Ispahan and of the period
of Shah Abbas (1585-1629) being also admirable for their exquisite
design.

The Persian glazed pottery known to us may be divided into:

     A. Wares, generally highly baked, and sometimes semi-translucent.
     Paste, fine and rather thin, decorated with ruby, brown, and
     coppery lustre, on dark blue and creamy white ground. Engraved p.
     68 is a very curious and characteristic example: unfortunately
     imperfect. It is in the Kensington collection.

     B. Wares, of fine paste, highly baked, semi-translucent, of creamy
     colour and rich clear glaze, running into tears beneath the piece
     of a pale sea-green tint. Its characteristic decoration consisting
     of holes pierced through the paste, and filled in with the
     transparent glaze: the raised centres, &c. are bordered with a
     chocolate brown or blue leafage, slightly used. This is supposed to
     be the Gombrōn ware.

     C. Wares, frequently of fine paste, and highly baked to
     semi-transparency: the ground white; decoration of plants and
     animals, sometimes after the Chinese, in bright cobalt blue, the
     outlines frequently drawn in manganese; some

     [Illustration]

     pieces with reliefs and imitation Chinese marks also occur; this
     variety is perhaps more recent than the others.

We assign the name DAMASCUS as the chief centre of a large class of
wares which were also made, in all probability, in Egypt, Turkey, Syria,
Asia Minor, &c., and among which pieces of Persian manufacture may be
included from our want of exact knowledge of their technical
differences; a certain general character pertaining to the whole class.
There can be no doubt that Damascus was an important producer of this
pottery, which was known to the commerce of the 16th century as “Damas”
ware, and we have examples, in silver mountings, of the period of queen
Elizabeth. It would be well, therefore, to revive the term “Damas” or
“Damascus ware” for this family, of which the true Damascus and Rhodian
are only local varieties, in preference to the misapplied general name
of “Persian,” by which they have been known.

The paste varies in quality more than in kind, being of a grey white
colour and sandy consistence, analogous to that of the Persian wares.
The decoration is more generally rich in colour, the ground white, blue,
turquoise, tobacco colour, and lilac, sometimes covered with scale work,
with panels of oriental form or leafage, large sprays of flowers,
particularly roses, tulips, hyacinths, carnations, &c., the colours used
being a rich blue, turquoise, green, purple, yellow, red, black. The
forms are elegant; large bowls on raised feet, flasks or bottles
bulb-shaped with elongated necks; pear-shaped jugs with cylindrical
necks and loop-handle; circular dishes or plates with deep centres, &c.
An interesting example of the highest quality of this ware is in the
writer’s possession, and is described and figured in colour in vol.
xlii. of the “Archæologia.” It is a hanging lamp made for and obtained
from the mosque of Omar at Jerusalem, signed and dated June 1549.

Two leading varieties are known in collections: namely, _Damascus
proper_; known by its evenness of surface and rich glaze with subdued
but harmonious colouring, certain tones of which are peculiar to this
variety; for example, a dull lilac or purple, replacing the embossed red
so conspicuous on the Rhodian, and used against blue, which is of two or
three shades, the turquoise being frequently placed against the darker
tone; a sage green is also characteristic. The dishes of this variety
usually have the outer edge shaped in alternating ogee.

This kind is much more uncommon than the other, RHODIAN or LINDUS, to
which the greater number of pieces known in collections as “Persian
ware” belong. It is to Mr. Salzmann that we owe the discovery of the
remains of ancient furnaces at Lindus, in the island of Rhodes, from the
old palaces of which he collected numerous examples. This variety,
although extremely beautiful, is generally coarser than the former, and
the decoration

[Illustration]

more marked and brilliant. A bright red pigment, so thickly laid on as
to stand out in relief upon the surface of the piece, is very
characteristic and in many cases is a colour of great beauty; the
predominant decoration of the plates consists of two or three sprays of
roses, pinks, hyacinths, and tulips, and leaves, sometimes tied together
(as in the woodcut) at the stem and spreading over the entire surface of
the piece in graceful lines; the border frequently of black and blue
scroll work. Ships, birds, and animals, are also depicted; and a shield
of arms occurs on some pieces.

[Illustration]

Another very distinct and perhaps more recent class, the ANATOLIAN,
consists of those wares frequently found in collections, as cups and
saucers, sprinklers, perfume vases, covered bowls, and the like,
generally pieces of small size. The ground is usually white, sometimes
incised with cross lines by means of a piece of wood scratching the soft
paste, with a gay decoration of many colours, among which a brilliant
yellow is conspicuous in scale work, lattice and diaper patterns,
flowers, &c. Its glaze is frequently not brilliant, but rather rough on
the surface; but the pieces are well baked. This variety is ascribed to
the fabrique of Kutahia in Anatolia.

There is yet another variety of this section which is somewhat
exceptional, approaching as it does in composition to the first division
of the Persian wares, and on the other hand to the decoration of the
earlier pieces of the Hispano-moresque. It is composed of a sandy paste
of the kind general to this section, and is decorated either in black
outline relieved or filled in with blue painted directly on the paste,
and covered by a thick translucent glaze of a creamy tone, running into
tears at the bottom of the piece; or glazed entirely with a translucent
dark blue glass, over which the decoration is painted in a rich lustre
colour, varying between the golden and ruby tints of the Italian
Majolica, and differing considerably from those upon the
Hispano-moresque wares.

We give on the preceding page three or four marks from various pieces of
Persian or rather “Damascus” ware.

Before we pass to another class, it may be well again to direct the
reader’s attention to that important application of glazed oriental
pottery, already referred to, and which has been in use more or less
throughout the east from a period of remote antiquity. Indeed, there is
perhaps no instance in which the superiority of oriental taste in
surface decoration is more distinctly shown than in the use of
enamelled, or more properly speaking, siliceous glazed tiles, as a
covering for external and internal wall space. We have already seen how
fragments of such embellishments have been yielded by the ruins of
Assyria and Babylon, by Arabia in the seventh, and Persia in the twelfth
century; and Damascus, Jerusalem, Cairo, and Constantinople still have
brilliant examples of this exercise of the potter’s art.

The distressing state of ruin or neglect into which many of the tombs
and mosques, so beautified, have been reduced or permitted to fall
greatly detracts from their effect, although not without its charm to
the painter’s eye and it is refreshing to see them, as at
Constantinople, in a somewhat better state of preservation. In that city
there is excellent work of this kind in the old palace of the Seraglio,
where the writer noticed tiles remarkable for their size and for the
perfection of their manufacture. Some of these, nearly two feet square,
are covered with the most elegant arabesque diapering of foliage and
flowers intertwined, among which birds and insects are depicted. These
may probably have been the work of a Persian potter. But it is in the
tomb of Soliman the great, built in 1544, that the effect of this mode
of decoration can be studied to better advantage. Here the entire walls
of the interior are faced with tiles of admirable diaper patterns,
within borders of equal elegance, adapted to the form of the wall which
they panel and following the subtle outlines of the window openings,
which, filled in with gem-like coloured glass between their intricate
tracery, produce an effect of the greatest richness and harmony. The
application of glazed pottery for decorating wall surface seems never to
have taken root in Greece or Italy (although slabs of glass of various
colours were used by the Romans for that purpose), where Mosaic had
established itself long anterior to the advance of oriental influence;
and even in the most palmy days of the production of Italian majolica
and painted pottery, nothing of this kind was attempted by her artists
beyond an occasional flooring--with the exception of Luca della Robbia,
who not only covered ceilings with tiles between the relievo subjects on
the spandrils and the centre, as seen at San Miniato and the Pazzi
chapel at Santa Croce in Florence, but executed roundels and arch
fillings of tiles, painted with subjects on the flat surface. Germany
made great use of tiles for facing stoves and other purposes in the
sixteenth century, but their inspiration was not oriental; and, again,
the Dutch tiles, much used in England during the last century, are well
known but ornamented on a false principle of decorative art. In the
Indian court of the international exhibition of 1871 were examples of
Zenana windows and wall tiles from Sinde, of recent manufacture, and of
precisely similar character in body and glaze to the class of wares now
under consideration. They, moreover, show another mode of decoration,
known as “_pâte sur pâte_,” in which the design is painted on the
surface of the clay in a slip or “_engobe_” of lighter colour underneath
the glaze; a manner of ornamentation found upon early Chinese porcelain,
and upon that ascribed by M. Jacquemart to Persia.

These tiles, together with shaped pieces of the same Indian ware, are
very interesting, being without doubt the modern representatives of a
remote manufacture and having the closest affinity with the ancient
Egyptian glazed pottery. Whence they were derived or which the parent
stock is a question the answer to which we are not at present in a
position to do more than guess at. In France and England reproductions
have appeared, many of which are excellent from the talent of their
painters or from the technical qualities of their manufacture: those
produced by the Messrs. Minton, copied or derived from oriental
originals, are particularly beautiful.



CHAPTER IX.

HISPANO-MORESQUE POTTERY.


This numerous and now well-defined class of wares was a few years since
indiscriminately grouped with the lustred Maiolica of Italy, in which
country the larger number of specimens now in our collections had been
preserved, and whence they have been procured. Many hesitated to believe
in their Spanish origin, thinking it more probable that they were the
work of Moorish potters established in the sister peninsula. The
correspondence, however, of technical character with the “azulejos,” the
well-known tiles which adorn the palace of the Alhambra at Seville, and
with the celebrated “jarra” or Alhambra vase, as also a marked
difference between these and any wares of known Italian manufacture, led
to the conviction that they must be of Spanish origin, and the work of
the Moorish potters and their descendants who had been established in
that country.

Under this belief they were classed together as Hispano-arabian
enamelled and lustred wares, but this appellation would connect them
with the so-called Saracens who conquered that country in A.D. 712. The
first Arab invaders were themselves expelled in 756 by Abd-el-Rhama, who
caused himself to be proclaimed caliph at Cordova. This city thus became
the great centre of his power, and here was erected the mosque of which
the decoration attests the exquisite oriental taste of its founders. The
ornamental wall tiles on this building are of truly Hispano-arabian
manufacture.

The rule of the successors of Abd-el-Rhama ended and the line became
extinct in 1038, soon after which time the Moorish conquest was
completed. In 1235 Granada became the chief seat of the Moorish rulers,
and there they erected the fortress-palace of the Alhambra about 1273.
After an occupation of the country for four centuries the Moors were
conquered in 1492. The Christian element would then predominate in the
decoration of the pottery; and in 1566 the last blow was struck at
Moorish art by the promulgation of a decree prohibiting the speaking or
writing of their language, and forbidding the use to men and women of
their national dress and veil, and the execution of decorative works in
the Moresque style.

When first recognized as a distinct family these wares were found to be
difficult of classification, from the entire absence of dates or names
of manufactories. Labarte and others considered the copper-lustred
pieces to be the earlier, but Mr. Robinson, with his usual acuteness,
saw in the ornamentation of various examples reasons for reversing this
arrangement, and suggested one which subsequent observation has only
tended to confirm. He placed those pieces having a decoration in a paler
lustre with interlacings and other ornaments in manganese and blue,
coats of arms, &c., in the earlier period; those having the ornament in
the paler lustre only, without colour, of nearly equal date, as also
some of the darker coppery examples with shields of arms; and of a later
period those so glaring in copper-coloured lustre as to be more painful
than pleasing to the eye.

M. Davillier (to whose researches into the history of these wares we are
greatly indebted) considers that in all probability MALAGA was the
earliest site of the manufacture, and argues that its maritime situation
and trade with the east and its proximity to Granada would warrant that
opinion, which is strengthened by the earliest documentary evidence yet
brought to light. One Ibn-Batoutah a native of Tangier, writing in 1350
after journeying through the east, states that “at Malaga, the beautiful
gilt pottery or porcelain is made, which is exported to the most distant
countries.” He makes no mention of a fabrique at Granada in describing
that city, and we may therefore reasonably conclude that Malaga was the
centre of this industry in the Moorish kingdom, and if so there is great
probability that the celebrated Alhambra vase was made there. From the
style of its ornamentation, the form of the characters in the
inscriptions, and other inferences, the date of this piece may be fairly
assigned to the middle of the 14th century, which would be about the
same period as that traveller’s visit to the city. It has nevertheless
been ascribed by others to an earlier time, about 1320. This vase is so
generally and well known that we need only allude to its characteristic
form and richly decorated surface. It is said to have been found in the
16th century under the pavement of the Alhambra together with several
others, all of which were filled with gold; a tradition which may,
perhaps, have some foundation in fact.

The Alhambra vase was copied at Sèvres in 1842, and since by the Messrs.
Deck in faience, of the original size after a cast and photographs
procured by M. Davillier. This last is now in the South Kensington
museum.

The fabrique of Malaga existed in the sixteenth century; and the plateau
engraved p. 78 was probably made there. We learn from Lucio Marineo
writing of the memorable things of Spain in 1517, that “at Malaga are
made also very beautiful vases of faience.” After this date no further
record is found, and M. Davillier thinks it probable that the works
gradually declined as those of Valencia increased in importance, and
that by the middle of the sixteenth century they had entirely ceased. He
attributes to these potteries three large deep basins and two vases in
the hôtel Cluny at Paris, which are covered with designs in golden
_reflet_ and blue of great similarity to those of the Alhambra vase, and
also the fine vase from the Soulages collection at South Kensington.

After the fabrique of Malaga that of MAJORCA is thought to be the most
ancient, and the extension of its manufactures by commerce is indirectly
proved by the adoption of the term “Majolica” by the potters of Italy
for such of their wares as were decorated with the metallic lustre.
Scaliger, writing in the first half of the sixteenth century, speaks
highly of the wares of the

[Illustration]

Balearic islands: but not being an “expert” in ceramic productions,
after praising the porcelain recently brought from China, admires what
he calls their imitations made at Majorca. “We call them (he says)
‘_majolica_,’ changing one letter in the name of the island where we are
assured that the most beautiful are made:” an interesting testimony to
the importation of these wares into Italy and the knowledge of their
origin, as also to the derivation of the term applied to the home
manufacture of Pesaro and Gubbio.

Although presumably of much earlier date no record of this pottery
occurs till that of Giovanni di Bernardi da Uzzano, the son of a rich
Pisan merchant, who in 1442 wrote a treaty on commerce and navigation,
published by Paquini, in which he speaks of the manufactures of Majorca
and Minorca, particularly mentioning faience which “had then a very
large sale in Italy.” We have evidence that the principal seat of the
manufacture was at Ynca, in the interior of the island; and in
confirmation of this discovery some plates have been observed by M.
Davillier in collections on which the arms of that island are
represented. One is in the hôtel Cluny, and is probably of the fifteenth
century. It is Moresque in style with illegible inscriptions in an odd
mixture of the Arabic and Gothic characters; the lustre of a red colour
and the arms in the centre. These arms are, paly gules and or, on a fess
argent a dog in the act of bounding, sable.

There would seem also to have been a fabrique at Iviça for Vargas, in
his description of the Balearic islands, says, “It is much to be
regretted that Iviça has ceased to make her famous vases of faience,
destined for exportation as well as for local consumption.” But of their
precise nature he gives us no information and we have no knowledge.

The kingdom of VALENCIA in the time of the Romans was noted for its
works in pottery; those produced at Saguntum, the present Murviedro,
having a great reputation at that period according to Pliny, who
mentions the jasper red pottery of Saguntum where 1,200 workmen were
employed.

To these, after the occupation of the Goths, succeeded the Arab workmen
who accompanied the Mussulman conquest in 711. Again, when the Moors
were in 1239 subjected to Christian domination the potters’ art was
considered of sufficient importance to claim a special charter from the
king, who granted it to the _Saracens_ of Xativa, a small town now
called San-Felipe. This charter provides that every master potter making
vases, domestic vessels, tiles, “rajolas” (an Arabic name for
wall-tiles, synonymous with “azulejos”), should pay a “besant” annually
and freely pursue his calling.

Sir Wm. Drake in his notes on Venetian ceramics cites an ordinance of
the Venetian senate in 1455, declaring that no earthenware works of any
kind should be introduced into the dominions of the Signory except
crucibles (“_correzzoli_”) and _Majolica of Valencia_; an important fact
proving the value that was attached to the Spanish lustre wares in Italy
in the middle of the fifteenth century. The woodcut p. 81 represents a
fine plateau at South Kensington, golden lustred; of about the year
1500.

Marineo Siculo, writing in 1517, devotes a chapter to the utensils and
other objects of faience made in Spain, in which he states that “the
most esteemed are those of Valencia, which are so well worked and so
well gilded;” and Capmany records a decree of the municipal council of
Barcelona in 1528 relative to the exportation of faience to Sicily and
elsewhere, in which “la loza de Valencia” is named. Again Barreyros a
Portuguese, in his “Chorographia,” praising the pottery of Barcelona
says that it is “even superior” to that of Valencia. The expulsion of
the Moors in 1610 by Philip III. gave the fatal blow to this industry,
as we learn from contemporary authors that many of the banished artizans
were potters (“olleros”).

From time immemorial St. John the evangelist has been particularly
venerated at Valencia, and in the grand processions of Corpus Christi
the emblematic eagle is carried, holding in his beak a banderole on
which is inscribed the first sentence of his gospel: “_In principio erat
Verbum et Verbum erat apud Deum._” On some pieces of Hispano-moresque
ware this sentence is inscribed, and the eagle sometimes covers the
front, sometimes the back. There is therefore reason to infer that these
were made in one of the fabriques of Valencia, and if so their style
would be to a considerable extent typical of the Valencian pottery. The
decoration was probably inspired by the wares of Malaga, and it is
likely that many of the pieces of the fifteenth century, bearing
inscriptions in Gothic characters with animals, &c. in blue, may be of
this fabrique.

[Illustration]

In the British museum is a plate painted with an antelope and Moresque
ornament in blue, and with the inscription “>Senta Catalina Guarda Nos>:”
others occur, though very rarely, with Spanish inscriptions. At the
commencement of the 17th century the Valencian wares had lost nearly all
their Moresque character, and the employment of the copper lustre only
was retained: the designs having figures in the costumes of that period
and coarse leafage or birds with “_rococo_” ornaments.

[Illustration]

It would thus appear that the fabrique of Malaga was the most ancient,
and that of Valencia the most important in Spain; but other potteries
existed, and their productions were widely distributed. The woodcut
represents a Valencian dish with golden lustre, of the 15th century.
That these wares were imported into England is proved by fragments found
in London, on one of which, in the British museum, is represented a man
in the costume of the period of Henry the fourth, about 1400.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

Makers’ names have never been observed upon pieces of this pottery, and
marks are very rarely met with. The above marks are on the back of two
small plates with deep centres, in which is painted a shield of arms
bearing a crowned eagle with open wings in blue, the rest of the surface
being diapered with small vine or briony leaves and interlaced tendrils
in concentric order, of golden lustre on the creamy white ground.

These pieces are perhaps of the same service, probably of Malaga or
Valencia, and may be of the earlier half of the 15th century; they are
in the writer’s possession. In Mr. Henderson’s rich collection is a vase
on one side of which is the inscription, of which we give a facsimile:

[Illustration]

It reads “Illustrissimo Signore Cardinale D’Este in Urbe Romæ.”

Specimens of a lustred ware have been brought from Sicily, differing
materially from that of Spain, and perhaps forming a connecting link
between that and the earlier Persian pottery. They are formed of an
ordinary clay covered with an earthy or stanniferous (?) wash, which is
again coated with a rich translucent blue glaze on which a diapering of
vermicular ornament in coppery lustre covers the whole piece, except
that the edges and handles are also painted in lustre. This ware is by
no means common; it occurs in the form of plates, covered bowls, and
“_albarelli_:” and is supposed to be the workmanship of Moorish potters
at Calata-Girone.



CHAPTER X.

ITALIAN POTTERY; SGRAFFIATI, AND CAFFAGGIOLO.


Coming now to Italian pottery, we must speak first of _sgraffiati_,
_graffiti_, or incised wares. This mode of ornamentation is one of the
most primitive and universal in a ruder form, although it appears but
little on the early glazed wares of our own country; of those of France
a fine example, attributed to the 14th century, is preserved at Sèvres.
In Italy, as was the case in all other varieties of pictorial art, it
was brought to a high degree of perfection, not merely as a manner of
ornamenting pottery but applied on a large scale to mural decoration. It
appears to have been in use from an early period, examples of a coarse
kind occurring among the plates incrusted in the towers of churches of
the 12th and 13th centuries at Pisa and elsewhere, and it was probably
in use before or coeval with the earliest painted wares.

Its method as applied to pottery is described by Piccolpasso in his
manuscript, and consists in covering the previously baked “biscuit” of
ordinary potter’s clay with a “slip” or “_engobe_” of the white marl of
Vicenza, by dipping it into a bath of that earth milled with water to
the consistence of cream; when dry, this white covering, fixed by a
slight baking, is scratched through with an iron instrument shewing the
design in the red colour of the clay against the superimposed white
ground. It is then covered with an ordinary translucent lead glaze, and
clouded with yellow and green by slight application of the oxides of
iron and copper.

There appears to be a considerable range in the dates of various
specimens in collections, some of which are probably among the earliest
examples of Italian decorative pottery that have come down to us; others
may be of the middle or last quarter of the 15th century and, like the
fine example which we engrave, are highly characteristic; great skill is
shown upon them in the combination of figures and foliage in relievo
with the incised ornamentation. Nearly all the pieces of this class are
probably the work of one botega, and are distinguished by the character
of their designs; a border of mulberry leaves is very general, or
shields of the “pavoise” or kite form. Judging also from the sort of
florid Gothic character to be seen in some of the leafage mouldings,
from the costumes of the north of Italy in the 15th century, and from
the lion supporters and other details which connect them with north
Italian art, we have little hesitation in believing that they were
produced in Lombardy or the Venetian mainland.

[Illustration]

Of the more important examples, the Louvre possesses a fine cup on a
raised stem and supported by three lions; in the interior, a man habited
in the costume of the 15th century stands playing a mandolin between
two females, one of whom sings while the other plays the tambourine; the
raised and incised mouldings on this piece are very characteristic. In
the British museum are some fine dishes, one of which is remarkable for
the admirable execution of the work, on which are represented figures in
the costume of the 15th century, festoons of fruit and other ornaments.
On another are the figures of a gentleman and a lady who plays the viol,
in the costume of the 15th or early 16th century standing “_dos à dos_;”
on her side is a “pavoise” shield bearing the “_biscia_” or serpent of
the Visconti, while the man supports himself on one bearing the flaming
bomb-shell, the impresa of Alfonso d’Este, borne by him at the battle of
Ravenna in 1512.

In the writer’s collection are two early dishes, one of which is
remarkable for a raised flower in the centre and incised decoration on
front and back. He also possesses a large dish, 19¼ inches in diameter,
having a medallion central subject of the Virgin and Child: the rest of
the piece being covered with interlacing branches of what may be
mulberry bearing leaves and fruit, a serpentine wreath of the same
encircling the border.

It is probable that were the archives of Florence thoroughly searched
some record might be found of the establishment or existence at
CAFFAGGIOLO of an artistic pottery encouraged and patronized by the
Medici family, but at present we have no such recorded history. Here
again the objects themselves have been their best and only historians.
It was but a few years since that the ill indited name of this botega,
noticed upon the back of a plate, was read as that of the artist who had
painted it; but the discovery of other more legible signatures proved
that at this spot important and highly artistic works had been produced.
The occurrence of a monogram upon several, with the comparison of their
technical details, has led to the recognition of many pieces, and
revealed the fact that this fabrique had existed from an early period,
and was productive of a large number of pieces of varying quality.

M. Jacquemart surmises that at Caffaggiolo Luca della Robbia learnt the
nature of the enamel glaze, which he applied to his relievos in terra
cotta. We know that Luca painted subjects on plain surfaces, enamelled
with the stanniferous glaze as early as the year 1456, when he executed
the painted tiles which form a kind of framing to the tomb of Benozzo
Federighi in the church of San Francesco de Paolo, under the hill of
Bellosguardo. The most important work by him of this nature is the
lunette over one of the doors in the entrance-hall of the “Opera del
Duomo” in Florence. Whether, learnt from him, this enamel was adopted at
the Grand Ducal _fabrique_ at an early period, or whether he there
obtained the knowledge which he applied and modified to his own uses,
remains a question, the answer to which would be facilitated by the
proved date of the establishment of that pottery, or the occurrence of
pieces anterior to the tiles enamelled and painted by Luca; but upon
these points we unfortunately have not as yet discovered any recorded
memorial.

It is worthy of remark that although many are of very early date no
piece of a _Mezza_ ware, confidently assignable to this establishment,
is known to the writer; all that have come under his notice are
enamelled with the white stanniferous glaze, no instance of the use of
an _engobe_ or slip having been observed. The woodcut p. 90 is from an
early and probably Tuscan plateau.

The leading characteristics of the Caffaggiolo wares are a glaze of rich
and even quality, and purely white; and the use of a very dark cobalt
blue of great intensity but brilliant as that of lapis lazuli,
frequently in masses as a grounding to the subject: and it would seem
laid on purposely with a coarse brush, the strokes of which are very
apparent. We give an engraving p. 91 of a curiously decorated tazza of
early date. The colours are green, purple and blue. A bright yellow, an
orange of brilliant but opaque quality, a peculiarly liquid and
semi-transparent copper green are also found, and another characteristic
pigment is an opaque bright Indian red. This pottery has a nearer
affinity to that of Siena than to any other fabrique, and it is not
unreasonable to suppose that they had a like origin or that the
establishment at Siena emanated from Caffaggiolo. Both resemble in
general style the pieces produced at Faenza and Forlì more than those of
other fabriques of the northern duchies, or of the Umbrian centres of
the art; and it becomes a question as to which can claim the earliest
origin, as also the earliest use of the stanniferous enamel glaze. The
dates inscribed upon pieces begin in 1507-9, but undated examples,
assignable to this locality and of an earlier period, exist in
collections.

[Illustration]

The use of the metallic lustre seems to have been tried at Caffaggiolo,
but from the extreme rarity of examples bearing the mark of or fairly
ascribable to that establishment, we may

[Illustration]

perhaps infer that only a few experimental pieces were made, and that
this method of enrichment was but little used. A small

[Illustration]

plateau at South Kensington, no. 7154, represented in the woodcut is an
important example, having the mark. As might be expected, the arms,
emblems, and mottoes of the Medici family frequently occur, and
occasionally the letters S. P. Q. F. are introduced on labels for
“_Senatus populusque Florentinus_.” M. Jacquemart considers that some of
the early groups, &c. in relievo and in the round and early plaques with
the sacred emblem, the majority of which are generally ascribed to
Faenza, may be of this botega. We quite concur with him in this opinion.

The South Kensington museum is rich in fine specimens of this ware of
various date and great variety, some of which are among the most
admirable examples of the potter’s art. It is remarkable that we have no
recorded names of the artists who painted these beautiful pieces, and it
is only at the latter end of the sixteenth century that we find mention
of Giacomo and Loys Ridolfi of Caffaggiolo, who emigrated with other
potters from the then less encouraged manufactories of Italy to try
their fortune in France. M. Jacquemart tells us that these potters or
painters founded a “_faïencerie_” in 1590 at Marchecoul, in Bretagne.

Some confusion has arisen among connoisseurs in France and elsewhere as
to the wares of Caffaggiolo and those of Faenza, and indeed it is
frequently difficult to draw the line of distinction; but we can hardly
follow M. Jacquemart in his historical classification, believing that
some of the pieces assigned by him to this fabrique do not really
support their claim. A similar remark may apply to many of those in the
Louvre ascribed to this pottery by Mons. Darcel.

Two large and finely painted early dishes (presented by Mr. Franks) are
in the British museum; they were probably made about 1480-1500. On one
is a group of saints, after an engraving by Benedetto Montana, on red
ground, with a border of leafage moulding and peacock’s feather
ornament. On the other is the subject of the Judgment of Solomon. The
colours on these pieces are very rich, with much of the characteristic
red pigment; the bold and firm drawing has an archaic tendency which
points to an early period. The earliest dated piece having a mark and
with reason believed to be of this fabrique, is a plate in the style

[Illustration]

of Faenza with border of grotesques and central shields of arms, in the
painting of which the characteristic red is used and on which is the
date 1507 with the mark; that curious combination of letters P.L and O.
Another is dated 1509. The letters S. P. Q. F. occur among the
ornaments. M. Jacquemart considers as of the first period, those pieces
having letters allusive to the Florentine republic, or the Medici arms
and emblems; or the motto of Giuliano di Medici. “Glovis” also occurs,
which has been ingeniously deciphered as meaning “Si volg,” “it
(fortune) turns,” if read backwards: referring to the favour shown to
Giuliano when appointed Gonfalonier to the Church. A noble pitcher at
South Kensington no. 1715 (p. 93) has the Medici arms; and, beneath,
also the motto _Glovis_. A large carelessly painted dish, in the British
museum, the subject Abel’s sacrifice, has the word “GLOVIS” and the
letters S. P. Q. R. on the altar, and on the reverse the name, curiously
spelt, “In Chafaggilolo” between the ordinary mark twice repeated. The
name seems to have been spelt in various ways, as “Cáffagiulo,”
“Cafagiol,” “Caffaggiolo,” “Chaffaggiolo,” “Chafaggilolo,”
“Gafagizotto,” &c.

Some of the specimens at South Kensington are of extraordinary beauty.
Of the more interesting may be instanced no. 7154, lustred, having the
Caffaggiolo mark painted on the reverse in the yellow pigment. The large
circular dish no. 8928 on which is represented a procession of Leo X. is
curious as a contemporary work and for the costume. The St. George after
the statue by Donatello, no. 1726, is of great excellence, as is the
interesting plate engraved above, p. 44, on which a ceramic painter is
represented at work in the presence of a gentleman and lady, probably
portraits of personages of high standing, as also of the painter
himself. It is to be regretted that he refrained from recording their
names and was content with affixing only the monogram of the fabrique at
the back of the piece. The beautiful plate with central subject of
Vulcan forging a wing and elegant border of grotesques, masks, cupids,
&c., no. 2990, is probably by the same hand as the two last referred to
and is a fine example. The large jug already referred to having the
Medici arms on the front and other devices of that family, no. 1715, is
remarkable for its excellence of glaze and colour, as well as for

[Illustration]

its historical associations. So, again, is the vase no. 321 made for the
Medici at a somewhat later date; and which we also engrave.



CHAPTER XI.

SIENA AND PESARO.


Well-nigh all the history we have of the early artistic pottery of SIENA
may be read upon the specimens of her produce, preserved in our museums
and private collections. A considerable number of pieces, evidently the
work of one able hand, has been variously assigned to the furnaces of
Faenza, of Caffaggiolo, and of Pesaro; to the first two from a general
similarity in the character of their design. On the other hand, the
initials I. P. occurring in large characters on the reverse of some of
the pieces were presumed to be those of the words “In Pesaro,” and led
to a confusion of them with others really painted at the Lanfranchi
works at Pesaro and marked with the same initials but in a smaller form;
standing for the signature of the artist, “_jiacomo pinsit_.” These
last, then unknown to collectors, were cited by Passeri who was supposed
to refer to the far more beautiful works now under consideration.

The acquisition, however, of a pavement of tiles from the Petrucci
palace at Siena, dated 1509, and the knowledge of the existence of
others of a similar stamp in the church of San Francesco in that city,
the style of handling as well as the design and colouring upon which
agreed closely with these works; a fine dish in the British museum in
the same manner, and on which occurs one of the same coats of arms as
those upon the pavement of the Petrucci; and the further acquisition of
a small plate, the painting of which in blue camaïeu is assuredly in the
manner of the finer examples above referred to, and which is signed on
the reverse “_fata i Siena da mº benedetto_;” form together a chain of
evidence conclusive as to the existence of this fabrique, and the origin
of the various pieces in question.

The South Kensington museum possesses very important specimens of this
master’s work; and the connexion of the

[Illustration]

several examples is very minutely traced in the large catalogue of
Maiolica. We need only, therefore, generally observe that they are
worthy of being ranked among the most excellent productions of the
potter’s skill in Italy during the earlier years of the 16th century;
and that in respect of their technical characteristics, and the tone and
manner of their colouring and design, they are more nearly allied to the
productions of the Caffaggiolo furnaces, from which in all probability
the inspiration of them was derived. We give woodcuts of three of these
beautiful pieces: nos. 1569, 1792, and 4487. The last of these is very
interesting on account of the mark and inscription upon the reverse
(also engraved p. 99), showing that the painter was probably Benedetto
himself, who was then the head of the establishment. The drawing of the
central figure is masterly and finished with the utmost care.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

One of the finest specimens of this master belongs to Mr. Henderson; the
central subject is that of Mutius Scævola before Porsenna; it is painted
with great care and is surrounded by a border of grotesques on orange
ground. On the reverse is the mark in the accompanying woodcut. The
grotesques upon the border of a large dish in the British museum are
painted upon a black ground, an unusual style which also occurs on some
of the tiles of the Petrucci pavement, and is we believe almost peculiar
to this botega.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

We lose sight of the Sienese pottery for two centuries, when it again
appears under the then best ceramic painter in Italy, Ferdinando Maria
Campani who is said, but we do not know on what exact authority, to
have worked also at Castelli and at San Quirico. A piece signed by him
is at South Kensington. His subjects, as in this instance, were
frequently taken from the Bible series of Raffaelle as rendered by Marc
Antonio’s engravings, and from the works of the Caracci. Some extremely
well executed tiles, plates, &c. copied and adapted from the old, have
also been produced within the last few years at Siena under the
superintendence of signor Pepi, a druggist, opposite the Prefecture. We
have occasionally met with some of these, scratched and chipped by other
_artists_ to suit the modern-antique market.

The small town of MONTE LUPO, nestling under its “rocca” on the southern
bank of the river at the opening of the Val d’ Arno inferiore, is on the
road from Florence and near to Empoli. Its pottery is distinguished (or
we should rather say notorious) for having produced the ugliest and most
inferior painted pieces that bear the signature of their maker and the
place where they were made.

But a ware of a different kind formed of a red clay and glazed with a
rich treacle-brown or black glaze, the forms of the pieces being
sometimes extremely elegant, has been also assigned to this locality.
Some of them are enriched with gilding and with subjects painted in oil
colours, not by a ceramic artist. We are informed, however, by signor
Giuseppe Raffaelli that wares of this description were made at Castel
Durante, and that a fine example of them, with portraits of a count
Maldini and his wife, is preserved in the library at Urbania. He
describes them as made of a red earth covered with an intensely black
glaze, on which the oil painting and gilding were executed. It is
nevertheless probable that Monte Lupo produced a similar ware, and
pieces occur ornamented with reliefs and with raised work, _engobé_,
with a white or yellow clay on the brown ground, by the process known as
_pâte sur pâte_. Certain pieces marbled on the surface to imitate
tortoiseshell, agate, &c. are ascribed to this pottery.

At Sèvres is a tazza with ill painted subject on white ground and
inscribed,--

    “_Dipinta, Giovinale Tereni_
        “_da Montelupo._”

and a dish in the hôtel Cluny at Paris, painted with the subject of the
rape of Helen somewhat in the manner of the Urbino wares, has at the
back,

    “_Vrate délina_
     “_fate in Monte._”

[Illustration]

This, we think, more likely to have been the production of Monte Lupo
than of Monte Feltro, to which it has been ascribed.

There can be little doubt that potteries existed in the neighbourhood of
the important commercial city of PISA, and it is more than probable that
the painted and incised _bacini_, which are encrusted into her church
towers and façades, are mostly of local manufacture during the 12th,
13th, and 14th centuries. On this subject we must refer the reader to
the remarks in the chapter on Persian and Hispano-moresque wares. Among
the latter, references will be found to two writers who stated that a
commerce existed between Valencia and Pisa, from whence faïence was
imported into Spain in exchange for the wares of that country. It does
not however follow that this faïence was entirely of Pisan production,
although exported thence; but it is not improbable that a considerable
quantity was made there for exportation.

Antonio Beuter, praising the wares of Spain, says that they are equal in
beauty to those of Pisa and other places. This was about 1550. Early in
the next century Escolano says, speaking of the wares of Manises, “that
in exchange for the faïences that Italy sends us from Pisa, we export to
that country cargoes of that of Manises.”

In the collection of baron Alphonse de Rothschild, of Paris, is a large
and well formed vase with serpent handles, under which the name PISA is
inscribed on tablets. It is much in the manner of the later Urbino
wares, having grotesques on a white ground, but more nearly approaching
those examples at South Kensington (nos. 321 and 323) having the arms of
the Medici, which we have ascribed in the large catalogue to Caffaggiolo
or Florence. It has been suggested that this vase may be of the Pesaro
fabrique, and that the word upon it was merely a variation in spelling
the first half of the name Pisa_ro_; but we see no reason for accepting
such an explanation or that Pisa should be denied the small honour of
having produced this example, the only one inscribed with her name.

There can be very little doubt that a manufactory of glazed earthenware
existed at PESARO or in its immediate outskirts from a very early
period, and that it probably succeeded to the works established there in
Roman times, the remains of which have occasionally been brought to
light; but with the exception of the recorded names of certain potters,
occurring in deeds and records which are preserved among the public
archives of the city, we are uninformed, and unable to recognize the
produce of these potteries or to know their characteristics.

Anterior to 1540 we have no signed and dated example, and should
therefore be reduced to the position of entire ignorance as to their
previous productions but for the work of the indefatigable archæologist
Giambattista Passeri. Born in 1694 at Farnese in the Campagna di Roma
(where his father, of a patrician family of Pesaro, practised as a
physician) and educated at Rome, he subsequently settled in his parental
city and published the “Istoria delle pitture in Maiolica fatte in
Pesaro e in luoghi circonvicini,” in 1758. To him we are indebted for
the notice of the potters above alluded to, and in his work he gives us
an account of the mode pursued in the manufacture, much of which however
he appears to have derived from the earlier manuscript of Piccolpasso.
He tells us that the large early bacili enriched with a _madreperla_
lustre were the produce of Pesaro; and in corroboration states that many
of them are painted with the coats of arms and portraits of the members
of noble Pesarese families, instancing one with the arms of the
“Bergnana” family then preserved in the Casa Olivieri. It has been
objected that Passeri was influenced by local partiality in favour of
the native city of his family, and that he ascribed to her furnaces what
may in equal likelihood have been produced at Gubbio or Diruta; and the
discovery of a few pieces of lustred ware, marked as the produce of the
latter _Castello_ in the middle of the 16th century, was hailed by
several critics as conclusive evidence against his assertion.

It appears to the writer that such evidence is equally unsatisfactory,
inasmuch as the works in question were produced some century and a half
anterior to the earliest dated piece of Diruta ware. Passeri wrote in
the middle of the last century, when the art was no longer in existence
and its specimens only preserved in the cabinets of the curious; but he
was a man of erudition and research and probably had means of obtaining
information with which we are unacquainted; we think therefore that as
his statements have not yet been met by proofs of their incorrectness,
or by counter-statements of greater weight, we are bound to accept them
until additional light be thrown upon the subject. He tells us that
remains of antique furnaces and ruins of a vase shop of classic times,
with fragments of red and black wares and lamps marked with the letter
G, were found in the locality known as the “Gabbice” where the
Lanfranchi works were afterwards established in the 16th century, and
where the earth is of fine quality. He traces the use of this earth in
the time of the Goths, and states that it again revived under the
government of the Malatesta; and that soon afterwards a mode of adorning
churches was adopted by the insertion of discs of earthenware at first
simply glazed with the oxide of lead, but that coloured ones were
subsequently used.

The wares were made by covering the crude baked clay with a slip or
_engobe_ of white earth, the “_terra di San Giovanni_” from Siena, or
with that of Verona, and glazing it with “_marzacotto_,” a mixture of
oxide of lead, sand and potash. The colours, used were yellow, green,
manganese black, and cobalt blue (from the “_zaffara_” of the Levant).
During the government of the Sforza the manufacture greatly developed
and was protected, for on 1st April 1486 a decree was made prohibiting
the introduction of earthenwares for sale from other parts, except the
jars for oil and water. This was confirmed in 1508. In 1510 a document
enumerates “_Maiolica_” as one of the trades of Pesaro, naming also
“_figoli_,” “_vasai_,” and “_boccalari_;” and we must bear in mind that
there is good reason for believing that at that period “Maiolica” was a
name technically understood as applying only to the lustred wares.

Passeri states that about 1450 the “_invetriatura_” or glazing had
already begun to perfect itself under the Sforza, when those early
pieces were produced decorated with “arabesque” borders encircling coats
of arms, portraits, and ideal heads outlined with manganese and
coloured with the “_madreperla_” lustre, leaving the flesh white. He
ascribes the improvement in the manufacture by the use of the
stanniferous glaze to the discovery of the Della Robbia, and adds that,
although the art of making it was known

[Illustration]

earlier at Florence, the fine ware was only introduced at Pesaro about
1500: near which period the beautiful portrait dish which we engrave
(no. 4078 at Kensington) was probably made. Here he again says that the
lustred ware derived its name from the pottery of Maiolica, and that the
earlier and coarser varieties were known as “_Mezza-maiolica_.” Guid’
Ubaldo II. greatly encouraged the art, and in 1552 granted to Bernardin
Gagliardino, Girolamo Lanfranchi, Ranaldo and others an edict
prohibiting the importation of other wares for sale, thus confirming the
former acts, which would appear to have fallen into neglect: and in the
year 1562, on the 1st of June, he granted another, confirming to Giacomo
Lanfranco a protection of his art or patent for applying real gold to
his wares.

Passeri then (after some further historical details) describes examples
of the glazed and enamelled pottery of Pesaro which he had seen, and the
earliest he refers to are floorings of tiles existing in his time, upon
one of which, brought to him by a workman, was inscribed

+----------------+
| adi 4 de Genar |
| o. in Pesaro.  |
+----------------+

and on the other

+-------+
| 1502. |
+-------+

A considerable period elapses between this and the next dated example, a
plate, with the subject of Horatius Codes, inscribed,--

    _Orazio solo contro Toscana tutta._
    _Fatto in Pesaro. 1541._

On another (a companion of a plate preserved in the Louvre),

    _l Pianetto di Marte_
    _fatto in Pesaro 1542_
    _in bottega da Mastro Gironimo Vasaro. I.P._

He further mentions a plate having a mark consisting of the initials O A
connected by a cross, and a bas-relief with the same initials which
again occur sculptured over a door, which he suggests may have been that
of the potter’s house; we should, however, be more disposed to regard it
as a conventual or cathedral monogram.

We will now leave the work of Passeri and quote another record of the
pottery made at Pesaro a short time before the 16th century, returning
to him for information on the revival of the art at that locality in the
last.

Dennistoun in his history of the dukes of Urbino (vol. 3, p. 388)
refers to a letter among the diplomatic archives of the duchy preserved
at Florence dated 1474, from pope Sextus IV. in which he thanks Costanzo
Sforza, lord of Pesaro, for a present of

[Illustration]

most elegantly wrought earthen vases which for the donor’s sake are
prized as much as gold or silver instead of earthenware. Another letter
from Lorenzo the magnificent to Roberto Malatesta of Pesaro, thanking
him for a similar present, says, “they please me entirely by their
perfection and rarity, being quite novelties in these parts, and are
valued more than if of silver, the donor’s arms serving daily to recall
their origin.” There is every reason for assuming that both these
presents consisted of wares produced at the Pesaro furnaces.

These wares must have been looked upon as “novelties” at Florence, not
simply because they were painted on flat surfaces covered with
stanniferous glaze (for Luca della Robbia had done this many years
before) but because, being decorated with rich metallic glaze and
madreperla lustre, they probably were novelties to the Florentines as
productions of an Italian pottery. If this inference be correct, may not
another be drawn from it? That these presents being the produce of
Pesaro, and enriched with the metallic lustre, we may derive from the
whole matter an additional proof that the early lustred pieces, whose
origin has been disputed, were really made at that city; and that we may
agree with Passeri in ascribing the well-known “bacili” to that place.
Engraved p. 107 is a fine lustred _bacile_ at South Kensington, probably
of Pesaro ware, and about the year 1510.

The earliest dated Pesaro piece is in the possession of the writer. It
is a “_fruttiera_” which is painted the creation of animals by the
Almighty, Who, moving in the midst, is surrounded by animals rising out
of the ground; a distant landscape, with a town (!) on the side of a
steep mountain, forms the background.

On the reverse is inscribed as in the woodcut on the next page,

           1540.
    _Chrianite anim_
    _allis Christtus_
    _fatto in Pesaro._

We have seen some large dishes decorated with raised masks, strapwork,
&c. and painted with grotesques on a white ground, and subject panels,
and other grandiose pieces which are ascribed to the Urbino artists, but
which may in equal likelihood be attributed to the Lanfranchi of Pesaro.
A triangular plateau in the possession of Mrs. Hope has the character
of their finest productions.

[Illustration]

The art at Pesaro rapidly declined after 1560, wanting the encouragement
of a reigning ducal court; and Passeri ascribes much evil influence to
what he considers the bad taste of preferring the unmeaning designs of
the oriental porcelain, which was greatly prized by the wealthy, and the
painting after the prints of the later German school of Sadeler, &c. to
the grander works of the old masters; the landscapes were, however, well
executed. He gives us also a history of the revival of the manufacture
in his own time, under the influence and encouragement of the cardinal
prelate Ludovico Merlini. In 1718 there was only one potter at Pesaro,
Alfonzo Marzi, who produced the most ordinary wares. In 1757 signor
Giuseppe Bertolucci, an accomplished ceramist of Urbania, in conjunction
with signor Francesco di Fattori, engaged workmen and artists and
commenced a fabrique, but it was soon abandoned. Again in 1763 signors
Antonio Casali and Filippo Antonio Caligari, both of Lodi, came to
Pesaro and were joined by Pietro Lei da Sassuolo of Modena, an able
painter on Maiolica; they established a fabrique producing wares of
great excellence hardly to be distinguished from the Chinese. In the
Debruge-Labarte collection was a one-handled jug or pot, painted with
flowers in white medallions on a blue ground, and on the foot engraven
in the paste--

    “Pesaro 1771.”

A manufacture at present exists of painted tiles for pavement, removed
to Pesaro from Urbania, and which at one time produced vases and plates
in the manner of the Urbino istoriati pieces as also lustred wares after
the style of M. Giorgio. It has, we are informed, ceased making these
imitations and now confines itself to the first-named class of goods.



CHAPTER XII.

GUBBIO AND CASTEL DURANTE.


Although probably not among the earliest manufactories or _boteghe_ of
Italian enamelled and painted wares, GUBBIO undoubtedly holds one of the
most prominent positions in the history and development of the potter’s
art in the 16th century. This small town, seated on the eastern slope of
the Apennines, was then incorporated in the territory of the dukes of
Urbino under whose influence and enlightened patronage the artist
potters of the duchy received the greatest encouragement; and were thus
enabled to produce the beautiful works of which so many examples have
descended to us. Chiefly under the direction of one man, it would seem
that the produce of the Gubbio furnaces was for the most part of a
special nature; namely, a decoration of the pieces with the lustre
pigments, producing those brilliant metallic ruby, golden, and
opalescent tints which vary in every piece, and which assume almost
every colour of the rainbow as they reflect the light directed at
varying angles upon their surface. The woodcut (p. 112) represents a
vase of great interest and beauty; no. 500 in the South Kensington
collection. It is early in date; probably about 1500. The admirable way
in which the moulded ornament is arranged to show the full effect of the
lustre, and the bold yet harmonious design are worthy of observation.
That the Gubbio ware was of a special nature, and produced only at a few
fabriques almost exclusively devoted to that class of decoration, is to
be reasonably inferred from Piccolpasso’s statement; who speaking of
the application of the maiolica pigments says, “_Non ch’io ne abbia mai
fatto ne men veduto fare._” He was the maestro of an important botega at
Castel Durante, one of the largest and most productive of the Umbrian
manufactories, within a few miles also

[Illustration]

of those of Urbino, with which he must have been intimately acquainted
and in frequent correspondence. That he, in the middle of the 16th
century, when all these works were at the highest period of their
development, should be able to state that he had not only never applied
or even witnessed the process of application of these lustrous
enrichments is, we think, a convincing proof that they were never
adopted at either of those seats of the manufacture of enamelled
pottery. Although much modified and improved, lustre colours were not
invented by Italian artists, but were derived from the potters of the
east, probably from the Moors of Sicily, of Spain, or of Majorca. Hence
(we once more repeat) the name “Majolica” was originally applied only to
wares having the lustre enrichment; but since the decline of the
manufacture, the term has been more generally given: all varieties of
Italian enamelled pottery being usually, though wrongly, known as
“Maiolica.”

[Illustration]

The Gubbio fabrique was in full work previous to 1518; and the
brilliantly lustred dish, which we engrave, now at South Kensington is
before that date. That some of these early _bacili_ so well known and
apparently the work of one artist were made at Pesaro, whence the secret
and probably the artist passed to Gubbio, is far from improbable. The
reason for this emigration is not known, but it may be surmised that the
large quantity of broom and other brush-wood, necessary for the
reducing process of the reverberatory furnace in which this lustre was
produced, might have been more abundantly supplied by the hills of
Gubbio than in the vicinity of the larger city on the coast. That the
process of producing these metallic effects was costly, we gather from
Piccolpasso’s statement that sometimes not more than six pieces out of a
hundred succeeded in the firing.

The fame of the Gubbio wares is associated almost entirely with one
name, that of Giorgio Andreoli. We learn from the marchese Brancaleoni
that this artist was the son of Pietro, of a “Castello” called “Judeo,”
in the diocese of Pavia; and that, accompanied by his brother Salimbene,
he went to Gubbio in the second half of the 15th century. He appears to
have left and again returned thither in 1492, accompanied by his younger
brother Giovanni. They were enrolled as citizens on the 23rd May 1498,
on pain of forfeiting 500 ducats if they left the city in which they
engaged to continue practising their ceramic art. Patronised by the
dukes of Urbino, Giorgio was made “castellano” of Gubbio. Passeri states
that the family was noble in Pavia. It is not known why or when he was
created a “Maestro,” a title prized even more than nobility, but it is
to be presumed that it took place at the time of his enrolment as a
citizen; his name with the title “Maestro” first appearing on a document
dated that same year, 1498. Piccolpasso states that Maiolica painters
were considered noble by profession. The family of Andreoli and the
“Casa” still exist in Gubbio, and it was asserted by his descendant
Girolamo Andreoli, who died some 40 years since, that political motives
induced their emigration from Pavia.

Maestro Giorgio was an artist by profession, not only as a draughtsman
but as a modeller, and being familiar with the enamelled terra cottas of
Luca della Robbia is said to have executed with his own hands and in
their manner large altar-pieces. We were once disposed to think that
great confusion existed in respect to these altar-pieces in rilievo,
and were inclined to the belief that although some of the smaller
lustred works may have been modelled by Giorgio the larger altar-pieces
were really only imported by him. Judging from the most important which
we have been able to examine, the “Madonna del Rosario” portions of
which are in the museum at Frankfort-on-the-Maine, it seemed to approach
more nearly to the work of some member of the Della Robbia family. This
fine work is in part glazed, and in part coloured in distemper on the
unglazed terra cotta, in which respect it precisely agrees with works
known to have been executed by Andrea della Robbia assisted by his sons.
There are no signs of the application of the lustre colours to any
portion of the work, but this might be accounted for by the great risk
of failure in the firing, particularly to pieces of such large size and
in high relief. Be this as it may, from a further consideration of the
style of this work and the record of others, some of which are
heightened with the lustre colours, and the fact stated by the marchese
Brancaleoni that a receipt for an altar-piece is still preserved in the
archives of Gubbio, we are inclined to think that history must be
correct in attributing these important works in ceramic sculpture to Mº
Giorgio Andreoli. If they were his unassisted work, he deserves as high
a place among the modellers of his period as he is acknowledged to have
among artistic potters.

To go back twelve years in the history of the products of this fabrique,
we have in the South Kensington museum a very interesting example of a
work in rilievo, no. 2601, a figure of S. Sebastian, lustred with the
gold and ruby pigments, and dated 1501. Notwithstanding its inferiority
of modelling when compared with later works, we are in little doubt that
this is by Mº Giorgio’s own hand, agreeing as it does in the manner of
its painted outline and shading with the treatment of subjects on the
earlier dishes, believed to be by him. We must also bear in mind that an
interval of twelve years had elapsed between this comparatively crude
work, and that beautiful altar-piece whose

[Illustration]

excellence causes us some doubt in ascribing it to his unaided hand; and
we may observe at the same time an equal difference in the merit of his
own painted pieces. The small bowl here engraved is of about this
period, and is characteristic of a style of ornament commonly found upon
Gubbio ware. This is now at

[Illustration]

South Kensington. We add also another piece, no. 8906; well worth the
attention of a student, as exhibiting the full power

[Illustration]

attainable by the introduction of the lustre tints. The yellow has a
full rich golden tone, and the ruby a pure vivid red.

Passeri states that Giorgio brought the secret of the ruby lustre with
him from Pavia, and M. Jacquemart infers that he must have produced
works at Pavia before going to Gubbio; but we are inclined to think with
Mr. Robinson that it was from an artist previously working at Gubbio
that he acquired the art and the monopoly of the ruby tint; and it is by
no means improbable that this artist, or his predecessor, may have
emigrated from Pesaro as stated above. The following conclusions arrived
at by Mr. Robinson after the careful study of a vast number of examples
of the Gubbio and other works are endorsed by the writer, who, having
contributed some few of the facts upon which those conclusions were
based, has himself examined the contents of the principal European
collections. Those conclusions are:--

     1st. That maestro Giorgio did not invent the ruby lustre, but
     succeeded to and monopolized the use of a pigment, used by an
     earlier artist of Gubbio.

     2d. That the signed works were really painted by several distinct
     hands.

     3d. That his own work may be distinguished with approximate
     certainty.

     4th. That probably nearly all the “istoriati” pieces (1530-50) of
     Urbino, Castel Durante, or other fabriques, enriched with lustre,
     were so decorated by a subsequent operation at the Giorgio botega;
     and,

     5th. Consequently, the use of lustre colours was mainly confined to
     Gubbio, where painted wares by Xanto and other artists working at
     Urbino and other places, were sent to be lustred.

Before entering upon the subject of maestro Giorgio’s own works it will
be necessary to glance at the earlier productions of his predecessors
and probable instructors. In the absence of more positive evidence of
the manufacture of early lustred wares at Pesaro, and with a view to
keeping all the lustred wares together as much as possible, we have
thought it more convenient to include in the large catalogue those
pieces which may probably have been made at that city among the lustred
wares of Gubbio, always affixing to each such piece the name of Pesaro
and of Gubbio with a (?), and arranging them as a separate class. And in
order to facilitate the methodical study of the rise and development of
the art at Gubbio we have classified the lustred wares in the following
manner, and in probable sequence of date:--

     A. Works ascribed to Pesaro (or Gubbio?), the typical “bacili”
     referred to by Passeri, &c.

     B. Works believed of the early master who preceded Mº Giorgio at
     Gubbio.

     C. Works ascribed to maestro Giorgio’s own hand.

     D. Works of the fabrique, and pieces painted by unknown artists,
     though bearing the initials of the master.

     E. Works by the artist signing N. and by his assistants.

     F. Works painted by other artists at other fabriques, and
     subsequently lustred at Gubbio.

     G. Works of Mº Prestino, and of the later period.

Of the first class A. are those early “mezza-maiolica” dishes having a
lustre of a peculiar pearly effect: these are frequently painted with
portraits and armorial bearings, and have by many writers been ascribed
to the Diruta potteries. At South Kensington, no. 7160 is a
characteristic example of the usual type, while in no. 1606 we have an
early specimen of the ruby lustre. On the back of no. 3035 is found the
only mark with which I am acquainted on pieces of this class; the
well-known Gubbio scroll executed in manganese colour on the course
yellow glaze.

Class B. is important as connecting the former with the works of the
Gubbio furnaces. No. 7682 is a typical piece, bearing another variety of
the Gubbio scroll mark in dark colour.

Class C. contains of course the cream of the manufacture, being the
works assigned to Mº Giorgio’s own hand. The museum series is very
complete, containing specimens from the earliest period of his unsigned
work. The deep tazza and large plateau, both of which we engrave, are
admirable examples of this period. The first dated piece in any
collection which we have every reason to believe a work of maestro
Giorgio, is the

[Illustration]

rilievo of S. Sebastian (shown in the woodcut, p. 116). Other but
undated works in rilievo exist, which, as in this instance, are
heightened with the gold and ruby pigments. The earliest example having
a mark which may perhaps be that of Giorgio, and painted by him, is a
small plate in the possession of Monsignore Cajani; a central medallion
with half figure of S. Petronio, surrounded by a border of the style of
the early wares, beautifully and carefully drawn and lustred with ruby
and gold; it is marked at the back with a sort of G, intersected by a
cross and a paraphe, or flourish: see p. 122.

We now come to the period of Giorgio’s signed pieces, some of the first
of which show to what perfection he had brought his art.

[Illustration]

The earliest known signed and dated piece is in the collection of Mr.
Robert Napier; the border is decorated with trophies, &c. among which
occurs the date 1517 written in blue, while at the back 1518 is
pencilled in lustre colours. Another plate of the same service and
having the same initials of the owner, a piece of exceeding beauty for
the quality of the lustre colours, is in the British museum; we give
(p. 123) a facsimile of the central initials and of the date on the
back: and also a woodcut (p. 124), from a small tazza at South
Kensington of about the same period. Mr. Robinson speaks of this
specimen as “being of the most perfect technique of the master; and
that, although he was not a powerful draughtsman, yet this single piece
would suffice to establish his claims as a colourist.”

[Illustration]

Mº Giorgio’s manner of decoration consists of foliated scrolls and other
ornaments terminating in dolphins, eagles, and human heads, trophies,
masks, &c.; in the drawing of which he exhibited considerable power with
great facility of invention. These “grotesche” differ materially from
those of Urbino and Faenza, approaching more to the style of some of the
Castel Durante designs. In the drawing of figures, and of the nude,
Giorgio cannot be ranked as an artist of the first class. From 1519 his
signature, greatly varied, occurs through succeeding years. It would be
useless to repeat the many varieties, several of which will be seen in
the large catalogue and among the marks on specimens in other
collections. We believe that to whim or accident may be ascribed those
changes that have tasked the ingenuity of connoisseurs to read as other
names. His finer and more important pieces were generally signed in full
“Maestro Giorgio da Ugubio” with the year, and sometimes the day of the
month. About the year 1525 he executed some of his most beautiful
works; perhaps the finest large dish, and of the highest quality which
has been preserved to us, was lately in the possession of the baronne de
Parpart; we understand that it has been sold for £880. In that piece a
rich grotesque border surrounds the subject of Diana and her nymphs,
surprised by Actæon; on p. 125 is a fac-simile, half size, of the
signature at the back.

[Illustration]

In the next division D. are the works of the fabrique under Giorgio’s
direction, and pieces which though manifestly painted by other hands are
signed in lustre with his initials or full signature. We have no means
of learning what part his brothers undertook in the manufactory. A
separate division has also been formed of the works ascribed to or
signed by the artist who used the letter N, variously formed, as his
monogram. Mr. Robinson has ingeniously suggested that this letter,
containing as it does the

[Illustration]

three, V I and N, may really have been adopted by “Vincenzio,” the only
one of his sons known to have assisted. He succeeded Mº Giorgio in the
fabrique, where he was generally known as Mº Cencio. Brancaleoni states
that he worked with his father till 1536, when he married and set up for
himself. There is little doubt that although Mº Giorgio may himself have
occasionally applied the lustre pigments with his own brush to the
pieces painted by other artists at other places, the majority of those
so enriched were executed by his son or assistants. M. Darcel thinks
that this practice did not begin earlier than 1525, in which view we are
inclined to agree.

[Illustration]

Under division F. will be found works of this kind, among which the more
interesting at South Kensington are no. 8886, a fine portrait plate;
4726 having the painter’s date and mark, and that of him who lustred it;
the very remarkable plaque 520, the work of Orazio Fontana, with the
monogram of Giorgio; and the small plate 8907, dated in lustre colour as
late as 1549.

The last division G. contains works ascribed to him, and examples of the
decadence of the lustred wares.

Before closing our observations on the splendid products of this
abundant pottery, we will refer to several marks which occur on pieces
in all probability made and painted there but some of which we are
unable to explain. A plate with bust portrait of a warrior, in the
collection of M. Meurnier, of Paris, having four coats of arms on the
border and the letters Y. A. E., is inscribed on the face with the name
“Gabriel. da. Gubbio.” This doubtless is a portrait plate, and the
letters may allude to the families or individuals whose arms are
blazoned. “Gualdo” is said to be inscribed on a brilliantly lustred
specimen which we have failed to trace, and pieces in the Louvre have
been doubtingly classed under that name by M. Darcel. A man’s head,
rudely sketched in lustre colours, occurs on the back of a plate in the
British museum, more probably an artist’s whim than an intentional mark.
The letters MR combined occur on a lustred piece, perhaps a monogram of
M. Prestino. The letter P, variously formed, may also probably be his
initial.

About 1560-70 the use of the lustre pigments would seem to have been
almost discontinued; the secret of their proper composition and
manipulation was lost during the general decline of Italian artistic
pottery, and the death of Guid’ Ubaldo II. in 1574 was the
“coup-de-grâce” to the already much deteriorated wares of the duchy.

Those beautiful colours, known to the Italians as “rubino,” “cangiante,”
“madreperla,” “a reverbero,” and to the French as “reflet métallique,”
“nacré,” &c. have been to a certain extent reproduced. Unfortunately
many pieces made in the manufactory at Doccia have, after chipping and
scratching, been palmed upon unwary amateurs as ancient specimens by
unprincipled dealers at Florence and elsewhere. Some of these modern
examples are in the ceramic gallery at South Kensington. The most
successful reproduction of the famous lustre has however been made at
Gubbio itself by an able young chemist and artist, Luigi Carocci. Some
of his productions are excellent, though far from having those artistic
qualities so apparent in the finer specimens of maestro Giorgio’s work.

Although there can be little doubt that CASTEL DURANTE was one of the
earliest sites of the manufacture of enamelled pottery in Italy, as
well as one of the most fruitful not only of produce but of those
potters who in their own city, and at other establishments founded by
them in various parts of Italy, spread the fame of the Durantine wares
and the Durantine artists throughout Europe, it is remarkable that so
few pieces have descended to us, upon which the names of their authors
are recorded, or of the “boteghe” in which they were produced. Long
lists are given by Raffaelli and other writers, but to identify the
works of their hands is generally denied us, from the absence of signed
examples by which their style can be known.

From Castel Durante came the Pelliparii who on establishing themselves
at the capital city of the duchy took the name of Fontana, to which is
attached some of the greatest triumphs of their art. “Francesco,” the
able painter who probably worked at Urbino and afterwards at Monte
Bagnolo near Perugia, was as he styled himself “Durantino.” A new life
seems to have been given to artistic pottery in Venice by the
immigration of a Durantine artist Francesco del Vasaro in 1545; and even
later in the history, when the independence of the duchy was oppressed
and local patronage had waned, another potter, Mº Diomede Durante, tried
his fortune at Rome. Others went to France, Flanders, and Corfu,
spreading the art which attained important development at Nevers, at
Lyons, and other French centres.

Castel Durante, which rose from the ruins of Castel Ripense in the
thirteenth century, took the appellation of Urbania under the reign and
in compliment to her native Pope, Urban VIII. It is now a small dull
town on the banks of the Metauro, on the post-road from Urbino to Borgo
San Sepolcro, and about thirteen Italian miles distant from the former
city. The alluvial banks and deposits of the river furnished the
material for her pottery.

Signor Raffaelli, in his valuable “Memorie,” surmises that the
manufacture of glazed pottery, as an art, was introduced at the time
when monsignor Durante built a “Castello” at the badia of St. Cristoforo
at Cerreto on the Metauro, in 1284, as a place of security for the
Guelphs. Seventy years afterwards in 1361 the then deceased maestro
Giovanni dai Bistugi of Castel Durante is referred to, who probably was
so named to distinguish him from the workers in glazed ware. This glazed
ware was doubtless the ordinary lead glazed pottery or “mezza” ware,
which preceded the use of that with stanniferous enamel and does not, as
M. Darcel would suggest, afford any proof that the use of this enamel
was known here before its application or stated discovery by Luca della
Robbia. At that time even these lead glazed wares were little known, and
it was not till 1300 that they seem to have become more generally
adopted. Thenceforward their manufacture continued, for in 1364 a work
is mentioned on the bank of the torrent Maltempo at “Pozzarelli,”
perhaps so named from the pits dug for extracting the loam. The early
wares were coarse, painted with coats of arms and half figures, the
flesh being left white and the dress in gay colours. In 1500 both the
“mezza” and the enamelled wares, as well as the “sgraffio” work, were
made. The beautiful “amatoria” plate which we engrave was about this
date, and shows the beginning of a style of decoration which afterwards
prevailed in a more developed form at this fabrique. The manufacture was
at its perfection about 1525 and 1530, and continued to produce good
wares even till 1580. It would appear that the great artists only
painted the more important subject of the piece, leaving the
ornamentation to be finished by the pupils and assistants.

Piccolpasso informs us that the earth or loam gathered on the banks of
the Metauro, near Castel Durante, is of superior quality for the
manufacture of pottery. A variety called “celestrina” was used for
making the seggers, “astucci,” when mixed with the “terra rossa;” but
for the finer class of work the loam deposited by the river which when
washed was called “bianco allattato,” and when of a blue shade of
colour, was reserved for the more important pieces. The turnings of this
variety mixed with the shavings of woollen cloth were used to attach the
handles and other moulded ornaments, and was known as “barbatina.” The
red pigment of Faenza, called “vergiliotto” was not used at Castel
Durante. We presume this colour to be that ochreous red employed for
heightening and shading the draperies, &c. by the painters of the
Fontana fabrique at Urbino, and that of Lanfranco at Pesaro, and some
others; if so, the absence or presence of it would be useful as evidence
in determining the origin of a piece.

[Illustration]

Signor Raffaelli thinks that many of the wares generally known as of
Urbino were so called from the province, and frequently included those
which were really the produce of Castel Durante. Passeri also speaks in
high commendation of the Durantine wares, and Pozzi states that it was
the rival of and only second to Faenza in the quality of its
productions. The fatal blow to this branch of industry was the death of
the last duke, Francesco Maria II. in 1631, when there being no longer a
court the trade declined, money became scarce, and the artists
emigrated.

Of signed examples of the wares of Castel Durante, the earliest piece
known is the beautiful bowl belonging to Mrs. H. T. Hope which was
exhibited in the Loan collection. The ground of this piece is of an
intense dark and rich blue, entirely covered with a decoration of
grotesques, among which occurs a shield of arms of the Delia Rovere
family surmounted by the papal tiara and the keys, proving it to have
been made for pope Julius II.; trophies of books, festoons of drapery
and, above, a boy angel holding a “veronica” or napkin impressed with
the face of the Saviour. At the sides other trophies, satyrs, cupids,
and interlaced foliage are richly and harmoniously disposed, among which
are two labels inscribed respectively “_Iv. II. Pon. Max._” and “_Tu.
es. sacerdos. i eter_.” “In the design and execution of the painting,”
says Mr. Robinson, in his catalogue of that famous collection,
“splendour of colour, and perfection of enamel glaze, this magnificent
piece is a triumph of the art.” On the same occasion Mr. Morland
exhibited a piece by the same hand, and we think we recognize variations
of the same manner in two examples now in the South Kensington museum,
nos. 1728 and 1735.

In the rich and even quality of the glaze, the tendency to that form of
decoration known as “a candeliere” (as in the vase engraved), mixed
grotesques, trophies of musical instruments, and cupids, in a style of
painting which is free and at the same time firm and sure, and in the
full yet soft colouring, we see in Mrs. Hope’s bowl a commencement of
what became a very general manner in the decoration of the Durantine
wares.

Of eleven years later we have the pharmacy jars which must have formed
portions of a large and important service, one of which is in the
British museum and another in the South Kensington. The signature on
the British museum jar states, “_Ne la botega d’ Sebastiano d’
Marforia_,” and “_A di xi de Octobre fece 1519_,” and again at the base,
“_In Castel durā_.” On p. 132 is a woodcut of a mark in yellow, on a
plate in the same museum, on which is the subject of Dido and Ascanius.

[Illustration]

It would seem that this fabrique continued to flourish when those of
Urbino and Pesaro had comparatively decayed; this may partly have been
owing to the encouragement given by the duke Francesco Maria II. (1574
to 1631), who frequently resided at Castel Durante and took some
interest in the manufacture. It however only produced at this period
works of more general utility, artistic and ornamental pieces being the
exception.

[Illustration]

The wares of Castel Durante are generally to be recognised by a pale
buff coloured paste, and great richness and purity of the glaze. The
plates (of which we give three woodcuts, from examples at South
Kensington, nos. 8947, 8960, and 413) are rarely decorated at the back,
but like those of Urbino and Pesaro are generally edged with yellow on
the subject pieces, and with grey white on those having grotesques,
which are in low olive tint on a blue ground. The colours are sometimes
rather pale but harmonious and the carnations are of an olive tint,
thought by some a distinguishing mark of the fabrique; while the absence
of the ochreous red pigment so noticeable on the Urbino and Pesaro
“istoriati” pieces is remarkable. In the draperies painted upon these
wares blue and ochreous yellow predominate. Broadly treated grotesques
and trophies of arms, musical instruments, books, &c. frequently painted
in _camaïeu_ of greenish grey on a blue ground, are favourite subjects
of ornament; these also

[Illustration]

occur painted in rich colours, among which a deep clear brown

[Illustration]

may be noted, and surrounding medallions having portrait or fanciful
heads on a yellow ground. Subject pieces do not appear to have been so
abundantly painted at Castel Durante as at the neighbouring fabriques,
and such pieces to which the lustre enrichment has been added are still
less frequent.

[Illustration]

Many of the tazze the whole surfaces of which are covered with a
portrait head may probably be assigned to this place, where there would
appear to have been one or two artists who made almost a specialty of
this style of decoration. The South Kensington museum is rich in these
portrait plates; among them is a remarkable example on which a likeness
of Pietro Perugino in full face is portrayed (p. 135) and which we are
disposed to assign to this fabrique, but always with some hesitation.
Another class of pieces which we believe to have been for the most part
made at Castel Durante is that ornamented with oak branches painted
yellow on a blue ground, and sometimes in relief, surrounding a small
medallion central portrait or imaginary head.

Castel Durante seems to have supplied a larger number of pharmacy jars,
vases and bottles, than any other fabrique perhaps with the exception
of Faenza. The blue and yellow draperies of the earlier period were also
a leading feature in the revival after 1730, and a washy green was also
used; the drawing was good and some of the landscape pieces excellent,
of careful finish, soft colouring and good aërial perspective. It is
very probable, however, that many pieces of this period were really the
produce of Castelli or Naples.

[Illustration]



CHAPTER XIII.

URBINO.


Although not to be ranked with the earliest seats of the manufacture of
artistic pottery in Italy, there is no place so much associated with
these beautiful productions of the potter’s art as the small city of
Urbino, whence, indeed, was derived one of the names by which it is
distinguished. Crowning a steep among the many hills of Umbria,
remarkable in the landscape from her picturesque position and the
towering palace of her dukes, Urbino is one of those very curious cities
with which Italy abounds, and which centre round themselves an
individual history of the greatest interest. What giants of art and of
literature were born or nurtured in that little town! now so neglected
and unknown. He who, climbing the steep ascent and tortuous narrow
streets, has visited the deserted halls and richly decorated cabinets of
her palace, and has travelled through the beauteous scenery of her
neighbourhood, to where the delicious valley of the Tiber bursts upon
the sight, will never forget the impressions that they leave.

In proof of the antiquity of ceramic industry of a more ordinary kind in
the vicinity of this city, Pungileoni tells us that an antique amphora
was not long since discovered in the grounds of the Villa Gaisa, hard by
the river Isauro, and that near to it were also found remains of a
potter’s furnace. This, however, does not prove the early establishment
of a fabrique of glazed or enamelled decorative wares. Marryat states
that in a register of Urbino dated 1477 one Giovanni di Donino Garducci
is mentioned as a potter of that place, but it is not till 1501 that
any further record occurs. In that year an assortment of vases, dishes,
&c. were ordered to be made for the use of the cardinal di Carpaccio,
and among them are mentioned “bacili” having the arms of the cardinal in
the centre, and water “boccali” or jugs with little lions on the covers.
The earliest pieces now known to us, which can with any certainty be
ascribed to the potteries of Urbino, are probably those of the
Gonzaga-Este service, which are undoubtedly the work of Nicola da
Urbino; these must have been painted between the period of the marriage
of the marquis with Isabella d’ Este, in 1490, and before her death in
1539.

We have no account of the precise date at which the Pellipario,
afterwards Fontana, family came from Castel Durante and settled at
Urbino, but we have documentary proof that “Guido Niccolai Pellipario
figulo da Durante,” or “Guido, son of Nicola Pellipario, potter of
Durante,” was established at Urbino in 1520. From this period through
the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries a number of pieces are dated and
signed by various artists, or as having been made in the boteghe of
various maestri of Urbino.

We are obliged to refer the reader to the large catalogue, in detail, of
the South Kensington collection of maiolica, for an account of the works
of the more important of these artists under their respective names,
beginning with Nicola as the earliest of whom we have known examples;
the Fontana family, and of Guido Durantino; the works of Fra Xanto; of
Francesco Durantino; of the Patanazzi; not omitting those of other
artists of the fabrique, of whom we have smaller record in remaining
examples or documentary history. There seems little doubt that the
revival or perhaps the first introduction of artistic ceramic
manufacture to Urbino was under the influence of Guidobaldo I., and that
many of the potters and nearly all the more important artists immigrated
from Castel Durante. Long lists of names have been published by
Raffaelli, but it is difficult to distinguish between the more ordinary
potters and the artists, whose works we are unable to recognise from the
absence of signed specimens. Our space here will allow us to do little
more than mention their names.

Considerable uncertainty exists and some confusion has arisen among
connoisseurs in respect to the works of the very able artist Nicola da
Urbino, and as to his connection with the Fontana family and fabrique at
Urbino, the latter still a disputed and undecided question; as also to
the marks on various pieces attributable to his hand only, but which
have been assigned by M. Jacquemart to the fabrique of Ferrara, and by
other writers to various painters and localities. There are no pieces
marked or signed by this artist in the South Kensington museum, but it
possesses some examples of his work. A certain similarity in some of his
less careful pieces has caused them, not unfrequently, to be attributed
to Xanto, but a closer study of his manner will show it to be really
very distinct.

The first signed piece is in the British museum, a plate, representing a
sacrifice to Diana, and inscribed on the reverse as in the opposite
woodcut. Comparing this mark with those of the Gonzaga-Este service, Mr.
Franks arrived at the conclusion that they also were painted by Nicola
in his most careful manner; the clue thus found, he ingeniously
deciphered the monogram on the beautiful fragment in the Sauvageot
collection painted with a group from the Parnassus of Raffaelle, as
clearly and unmistakably by the same hand.

The manner of Nicola is remarkable for a sharp and careful outline of
the figures, the features clearly defined but with much delicacy of
touch, the eyes, mouth, and nostrils denoted by a clear black spot, the
faces oval, derived from the Greek model, a free use of yellow and a
pale yellow green, a tightening of the ankle and a peculiar rounding of
the knee, the hair and beard of the older heads heightened with white;
the architecture bright and distinct; the landscape background somewhat
carefully rendered in dark blue against a golden sky; and lastly, the
stems of the trees, strangely tortuous, are coloured brown, strongly
marked with black lines, as also are the rolled up clouds; these are
treated in a manner not very true to nature.

[Illustration]

Few Maiolica painters have produced works of greater beauty than the
plates of the Gonzaga-Este service, which are equally excellent in the
quality of glaze and the brilliancy of colour.

With regard to the Fontana family, chiefs among Italian ceramic artists,
we quote from the notice by Mr. Robinson appended to the Soulages
catalogue. He tells us that “The celebrity of one member of this family
has been long established by common consent. Orazio Fontana has always
occupied the highest place in the scanty list of Maiolica artists,
although at the same time nothing was definitely known of his works.
Unlike their contemporary, Xanto, the Fontana seem but rarely to have
signed their productions, and consequently their reputation as yet rests
almost entirely on tradition, on incidental notices in writings which
date back to the age in which they flourished, and on facts extracted
at a recent period from local records. No connected account of this
family has as yet been attempted, although the materials are somewhat
less scanty than usual. There can be no doubt that a considerable
proportion of the products of the Fontana ‘boteghe’ is still extant, and
that future observations will throw light on much that is now obscure in
the history of this notable race of industrial artists. Orazio Fontana,
whose renown seems to have completely eclipsed that of the other members
of his family and in fact of all the other Urbinese artists, is first
mentioned by Baldi, at the beginning of the seventeenth century, in his
eulogy of the state of Urbino pronounced before duke Francesco Maria
II.” “From documents cited by Raffaelli, it is established beyond doubt
that the original family name was _Pellipario_, of Castel Durante,
Fontana being an adopted surname; and it is not immaterial to observe
that down to the latest mention of any one of the family (in 1605) they
are invariably described as of Castel Durante.” “The Fontana were
undoubtedly manufacturers as well as artists, _i.e._, they were the
proprietors of ‘vaserie.’ Of the first Nicola, as we have only a brief
incidental notice, nothing positive can be affirmed: but with respect to
his son Guido, we have the testimony both of works still extant, and of
contemporary documents. We know also that Guido’s son Orazio also had a
manufactory of his own, and the fact is established, that between 1565
and 1571 there were two distinct Fontana manufactories,--those of father
and son. What became of Orazio’s establishment after his death, whether
continued by his brother Camillo, or reunited to that of the father,
there is no evidence to show. With respect to the remaining members of
the family, our information is of the scantiest kind. Camillo, who was
inferior in reputation as a painter only to his elder brother, appears
to have been invited to Ferrara by duke Alfonso II., and to have
introduced the Maiolica manufacture into that city. Of Nicola, the third
(?) son, we have only incidental mention in a legal document, showing
that he was alive in the year 1570. Guido, son of Camillo, lived till
1605; and of Flaminio, who may either have been son of Camillo or of
Nicola, Dennistoun’s vague notice asserting his settlement in Florence
is all I have been able to collect. No signed pieces of Camillo,
Flaminio, Nicola the second, or Guido the second, have as yet been
observed.

“A considerable proportion of the Fontana maiolica is doubtless still
extant; and it is desirable to endeavour to identify the works of the
individual members of the family, without which the mere knowledge of
their existence is of very little moment; but this is no easy task;
although specimens from the hands of one or other of them are to be
undoubtedly found in almost every collection, the work of comparison and
collation has as yet been scarcely attempted. The similarity of style
and technical characteristics of the several artists moreover, working
as they did with the same colours on the same quality of enamel ground,
and doubtless in intimate communication with each other, resolves itself
into such a strong family resemblance, that it will require the most
minute and careful observation, unremittingly continued, ere the
authorship of the several specimens can be determined with anything like
certainty. The evidence of signed specimens is of course the most to be
relied on, and is indeed indispensable in giving the clue to complete
identification in the first instance; but in the case of the Fontana
family a difficulty presents itself which should be noticed in the
outset. This difficulty arises in determining the authorship of the
pieces signed ‘_Fatto in botega_,’ &c. &c.; a mode of signature, in
fact, which proves very little in determining individual
characteristics, inasmuch as apparently nearly all the works so
inscribed are painted by other hands than that of the proprietor of the
Vaseria. In cases, however, in which the artist has actually signed or
initialed pieces with his own name, of course no such difficulty exists,
but the certainty acquired by this positive evidence is as yet confined
in the case of the Fontana family to their greatest name, Orazio.” We
regret that our limits prevent further quotation from Mr. Robinson’s
valuable remarks.

It is a matter of uncertainty whether Guido Fontana and Guido Durantino
were the same person or rival maestri; and we are disposed to the former
opinion, from the fact that in the documents quoted by Pungileoni no
other “Vasaio” named Guido, and of Castel Durante, is named. The pieces
inscribed as having been made in their boteghe although painted by
different hands may, by the wording of their inscriptions afford some
explanation; thus, on the Sta. Cecilia plate painted by Nicola, he

[Illustration]

writes in 1528, “_fata in botega di Guido da Castello d’Urante in
Urbino_,” from which we argue a connexion with the Fontana.

Unfortunately, we know no piece signed as actually painted by the hand
of Guido Fontana, but as he took that cognomen after settling in Urbino
it would be more probable that he would himself apply it on his own
work; whereas Nicola (presumably his father), on a piece of earlier
date, retained the name of their native _castello_. By others the
botega would long be known as that of the “durantini,” and that it
retained that appellation

[Illustration]

even in the following generation is proved by the occasional reference
to Orazio Fontana as of Castel Durante. We give a woodcut of an example
of the highest quality; a pilgrim’s bottle, at South Kensington, no.
8408.

The manner of the painter of these pieces approaches very much to that
of Orazio but is less refined and rich in colouring wanting that harmony
and power of expression for which he was remarkable; the drawing is more
correct and careful than on some of Orazio’s work, but is more dry and
on the surface; there is great force and movement in the figures and the
landscape backgrounds are finished with much care and effect, sometimes
covering the whole piece; the foliage of the trees is also well
rendered.

The celebrated vases made for the spezieria of the duke were produced at
the Fontana fabrique, and subsequently presented to the Santa Casa at
Loreto where many of them are still preserved. Those shown to the writer
on his visit to that celebrated shrine some few years since did not
strike him as being of such extraordinary beauty and great artistic
excellence, as the high-flown eulogy bestowed upon them by some writers
would have led him to expect. The majority of the pieces are drug pots
of a not unusual form, but all or nearly all of them are “istoriati,”
instead of being, as is generally the case, simply decorated with
“trofei,” “foglie,” “grotesche,” the more usual and less costly
ornamentation. Some of the pieces have serpent handles, mask spouts, &c.
but he vainly looked for the magnificent vases of unsurpassed beauty,
nor indeed did he see anything equal to the shaped pieces preserved in
the Bargello at Florence. The work of the well-known hands of the
Fontana fabrique is clearly recognisable, and several pieces are
probably by Orazio. Some, more important, preserved in a low press were
finer examples. We have said that the pieces individually are not so
striking but taken as a whole it is a very remarkable service, said to
have originally numbered 380 vases, all painted with subjects after the
designs of Battista Franco, Giulio Romano, Angelo, and Raffaelle; and as
the work of one private artistic pottery in the comparatively remote
capital of a small duchy, it bears no slight testimony to the
extraordinary development of every branch of art-industry in the various
districts of Italy during the sixteenth century. They were made by
order of Guidobaldo II., but on the accession of Francesco Maria II. in
1574 he found the financial condition of the duchy in a state so
embarrassed that he was obliged to devote less attention to the
encouragement of art. He abdicated in favour of the Holy See and died in
1631. The vases of the Spezieria were presented to our Lady of Loreto,
while his valuable art collections were removed to Florence.

On the vases of Loreto, says Mr. Marryat, “the subjects are the four
evangelists, the twelve apostles, St. John, St. Paul, Susannah and Job.
The others represent incidents in the Old Testament, actions of the
Romans, their naval battles and the metamorphoses of Ovid. On
eighty-five of the vases are pourtrayed the games of children, each
differing from the other. These vases are highly prized for their beauty
as well as for their variety. They have been engraved by Bartoli. A
Grand Duke of Florence was so desirous of purchasing them, that he
proposed giving in exchange a like number of silver vessels of equal
weight; while Christina of Sweden was known to say, that of all the
treasures of the Santa Casa she esteemed these the most. Louis XIV. is
reported to have offered for the four evangelists and St. Paul an equal
number of gold statues.”

With his other art treasures the ornamental vases and vessels of the
_credenza_, among which were doubtless some of the choicest productions
of the Urbino furnaces made for Guidobaldo, must have been in great part
removed to Florence; and there accordingly we find some remarkable
specimens. For many years neglected, these noble pieces were placed
almost out of observation on the top of cases which contained the
Etruscan and other antique vases in the gallery of the Uffizi. When more
general interest was excited on the subject of the renaissance pottery
these examples were removed to another room. They now occupy central
cases in one of the rooms of the Bargello, used as a museum of art
objects, and form a magnificent assemblage of vases, ewers, vasques,
pilgrim’s bottles, and other shaped pieces, dishes, and salvers,
perhaps the richest that has descended collectively to our days, and
among which may be recognised the works of all the more important
ceramic artists of Urbino.

Portions of a magnificent service of the best period of Orazio Fontana’s
botega are dispersed in various collections, as also some pieces of
equally rich quality made after the same models, but which were probably
of another “credenza.” Two of the former were exhibited at the loan
exhibition in 1862, by baron Anthony de Rothschild. They are large oval
dishes with raised medallion centres, and having the surface, both
internally and outside, divided into panels by raised strap work
springing from masks, with ornamental moulded borders, &c. These panels,
edged with cartouche ornament, are painted with subjects from the
Spanish romance of Amadis de Gaul, and on the reverse are inscriptions
in that language corresponding with the panel illustrations. The central
subject is not of the same series, but represents boys shooting at a
target, on one dish, and warriors fighting, upon the other. The border
is painted with admirable Urbino grotesques on a brilliant white ground.
The size of these pieces is 2 ft. 2 in. by 1.8½ in.

It appears that the Fontana botega was neither founded nor maintained
although greatly encouraged and patronised by the duke Guidobaldo, but
was solely created by the enterprise and sustained by the united
industry of the family. Orazio died on the 3rd August 1571. By his will
he left his wife 400 scudi, &c. and power to remain in partnership with
his nephew Flaminio, with a view to the benefit of his only daughter,
Virginia, who had married into the Giunta family when young. We think
there is every probability that the fabrique was so continued, and that
a numerous class, having the character of the wares of the botega but of
inferior artistic merit and showing the general decadence of the period,
may with probability be attributed to it.

On many of the grand pieces of the Fontana fabrique the work of another
hand is seen, which differs from the acknowledged manner of Orazio.
They are among the most decorative productions of the factory, large
round dishes with grotesque borders on a white ground, shaped pieces
similarly decorated, and having panels of subject executed by the artist
in question; others also where the subject covers the whole surface of
the dish. We have no clue to the name of this able painter, but we would
venture to suggest the great probability that these were the work of
Camillo, who is said to have been an artist only inferior in merit to
Orazio himself. In manner they approach nearly to, and are difficult to
distinguish from, the finer examples of the Lanfranchi fabrique at
Pesaro; less powerful and broad than the work of Orazio, and less
careful in drawing than those ascribed to Guido, they approach the
former in the blending of the colours and rich soft effect of surface,
while a similar mode of rendering various objects, as stones, water,
trees, &c. pervades all three, with slight individual variations. A
peculiar elongation of the figures, and narrowing of the knee and ankle
joints are characteristics of this hand, as also a transparent golden
hue to the flesh.

We are almost wholly in the dark as to the clever painters of the
grotesques on a pure white ground which so charmingly decorate many of
the noblest productions of Orazio’s furnace. The work of two or more
hands is manifest on various pieces of the best period; one, perhaps the
most able, is constantly seen on pieces, the istoriati panels or
interiors of which are painted by Orazio himself or by the artist whose
works we have just considered, and may, perhaps, also have been by the
hand of the latter, a similar method of heightening with small strokes
of red colour being observable on both. Gironimo, by whom we have a
signed piece in the South Kensington museum, no. 4354, may have been
another, but his manner is of a somewhat later character.

Of Nicola, jun., we know nothing; he is mentioned in his father’s wills
made in 1570 and 1576; and that he was unfortunate or improvident would
seem probable from the fact that in the deed of contract between Orazio
and his father on the occasion of his setting up for himself in 1565 he
agrees to keep and provide for Domitilla and Flaminio, children of his
brother Nicola, for the space of three years.

Flaminio the nephew, son of Nicola, continued the works and was a
favourite of the dukes Guidobaldo and Francesco Maria; it is said that
the latter took him to Florence to teach and aid pupils studying under
Bartolomeo degli Ammanati, where he remained for some years. Under the
fabrique of Caffaggiolo we find pieces which may perhaps have been
produced under the influence of this member of the family. In form and
decoration with grotesques they are a poor reminiscence of the superior
works of an earlier period.

The work of another, a later and inferior hand, probably of the Fontana
fabrique, is abundant in collections; his manner is between that of the
Fontana and of the Patanazzi; free and effective, but loose and
careless; the Fontana pigments are used, and occasionally pieces occur
painted with greater pains. Many vases with serpent handles and other
shaped pieces were painted by this hand, of whose name we have no
record, and it would be only guessing to suggest that Guido Fontana,
junior, the son of Camillo, who died in 1605, may have been their
author.

Another important artist of the Urbino fabrique was FRANCESCO XANTO,
who, like Giorgio, adopted the unusual habit of signing in various forms
the greater number of the pieces which he painted. Although we cannot
but appreciate the modesty, the “Lamp of Sacrifice,” which induced so
many of the earlier and contemporary artists of the highest excellence
to refrain from attaching their names to the works of their hands, or at
the most to sign a few of their admirable productions in monogram, we
must regret their having used so much reserve, and that in consequence
conjecture must take so large a place in the history of this branch of
artistic handicraft.

We have little other information of this painter beyond what is conveyed
by the inscriptions on pieces by his hand.

His name is mentioned by Rog. Vincenzo Vanni, on the 29th March 1539, as
“Franciscus Xatis fictilinus vasorum pictor egregius.” A native of
Rovigo, he seems to have settled at Urbino and there produced all his
works. His true name, gathered from his varied signatures, would appear
to be Francesco Xanto Avelli da Rovigo, and the dates of his signed
works extend from 1530 to 1542, although it is highly probable that many
existing undated pieces were executed before, and perhaps after those
dates. His earlier works are generally more fully signed, while many of
the latter have only one or two initial letters. Works by Xanto are to
be found in almost every collection of any note, and among them are
examples of high artistic excellence, although very many betray want of
care and hasty execution. It appears that many of his pieces were
subsequently enriched with the golden and ruby lustre colour at the
botega of Mº Giorgio, and Mº N at Gubbio; and, indeed, it was mainly by
the observation of these, so distinctly painted and signed by Xanto at
Urbino, and to which the metallic _reflet_ had been added evidently by a
subsequent process, that it was inferred that the lustre was a special
enrichment applied at another fabrique to works painted elsewhere. Of
Xanto’s style and merits as an artist Mr. Robinson writes:

“Xanto’s works may be considered to represent perfectly the ‘Majoliche
istoriate,’ and he certainly had a talent for the arrangement of his
works in composition, nearly all his subjects being ‘pasticci’; the
various figures or groups introduced being the invention of other
artists copied with adroit variations over and over again, and made to
do duty in the most widely different characters. As an original artist,
if indeed he can be so considered, he may be classed with the more
mannered of the scholars of Raffaelle. His designs are generally from
classical or mythological subjects. Xanto’s execution, although
dexterous, is monotonous and mechanical; his scale of colouring is
crude and positive, full of violent oppositions; the only merit, if
merit it be, being that of a certain force and brightness of aspect; in
every other respect his colouring is commonplace, not to say
disagreeable even; blue, crude opaque yellow, and orange tints, and
bright verdigris green are the dominant hues, and are scattered over the
pieces in full unbroken masses, the yellow especially meeting the eye at
the first glance. In the unsigned pieces, before 1531, the glaze is
better and more transparent, the execution more delicate, and the
outline more hard and black than in the later specimens. Some of Xanto’s
wares are profusely enriched with metallic lustres, including the
beautiful ruby tint; these specimens, however, form but a small
per-centage of the entire number of his works extant. This class of
piece is, moreover, interesting from the fact that the iridescent
colours were obviously not of Xanto’s own production, but that on the
contrary, they were applied to his wares by Mº Giorgio, and the supposed
continuers of Giorgio’s ‘fabrique’ in Gubbio. Many pieces are extant,
which, in addition to Xanto’s own signature, nearly always written in
dark blue or olive tint, are likewise signed with the monagram N of the
Giorgio school in the lustre tint; and one specimen at least has been
observed which, though painted by Xanto, has been signed in the lustre
tint by Maestro Giorgio himself.”

We cannot entirely agree with this somewhat severe judgment upon his
artistic merits.

We have no evidence to confirm Passeri’s supposition that BATTISTA
FRANCO painted pieces and initialled them with the letters B. F. V. F.
That artist was called to Urbino in 1540, by Guidobaldo II., to make
designs for various pieces, and these initials are on some of the vases
in the Spezieria at Loreto. He returned to Venice where he died in 1561;
one of his cartoons for a plate is in the British museum, and others are
preserved.

Of FRANCESCO DURANTINO, of Urbino, we know nothing more than his signed
works, and one of these gives rise to the question whether he ought to
be ranked among the potters of Urbino, or as having a small
establishment of his own at Bagnolo, or Bagnara, near Perugia. A plate
in the British museum representing the meeting of Coriolanus and his
mother is signed “frācesco durantino 1544,” as in the woodcut.

[Illustration]

A yellow tone of flesh, flowing drapery, animals (particularly horses)
drawn with great vigour of action, a fine and delicate outline, with
careful execution but occasional weakness of effect and a peculiar
softness on some of the smaller and more distant figures, are
characteristic of this artist’s style: the landscapes are executed with
care and good effect. An example in the British museum has, however, all
the richness of colour and force of the works of the Fontana.

GUIDO MERLINGO or MERLINI or NERGLINO seems to have been a proprietor of
a botega in Urbino, although his name does not occur as the actual
painter.

In the Brunswick museum a dish representing Mark Antony is signed, “fate
in botega di Guido de Nerglino.” In the Louvre is a plate, subject
Judith and Holophernes, signed at the back, “ne 1551 fato in Botega de
Guido Merlino.”

CÆSARE DA FAENZA worked in his fabrique about 1536, as proved by an
agreement dated 1st January in that year, in which he is styled “Cæsare
Care Carii Faventinus.”

Among other recorded names are those of--

      _Federigo di Giannantonio_, }
      _Nicolo di Gabriele_,       } who worked about 1530.
      _Gian Maria Mariana_,       }
      _Simone di Antonio Mariani, about 1542._
      _Rafaelle Ciarla_,
      _Luca del fu Bartolomeo, about 1544_, _and_
      _Guy, from Castel Durante_.

FRANCESCO SILVANO had a botega in Urbino, at which Xanto worked in 1541,
as proved by the signature on a plate representing the storming of
Goleta.

GEORGIO PICCHI or PICCI the younger, of the Durantine family, painted at
Urbino. Pieces signed by him are extant. Borders of Cupids among clouds
or covering the surface is a favourite decoration.

In the decline of the Urbino potteries must be placed the productions of
the members of the PATANATI or PATANAZZI family. They do not appear to
have succeeded to any of the former eminent artists as masters of a
fabrique, but painted at the establishment of Joseph Batista Boccione,
as we are informed by a signed example. Passeri only mentions them as
being of a noble family and as finding their names inscribed on
specimens which he instances. One of these is at South Kensington; a
large dish, no. 2612, signed ALF. P. F. VRBINI. 1606. The young
_Vincenzio_ is the last whose name occurs. Passeri cites a piece by him,
“Vincenzio Patanazzi da Urbino di eta d’anni tredici, 1620.”

Another piece by this youthful phenomenon is in the collection of
monsignore Cajani at Rome, representing the expulsion from paradise. It
is a most inferior production and not meritorious even for so young an
artist.

With the exception of some large dishes and a few others the wares of
Urbino, as a rule, are not ornamented on the reverse. The more usual
pieces are edged with a yellow line which is repeated round the foot or
central hollow, in the middle of which the titular inscription or date
is written in manganese black, dark olive, or blue colour. The paste is
sometimes of a pink hue, produced by the colour of the clay shining
through the glaze, but in other cases of a purer white. In the “sopra
bianco” grotesques the ground is rendered unusually white by an
additional surface of _terra di Vicenza_ or _bianco di Ferrara_; the
glaze is of fine quality and even surface. It may be here noticed that
the wares known of the Lanfranco fabrique at Pesaro have similar
characteristics, and it is not possible to distinguish between them.
That wares of a better class were occasionally produced at Urbino during
the last century is proved by a lamp in the South Kensington collection,
no. 6856; made, as the inscription tells us, at the _Fabrica di Majolica
fina_, which seems to have been established or conducted in that city in
1773 by a French artist named Rolet. We hear of him previously at Borgo
San Sepolcro in 1771, but all further record of his productions or his
success is unknown.

We are not aware that Urbino at present produces any artistic pottery.



CHAPTER XIV.

BORGO SAN-SEPOLCRO, DIRUTA, &C.


There is an example of the BORGO SAN-SEPOLCRO ware at South Kensington,
a lamp, formed of faience of a bluish white shade, painted with garlands
of flowers, &c. in colour, on which is written under the foot, “Citta
Borgo S. Sepolcro a 6 Febraio 1771. Mart. Roletus fecit.”

At SAN QUIRICO cardinal Chigi established a work about 1714, inspired
with the idea of reviving the art of painting on faience. It was
directed by Piezzentili, a painter who had given some study to the
celebrated vases by Orazio Fontana. On his death Bartolomeo Terchi,
Feschi, or Ferchi, seems to have worked at or directed the
establishment, for in the Louvre is a plaque representing Moses striking
the rock, and signed “_Bar Terchi Romano in S. Quirico_.” We shall meet
with this wandering artist also at Bassano. With other members of his
family he seems to have worked at various potteries throughout Italy,
and examples occur on which his or their signatures appear, accompanied
only by the patronymic “_Romano_,” and which are of course difficult to
assign to any one of the fabriques at which we know them to have worked.

Ferdinando Maria Campani before going to Siena worked also at this
fabrique; its productions were not sold, but given as presents by the
cardinal.

We have very little positive information in respect to the fabrique of
DIRUTA in the Papal States. Alluded to by Passeri as a pottery near
Foligno where pieces were produced remarkable for the whiteness of the
paste, we are led to the supposition that he may have confounded the
wares produced at other neighbouring localities with those made at
Diruta: and he does not inform us whether it produced lustred wares or
only those of polychrome decoration. A few years since certain plates
came under the notice of collectors inscribed “In Deruta,” the subjects
painted in blue outline, and lustred with a brassy golden colour. Doubt
and uncertainty had long existed as to the spot where the large “bacili”
and other pieces of a well-known and abundant ware, lustred with a
golden pigment of peculiarly pearly effect in certain lights, had been
produced, and the discovery of these signed examples, having a somewhat
similar metallic enrichment, caused connoisseurs to grasp at the,
perhaps hasty, conclusion, that to Diruta must be assigned those wares
of earlier date and hitherto unknown locality, and that Diruta must have
possessed a pottery of very early time and important character. But
after an examination and comparison of signed specimens, and others
which are with reasonable probability considered to be of this
_fabrique_, we are compelled to conclude that the productions of Diruta
were generally inferior to, and in many instances copied or derived
from, those of the Gubbio or earlier Pesaro types.

Castel di Diruta or Deruta is a “borgo” or dependency of Perugia, on the
road from that city to Orvieto by Todi. It is but a few miles from
Perugia, within an easy day’s journey of Gubbio, and although it may be
reasonable to presume that potteries existed there from an early period,
we think it more probable that they derived the use of the lustre
pigments from Gubbio.

It is extremely difficult in many instances to decide with any degree of
certainty as to whether some individual early specimens of the lustred
ware alluded to above, be of Pesaro, of Gubbio, or of Diruta
workmanship. We have little hesitation in assigning the dish in the next
woodcut to Diruta; the dance of Cupids is after Marc Antonio. The
similarity of the process necessary to such productions entails a
corresponding similarity of result, but we notice a somewhat coarser
grounding, a golden _reflet_ of a brassy character, a ruby, when it
(rarely) occurs, of pale dull quality,

[Illustration]

looser outlines of a colder and heavier blue, and in the pieces not
lustred the same tones of colour, a dark blue approaching to that of
Caffaggiolo in depth but wanting its brilliancy, the use of a bright
yellow to heighten the figures in grotesques, &c. in imitation of the
golden lustre, and a thin green. The drawing is generally of an inferior
stamp, and a certain _tout ensemble_ pervades the pieces difficult to
define but which more or less prevails.

The discovery within the last few years of a fine work, signed with the
artist’s monogram, the date 1527, and the place at which

[Illustration]

it was painted, is all we know of the existence of a botega at FABRIANO.
There can be little doubt that many such local and individual furnaces
existed during the sixteenth century under the direction of ceramic
artists, in many instances an emigrant from one of the more important
centres, and encouraged to set up for himself at another city by the
patronage of the leading families. This plate, which has for subject
the “Madonna della Scala” after Marc Antonio’s engraving from Raffaelle,
is cleverly painted, and on the reverse is the inscription of which we
have given a facsimile. It was exhibited by M. Spitzer, of Paris, at the
“Exposition Universelle,” was purchased from him by signor Alffº.
Castellani, and subsequently sold at Christie’s for £114. Another
example by the same hand, and with the same subject but without
signature, was sold at the same sale.

In the museum of Economic geology is a plate of the same botega, having
for subject the rape of Proserpine surrounding a cupid centre. It is
painted in _grisaille_, the sky warmed with touches of yellow, and ably
executed. This fabrique not being then known it was ascribed to Urbino,
but the monogram on the reverse, exactly corresponding with that on the
signed Fabriano piece, proves it to be of the same origin. We also give
this mark in fac-simile.

[Illustration]

The pottery of VITERBO is not recorded by any writer, but an inferior
work at South Kensington is inscribed with the name of the city and with
that of Diomeo, who was perhaps the painter of the piece in 1544. It is
a rough piece, rudely coloured and ill-drawn, but interesting from the
name of place and the date. We give an engraving of a portion of the
border, the hand of a youth holding a scroll. Two other examples are
with some doubt referred to the same locality.

[Illustration]

LORETO is named in connexion with the set of Spezieria vases, of the
fabrique of Orazio Fontana, which were presented to the shrine of our
Lady of Loreto by the last duke of Urbino, on his abdication in favour
of the Holy See. It was the habit to collect the dust gathered from the
walls of the Santa Casa and the dress of the Virgin, from which, mixed
in small quantities with the potter’s clay, cups or bowls were formed
and painted with figures of the Virgin and Child, generally on a yellow
ground. These cups were inscribed outside CON · POL · DI · S · CASA
(with the dust of the Holy House). Occasionally, but less frequently,
some of the holy water from the shrine was sprinkled on the dust,
thereby to impart a still greater sanctity. A cup so made is in the
writer’s collection, and is inscribed CON · POL · ET · AQVA · DI · S ·
CASA (with dust and water of the Holy House). These cups were probably
presented as marks of favour to pilgrims who had visited and probably
enriched the sanctuary. Signor Raffaelli believes that they were made at
Castel Durante, for the establishment at Loreto. The seal of the convent
was affixed to them in red wax.

Hitherto we have no published record of the former existence of a
manufactory of artistic enamelled pottery at ROME, that great centre to
which by her affluence and power at various periods of history artists
and objects of art have been drawn from their native countries. We have
no assurance that purely native Roman art ever attained to any very high
degree of excellence. The Etruscans and the Greeks in Pagan times, the
Byzantine school of the middle ages, and at the period of the
_renaissance_ the great Tuscan and Venetian artists worked in Rome upon
those monuments of genius of which she is so justly proud; but they are
possessions rather than native productions; and it would appear that
even in so comparatively small a branch of artistic manufacture she was
indebted to a native of Castel Durante for the establishment of a
fabrique of maiolica. Had there been pre-existing furnaces, producing
wares of artistic merit, it would hardly have been worth while for Mº
Diomede on the fall of the dukedom of Urbino to bring his art to Rome.
There is no notice of any pieces of this ware inscribed as having been
made at Rome until the year 1600, when we find on two oviform pharmacy
vases of good outline, having each a pair of double serpent handles and
a domed cover surmounted by a knob, the following inscriptions written
on oval labels. On one vase “Fatto in botega de M. Diomede Durante in
Roma,” and on the other, of which we give a woodcut, “Fatto in Roma da
Gio. Pavlo Savino M.D.C.” These vases are decorated on one side with
grotesques ably sketched in yellow, greyish blue, and orange colours on
a white enamel ground of considerable purity; on the other, a leafage
diaper in the same tone of blue covers the like ground. On one only,
immediately above the inscribed oval, the head of a buffalo is painted
in dark blue, approaching to black, and may refer to the locality of the
botega, possibly in the vicinity of the Via or Palazzo del Bufalo. These
vases were for many years in the possession of the Gaetani family, and
were purchased by the writer during his sojourn at Rome in the early
part of 1870. The style of execution is in the manner of the Urbino
grotesque decoration of the Fontana fabrique, but has not that delicacy,
combined with artistic freedom and naïveté, so remarkable in the
productions attributed to Camillo Fontana and other contemporary artists
working some fifty years before; in certain respects they have affinity
to the work of M. Gironimo of Urbino. Numerous examples of similar
general character, but later in date and of inferior execution, are
frequently to be met with in the shops at Rome and prove the production
to have been abundant; specimens are in the South Kensington museum.

[Illustration]

A manufacture of white glazed earthenware, as also of “biscuit”
porcelain, was introduced by the famous engraver _Giovanni Volpato_, of
Venice, in the year 1790. He expended a large sum of money in making
experiments and in the founding of the works, as also in procuring
numerous models which were executed with the greatest care from the
antique, and from other objects in museums, &c. as also from the works
of Canova. At one time no less than twenty experienced artists were
employed in modelling the “biscuit” porcelain to supply the great
demand. Large furnaces were constructed, but the great expense and risk
in the production of pieces for table use necessitated their sale at a
price which could not compete with the French wares, although superior
in the qualities of strength and resistance. The establishment continued
until about 1832, when the works ceased.

The figures and groups in “biscuit” porcelain, of pure white and stone
colour (variations arising from the different degrees of heat to which
they were exposed in the oven) were undoubtedly the more important
artistic productions of the Roman fabrique; but glazed pottery, very
similar in character to that of Leeds or the “Queen’s ware” of the
Wedgwoods and known as “terraglia verniciata,” was also made, and in
this material statuettes, figures of animals, candelabra, vases, and
portrait busts were modelled. There can be little doubt that the finer
examples were produced at the period when the elder Volpato perfected
the establishment, and when his critical and artistic eye directed his
modellers, and many of the figures and groups are admirable for their
grace and careful execution. Few bear any mark, but occasionally pieces,
both of the “biscuit” and glazed ware, bear the name G · VOLPATA · ROMA
· impressed in the clay.

A manufacture of coarse glazed pottery rudely ornamented with figures,
flowers, fruit, &c. in colour, still exists in the Trastevere, which
supplies the _contadini_ and the humbler classes of the city with pots
and pans of various form and startling decoration.



CHAPTER XV.

FAENZA.


That long and rather monotonous old post road the Via Æmilia (now run
sidelong by the rail) which forms almost a straight line from Piacenza
to Ancona, through one of the richest countries in the world, after
passing the fine cities of Parma, Reggio, Modena, and Bologna, reaches
Faenza and Forlì, important and early centres of the potter’s art.

Faenza is a small dull town on the site of the Roman _Faventia_, and of
the antiquity of the ceramic industry at this site there can be no
doubt, although perhaps Pesaro, Caffaggiolo, and Castel Durante may have
nearly equal claims in that respect. Of its extent and importance there
is equal certainty, and there is moreover great reason to believe that
the French word _faïence_ applied to this class of pottery was derived
from the name of the place; although there is another claimant in the
small town, under the Estrelle mountains, a short way from Cannes and
Grasse, called by the very name, Faiance (_Faventia_), and now
_chef-lieu_ of a canton in Draguignan of the Var. Mezerai, in his
_Grande Histoire_, tells us that this place was chiefly renowned for its
_Vaisselles de terre_, and there would seem to be good evidence of the
existence of its potteries from a very early period to the present day;
but of what degree of artistic merit we are unable to decide; neither
can we feel assured that the name, as applied to enamelled earthenware,
was derived from the French town and not from the Italian city. In Mr.
Marryat’s history of pottery and porcelain is an interesting notice on
this subject, from which we quote a few words. “Faïence, Fayence, or
Fayance, is the old French term, under which were comprised all
descriptions of glazed earthenware, even inclusive of porcelain, and, to
a certain extent, continues so, corresponding in its general use to the
English word crockery. The name is commonly supposed to be derived from
Faenza; but it may well be doubted whether upon any authority much to be
relied upon, since neither historians nor topographers seem to have
considered the matter worthy of their attention or examination. It might
be useful to trace the origin of a name so frequently given by the
Romans to their settlements. Besides Faenza there was a district in
their colony of Barcinum (now Barcelona), and another in Andalusia,
which is supposed to have been situated somewhere between Alcala, Real,
and Antequera. The old word Fayence, from the Latin ‘fagus,’ a beech
tree, has become almost obsolete in France. In Geneva, however, to the
present day, beechwood is still sold in the timber markets as ‘de la
fayence.’”

The fabrique of Faenza has been a kind of refuge, among amateurs, for
pieces destitute of sufficient outward sign to mark them as of other
localities; and every gaunt and early piece, strong in blue and yellow
colour, has been set down as Faentine. We agree with MM. Jacquemart and
Darcel in the belief that many works of Caffaggiolo have been classed as
of Faenza. We are, however, not convinced that the plaque in the hôtel
Cluny, the piece bearing the most ancient date hitherto discovered (if
we except that at Sèvres, inscribed xxxxiiiiiiii., and supposed to read
1448), inscribed in early characters around the sacred monogram,
“NICOLAUS DE RAGNOLIS AD HONOREM DEI ET SANCTI MICHAELIS FECIT FIERI ANO
1475” is rightly attributed to Caffaggiolo instead of to Faenza. Another
plaque in the Sèvres collection is dated 1477, with the name and arms of
NICOLAVS · ORSINI. We next arrive at the exquisite service, of which
seventeen pieces are preserved in the Correr museum at Venice, one in
the writer’s (from Pourtalès), and one in the South Kensington
collection; we give a woodcut of the mark, with the date 1482.

[Illustration]

The first published matter bearing upon the wares of Faenza is the
passage by Garzoni in the _Piazza Universale_, a publication of 1485, in
which he speaks of the pottery of this place as excellent for its
whiteness, &c. _che fa le majoliche così bianche e polite_, a remark
borne out by the quality of the service just referred to. In the church
of St. Petronio at Bologna is a pavement of tiles covering the ground of
the chapel of St. Sebastian, and without doubt laid down at the expense
of Donato Vaselli, a canon of that Basilica, who about 1487 decorated
that chapel at his own cost. The date upon one of these tiles is 1487,
and upon others are inscriptions, in parts unfortunately imperfect from
the injury or misplacement of some of the squares, but which as put
together by signor Frati of that city, would read BOLOQNIESVS · BETINI ·
FECIT: while upon other tiles occur:--

+-----------------+
|. C . . ELIA · BE|
|  F . . . TICIE  |
+-----------------+

+---------------+
| . ZETILA · BE |
| . FAVETCIE    |
+---------------+

+-------------+
| XABETA · BE |
|  FAVENTCIE  |
+-------------+

and again upon another a small label inscribed PETRVS · ANDRE · DEFAVE.
Whatever doubt may attach to the Faentine origin of the plaque in the
hôtel Cluny, dated 1475, there can be none in respect to the pavement of
San Petronio: the fact of the name _Petrus Andre-de-Fave_ occurring,
independent of the others, upon a _piccolo cartello_ seems to us an
indisputable proof to that effect. It is painted with great skill, in a
style of colouring and with ornaments which we are accustomed to
attribute to Faenza; trophies, animals, heads, the arms of Bologna and
her motto, the keys of St. Peter, and various devices are represented;
among them the silver case of lancets on a green field, and the wounded
vein, _imprese_ of the Manfredi family of Faenza.

Referring the reader to the full explanation given in the introduction
to the large catalogue of Maiolica, we can give here only a few brief
remarks upon the wares attributed to Faenza under the following heads:--

     A. The produce of the Casa Pirota.

     B. By Baldasara Manara.

     C. Pieces by the painter of the Correr service, and of his botega.

     D. By other artists presumably of Faenza.

     E. Wares of the last century and modern.

A. One of the most important if not the leading establishment at Faenza
was known under the name of the Casa Pirota, and probably existed from
an early period, but when and by whom founded, and the name of its
maestro, we have yet to learn. A house on the north side of the
principal street (where a pottery was working some few years since, at
which we have seen well-executed reproductions of the old wares) was
stated by the proprietors to be on the site of that ancient botega, but
whether there is sufficient foundation for this statement we are unable
to say.

The greater part or nearly all the pieces known to us as being marked
with the crossed circle, signed with the name of the house, or executed
by the same hands as such pieces, are of a marked character of
decoration; the wide borders are generally ornamented with grotesques,
reserved in white and shaded with a brownish yellow; or reserved in a
paler greyish tone heightened with white, on a dark blue ground. _A
berettino_ and _sopra azzuro_ are the terms applied to this mode of
decoration, and among examples of the former and perhaps earlier of the
styles, are works of the highest quality of enamelled pottery and of
admirable decoration and artistic painting. The woodcut is from a good
plate of about 1520; at South Kensington, no. 1734: and we give also a
copy of the mark on the reverse.

[Illustration]

[Illustration]

The work of at least three painters is discernible upon the wares of
this establishment. First and foremost are those charming pieces of the
greatest technical excellence by the painter of the shallow bowl at
South Kensington, no. 354, which is marked at the back with the crossed
circle, having a pellet in one of the quarters, and has for subject,
Mutius Scævola. By him are other pieces similarly shaped and decorated
with borders of grotesques reserved in white, shaded in brownish yellow
on the blue ground, and central subjects painted in a similar tone.

[Illustration]

We next have the author of the fine plateau, no. 7158, and of the better
examples of those abundant pieces having central subjects painted in a
greenish yellow tone on the _berettino_, or coats of arms emblazoned,
and wide borders covered with grotesques in a lighter tone heightened
with white on the dark blue ground. This artist also ventured into
bolder subjects upon plaques of considerable size, two of which, one
representing the Adoration of the Magi, are in the British museum; over
a portico which forms a background to the composition, the crossed
circle and pellet, mark of the fabrique, and the date 1527 are
inscribed, while on the reverse is a yellow roundel between the letters
B. B. F. F. and the same date. Rather earlier, is the plate (in the
woodcut p. 168) which although by some attributed to Caffaggiolo, is
probably of Faenza. The richly decorated back leads to this conclusion.

Not to be confounded with these masters, the last of whom by way of
distinction is known among amateurs as the “green man,” are works by a
more able artist who painted in colours of the richest tone with
admirable disposition and vigorous design, and who also signed with the
same initials. The finely treated subject of the Gathering of the Manna,
on the plate no. 7680, is by this hand, whose works are neither
ornamented at the back, nor signed with the mark of the fabrique.

[Illustration]

B. The first notice we have of Baldasara Manara occurs in Zani’s
“Enciclopedia Metodica,” in which work, under the name of _Mannara_, he
refers to the signature of the artist upon a _sotto coppa_ with the
accompanying mark. This tazza, now in the possession of the writer, is
perhaps the most important signed example known, and represents the
triumph of Time; it is one of a service decorated with orange scale-work
on the yellow ground of the reverse, and of which other pieces still
exist.

C. Wanting the inscribed name of the locality at which they were
painted, we are quite prepared to acquiesce in the maturely considered
opinion of signor Lazari, that the beautiful service, 17 pieces of which
are in the Museo Correr at Venice, and other works painted by the same
admirable early artist were produced at Faenza. They perfectly agree
with the qualities lauded by Garzoni at the approximate period of their
production, one of them being dated 1482; and no wares of that period
could in their qualities of enamel be more worthy of the expression
_bianche polite_ than the pieces of this service. We have no clue to the
name of the painter. That they were the production of a botega distinct
from the Casa Pirota seems assured, from their dissimilarity in
technical quality and style of ornamentation to the wares of that
productive house, and the absence of its distinctive mark; but there is
great similarity in their glaze and other details to the pieces painted
by another excellent hand who signs with the letters F. R.

[Illustration]

D. A multitude of homeless casuals have been attributed to the workshops
of Faenza, from technical characteristics and manner of decoration,
while as many more of somewhat different complexion have been
promiscuously charged upon Urbino. Our ignorance of the exact localities
of their production from want of evidence leads to this doubtful
generalization, and until the discovery of signed specimens by the same
hands, or documental record, we must still in numerous cases rest
content with our assumption.

[Illustration]

Many early pieces, modelled in high relief and in the round, are
probably of this origin. The very fine tazza, represented in the
woodcut, is a good example. They differ from parallel pieces ascribed to
Caffaggiolo in a certain rigidity of modelling, the use of a shading and
outline of a darker or more indigo-like blue, and a free application of
yellow and orange pigments; a more gothic sentiment also prevails from
the influence of the German school, and we find subjects copied or
derived from the works of Dürer, Martin Schön, &c., more frequently upon
the higher class of Faentine wares than on those of painters working at
the more southern centres of the art. The contemporary pieces of
Caffaggiolo are more Italian in sentiment, the blue pigment of greater
brilliancy, a purple also used, and a thicker glaze of great richness
and more _tendre_ effect.

From an early period Faenza seems to have produced a large number of
electuary pots and pharmacy bottles; a pair are in the hôtel Cluny, one
bearing the name FAENZA, the other 1500. Many of these vases are
decorated in the style known as _a quartiere_, being divided into
compartments, painted in bright yellow, &c., on dark blue, with foliated
and other ornament, and usually having a medallion with profile head or
subject on one side, under which the name of the drug in gothic
lettering is inscribed on a ribbon. A curious example is in the British
museum; a large flask-shaped bottle of dark blue ground with yellow
leafage and with twisted handles, upon the medallion of which is
represented a bear clasping a column, with the inscription “_et sarrimo
boni amici_,” allusive, in all probability, to the reconciliation of the
rival houses of Orsini and Colonna in 1517.

We would here refer to the frequent occurrence on these vases, as
occasionally upon other pieces, of pharmaceutical and ecclesiastical
signs, letters, &c. surmounted by the archiepiscopal cross and other
emblems which we believe have reference to the uses of monastic and
private pharmacies for which the services were made, and not to be
confounded, as has been too frequently the case, with the marks of
boteghe or of the painters of the piece. These emblems have no other
value to us than the clue which they might afford to patient
investigation of the locality and brotherhood of the conventual
establishment to which they may have belonged, and among the archives of
which may be recorded the date and the fabrique by which they were
furnished. But what are of far greater interest are those admirable
early pieces, painted by ceramic artists of the first rank, who, beyond
a rare monogram or date, have left no record of their place or name; and
whose highly-prized works, for their authors are several, are jealously
guarded in our public and private museums. Some of these, with
reasonable probability, are believed to have been executed at Faenza.
Several examples are preserved, of an early character, perhaps the work
of one hand, who marked them on the back with a large M crossed by a
paraphe. They are usually plateaux with raised centre, on which is a
portrait head, or shallow dishes with flat border. Variations of the
letter F are found on pieces, some of which are fairly ascribable to
this fabrique, but we need not point out the fact that many other
localities of the manufacture can claim the same for their initial
letter, and that the characteristics and technical qualities of the
pieces themselves are a necessary test.

Later in the sixteenth century, when subject painting covering the whole
surface of the piece was in general fashion (_istoriata_), the unsigned
works produced at Faenza are difficult to distinguish from those of
other fabriques. Some examples exist in collections, as one in the
Louvre with the subject of a cavalry skirmish and inscribed 1561 _in
Faenca_, but we have no knowledge of their painters, and even the
occurrence of the name of that city is but rarely met with. Her wares
are usually richly ornamented on the back with imbrication, as was the
manner of Manara, or with concentric lines of blue, yellow, orange.

E. Of the pottery produced at Faenza during the seventeenth and the last
century we have but little record. Some pharmacy vases are mentioned by
M. Jacquemart signed “Andrea Pantales Pingit, 1616,” but the signature
does not appear to be accompanied by the name of that city. In 1639
Francesco Vicchij was the proprietor of the most important fabrique.

A modern establishment professes to occupy the premises of the ancient
Casa Pirota, where we have seen fairly good reproductions of the
ordinary _sopra azzuro_ plates of the old botega, but these are but weak
imitations, and the glory of Faentine ceramic art must be looked for in
museums.



CHAPTER XVI.

FORLÌ, FERRARA, ETC.


The first notice we have of the pottery of FORLÌ is merely indirect,
occurring in a document referred to by Passeri and dated as early as
1396, a passage in which speaks of John Pedrinus “formerly of the
potteries of Forlì and now an inhabitant of Pesaro;” thus proving that
such a manufactory did exist at the former town previous to that date;
but it does not inform us whether it was more than a furnace for the
production of ordinary wares. Piccolpasso refers to the painted majolica
of Forlì, and there can be no doubt from the examples we still possess
that at the time he wrote, in the middle of the sixteenth century, it
was well known as one of the important fabriques of northern Italy.

Our next evidence is more direct, and consists of a series of examples
in the South Kensington museum, the careful comparison of which has led
to the conclusion that the wares produced at the botega of Maestro
Jeronimo (?) at the latter end of the fifteenth and early part of the
sixteenth century were of a very high order. That numbered 7410 is the
finest piece with which the writer is acquainted, part of an historical
service made for Matthias Corvinus, king of Hungary, whose arms are
emblazoned on the rim. It has hitherto been a question as to which of
the early manufactories the production of this service could be
attributed, but we think that there can be no hesitation, after a
comparison with other pieces, in classifying it as a production of
Forlì. The pretty plate no. 1803 (engraved) approaches nearer to the
manner of the finer wares of Forlì than to any other fabrique with which
we can connect it, and the pavement of tiles no. 30, on which occurs the
date 1513, is remarkable, as shown in the next engraving, for the
portrait heads introduced, one of which is that of the celebrated
Melozzo; the other may perhaps be that of the artist who executed the
work, and who is unquestionably the same as the painter of the Mº _iero_
plate; from an inscription of doubtful reading it may be understood that
he signs this work as “Petrus,” while the letter R, the initial of his
patronymic, occurs with P at the side of what may be intended for his
portrait.

[Illustration]

Mr. Barker had a plate, from the Delsette collection, subject the story
of Alexander and Roxana, on which is inscribed “Leochadius Solobrinus
picsit forolivia mece 1555;” and in the museum at Bologna is a basin on
which is painted a representation of the supper at which Mary Magdalene
washes Jesus’ feet; on the back it is signed by the same artist, with
the date 1564. This is the latest signed and dated piece of the fabrique
with which we are acquainted.

[Illustration]

Potteries are said to have been established at BOLOGNA and IMOLA, and
pieces have been ascribed to them. A plate is in a French collection,
well painted and of about the year 1500, which has the name of RAVENNA
on the reverse.

Passing to the northern duchies of Italy we find that Alfonso I., duke
of Ferrara, found means, notwithstanding his troubled and warlike rule,
to establish a fabrique of Maiolica at his castle in FERRARA. Although
the precise period of the introduction of the art is unknown, as early
as 1436 the name of “Maestro Benedetto _bocalaro in Castello_” is
recorded; in 1472 one Enrico, and in 1489 Gio. da Modena, are named;
while in a _memoriale_ of expenses in 1443 occurs the first mention of
painted and glazed wares. A curious document in the archives of Mantua,
dated 1494, tells us that Isabella (d’Este), wife of the marquis of
Mantua (Gonzaga), had sent a plate which had been broken into three
pieces to be repaired at Ferrara by the _Maestri_ working at the castle;
this was done, and the mended plate returned at the desire of the
duchess of Ferrara with another as a present.

From 1506 to 1522 the artistic works seem to have been discontinued,
probably on account of the wars in which the duke was engaged: and from
1534 to 1559, during the reign of Ercole II., the work does not seem to
have been encouraged. Pietro-Paolo Stanghi of Faenza is the only artist
recorded, having made the ornaments to a stove in the castle; but
Alfonso II. took more interest in the manufacture, and Vasari speaks of
the fine productions of his furnaces. Nearly half a century then passed
away before we hear of fresh experiments in the production of porcelain
directed by Mº. Camillo, of Urbino, assisted by his brother Battista,
and which seem to have resulted in success. When injured by the
accidental explosion of a cannon, which ultimately caused his death and
that of three gentlemen in 1567, he kept the secret, refusing to divulge
it. This event is mentioned by Bernardo Canigiani, the ambassador of the
Florentine court, who speaks of Camillo da Urbino as a maker of vases,
painter, and chemist, and the true modern discoverer of porcelain,
“_Ritrovatore moderno alla porcellana_.” It would seem, however, that
his brother, Battista, must have known something of the process, which
he may have been able to perfect by experiments, for it appears that
between 1568 and 1569 the work was continued, as on the 17th December of
the latter year an entry is made of an unusual allowance of wine for a
workman engaged in preparing the ingredients “_per far porcellani_.” The
cruet or vase, here engraved, is of about this period; it is at South
Kensington, no. 505.

[Illustration]

It is greatly to be regretted that we have at present no clue by which
we can, even with probability, attribute any of the examples of maiolica
in our collections to the earlier works of the Faentine artists produced
under Alfonso I. at Ferrara; the more so as both under his reign and
under that of Alfonso II. the fabrique was conducted, not with a view to
profit or commercial enterprise, but simply from princely magnificence
and a love of art. The produce was for their own use, and for presents
among friends, but not for sale; we may therefore conclude that it was
of highly artistic and great technical excellence. This was exceptional
among the potteries of that period in Italy, most of which were
commercial undertakings, more or less patronized and encouraged by the
ruling families of their several localities. Some Ferrarese pieces have
doubtless been preserved, and are probably now classed among those of
Faenza with which they must have a great affinity.

It is not till 1579, when the art was in decline and when the Urbino
style of ornamentation prevailed, that, on the occasion of the marriage
of Alfonso II., it is believed that a _credenza_ was made, the pieces of
which are to be recognized by bearing the device of a burning pyre with
the motto “_Ardet æternum_.” The pieces of this service have a
distinctive character of their own, and although their connection with
Ferrara may be merely one of ownership and not of origin, we think it
well to class them under that head because we have no other standard to
which we can attach all that is known of the history of that princely
botega, and because these pieces have, in default of positive evidence
to the contrary, been accepted as Ferrarese. They are remarkable for the
purity of the white enamel ground; the grotesques are by another hand
than those on pieces universally believed to be of the later period of
Urbino or of Pesaro, but they are not easily distinguished without
examination of the specimens side by side. Two pieces are in the Louvre,
two others are at South Kensington.

Alfonso II. died in 1597, after which the dukedom was absorbed into the
States of the Church. The Este removed to Modena, to which place the
contents of the palace at Ferrara were carried, including the old
maiolica, some of which is mentioned in inventories of the seventeenth
century. A few pieces which escaped destruction during the French
invasion of Italy were gathered from neglected corners of the palace,
and placed in the public gallery of Modena in 1859.

Although the antique pottery of MODENA is referred to by Pliny and by
Livy, we have no exact record or marked example of wares produced there
during the period of the renaissance. Modenese artists in terra-cotta
worked at Ferrara, and Cristoforo da Modena was _boccalaro_ to the duke
of that territory in the sixteenth century. Piccolpasso names Modena as
a place where maiolica was produced, but whether of a superior or of a
more ordinary kind we are not informed. In the last century Geminiano
Cozzi, of that city, was the leading maker of porcelain at Venice about
1765, but the monopoly granted to the fabrique of Sassuolo impeded the
manufacture of enamelled wares elsewhere in the duchy.

At SASSUOLO, a town prettily situated ten miles to the south of Modena,
an establishment for the manufacture of enamelled earthenware was
introduced by Gio. Andrea Ferrari in 1741. It would seem that he
obtained from the duke Francesco III. the right of making ordinary white
and painted maiolica, as the stanniferous enamelled wares were then
universally denominated, to the exclusion of all rivals in the duchy and
all importation from other parts, except during the fair held at Reggio.
The work commenced in 1742, and in a few years he was joined by Gio.
Maria Dallari. Their rights were from time to time renewed, and in 1756
confirmed to the extent of granting the monopoly to the family for three
generations; the materials were not to be charged with import duty, and
the advantages secured to the fabrique were further extended in 1761 by
even excluding the foreign wares from the fair at Reggio; the
manufacturers on their part being bound to supply the duchy with an
abundance of good wares at moderate prices. These wares produced were
various, among others finer pieces painted in the Japanese style and
with flowers and gilding; groups of figures were also made, and a large
export business carried on.

From a document in the Archivio della camera di commercio, it would
appear that the art was introduced at MANTUA about 1450, and that its
workers had their statutes which were altered and amended from time to
time; but we are quite unable to judge of the character of the wares
produced. They were presumably of an inferior quality, for we have
already seen that Isabella D’Este in 1494 procured maiolica for her own
use from Ferrara, Urbino, &c., which would argue that the pottery of
Mantua was inferior. In the second half of that century Schivenoglia
mentions a _bottega di Maioli_, conducted by one Zonan Antonio
_Majolaro_, and remains of a furnace with fragments of wares were
discovered in 1864 on the _riva al Lago inferiore_, from whence a small
plate was procured, painted with a female bust, arabesques, &c. Campori
suggests that the _impresa_ adopted by Francesco Gonzaga after the
battle of Taro, namely a crucible in a fire and containing ingots of
gold, may be a distinguishing mark of the Mantuan faïence even of a
later period.

Our knowledge of the production of Maiolica, or rather of artistic
enamelled pottery, in VENICE may be said to begin with the year 1540.
Previous to that date there can be little doubt that the Venetian ovens
produced enamelled wares of greater or less merit, but we have no
sufficient record of their character. M. Jacquemart believes that works
existed at Venice as early as the second half of the fifteenth century,
arguing that if the qualities of the Venetian pottery were of so high an
order at that period as to induce the inventor of the celebrated _bianco
di Ferrara_ to order vases for his own pharmacy, it must have been
developed and perfected from an earlier date. But signor Lazari
considered that the examples of glazed tiles existent in the sacristy of
the church of Sta. Elena at Venice, having the arms of the Giustiniani
family and dating about 1450-80; as also those in the Lando chapel of S.
Sebastiano, having a monogram and the date 1510, and other examples
anterior to about 1545, were importations from Faenza or from Castel
Durante; an opinion shared by the writer after a careful examination of
those pavements. The woodcut, however, p. 182 represents a very fine
dish which we may reasonably ascribe to Venice; of about the year 1540:
now at Kensington, no. 4438.

Sir William Drake quotes a petition, dated 1664, from the guild of the
“Boccaleri” of Venice, in which reference is made to previous decrees in
their favour issued in the years 1455, 1472, and 1518, prohibiting the
importation of foreign earthenware; and a decree of the senate in 1665
prohibiting the importation or sale in Venice of any sort of foreign
earthenware by any person

[Illustration]

not being a member of the guild, but upon the condition that that body
should keep the city well supplied with “latesini,” and that shops
should be kept open for its sale. From the general tenor of this
petition we may reasonably infer that at the period of its presentation
the potter’s art in Venice was reduced to the production of very
ordinary wares. It is curious also, and perhaps confirmatory of the
inferiority of Venetian artistic pottery, that an exception in the
decree against importation should be made in favour of the maiolica of
Valencia, which we know also to have been imported into Genoa. This
ware, which had once been excellent, had greatly deteriorated in 1664.
The culminating period of the excellence of Venetian pottery in respect
to painting and design was probably the middle of the sixteenth century.

The earliest dated example is a deep circular dish in the writer’s
collection, the centre of which is occupied by the figure of a mermaid
floating on the sea, a horn in her right hand, and regarding herself in
a mirror which she holds in her left; the wide border is covered with
intricate and very elegant arabesque sprays of foliage with fruits and
flowers, among which are birds. The whole is painted in dull pale blue
on a grey enamel and heightened with white, and on the reverse is the
inscription “1540 · ADI · 16 · DEL · MEXE · DEOTVBRE.” In the Brunswick
museum there is a large dish, having the subject of Moses and Aaron
entreating Pharaoh, with a rich border of medallions figurative of the
months, &c., and the inscription “1568. Zener Domenigo da Venecia Feci
in la botega al ponte sito del Andar a San Paolo.” Pieces are in various
collections having for mark a C-formed fish hook, with loop at one
extremity and barbed point at the other. The only name which occurs in
connexion with these examples is that of one _Dionigi Marini_, who signs
a plate having this mark twice repeated, and the date 1636. In 1753 the
Bertolini obtained a decree of the senate permitting them to open a shop
in Venice for the sale of their maiolica, free for ten years of all
import and export duties. Notwithstanding, the manufactory had ceased
before the expiration of the term of the decree in 1763, when it was
annulled.

The leading characteristic of the enamelled pottery produced at Venice
in the sixteenth century is a close buff-coloured body, covered by an
even glaze of grey colour, produced by the ad mixture of a small
portion of zaffre, and known as “smaltino.” Upon this the design was
outlined and shaded in blue, of a rather low tone, the high lights being
touched in with white. Engraved

[Illustration]

is a large dish, very elegantly ornamented, probably made about 1540.
The reverse of the dishes generally have a belt of foliated sprays round
the rim, and radiating flutings or alternating thin and thicker lines
round the “cavetto.” It is worthy of remark that some of the Paduan
wares are similarly ornamented, and we may thence infer some connexion
between the establishments or an attempt at imitation; the fact that a
cross was adopted as a mark at both places is also noteworthy.

[Illustration]

The Venetian wares of the last century which, without positive proof,
are generally believed to have been produced by the Bertolini have also
distinctive qualities. They are remarkable for their thinness and
lightness; baked at a high temperature, they are almost as sonorous as
metal; the ornamentation round the rim is frequently executed in
rilievo, and they have been mistaken for enamelled copper with
_repoussé_ flowers, &c. The colours used were generally blue and brown,
with yellow occasionally, on a pale blue or dull white ground.

[Illustration]

We must refer to the large catalogue of the collection of Maiolica at
South Kensington, for notices of the less important establishments at
TREVISO, BASSANO, PADUA, VERONA, and some other towns: as also at MILAN,
TURIN, and NAPLES. In the last city, at the royal fabrique of Capo di
Monte established in 1736, several varieties of fine ware were made,
from a beautiful artificial porcelain to a faïence of high quality, of
which, however, little seems to have been produced.

In every large collection pieces will be found for which it is not easy
to assign any place as the fabrique at which they were produced. The
very interesting piece (in the woodcut p. 185) at South Kensington, no.
2562, is an example: it is of early date, and a certain oriental
character about the design would suggest the influence of Moorish
potters. Another such example is the dish, no. 2593, of the fifteenth
century and probably of Tuscan origin; we give also a woodcut of this.


THE END.



INDEX.


Alhambra, tiles and vase, 14, 75

    “     vase, copy, 77

Altar pieces, ascribed to Giorgio, 114

Amatorii pieces, 64

Anatolian wares, 71

Andreoli, maestro Giorgio, 29, 36, 42, 114

    “     his use of the ruby tint, 118

    “     distinctions of his works, 118, 119

    “     first dated piece, 120

    “          “      and signed, 121

    “     characteristics, 122

Arabic inscriptions, 16


Babylonian pottery, 5

Bacini, at Pesaro, &c., 10, 18, 22

Barbatina, explained, 129

Bartolomeo, 152

Bassano, 186

Beads, maiolica, 64

Benedetto, maestro, 177

Betrothal dishes, 30

Boccoleri, of Venice, their petition, 181

Bologna, 176

Borgo san Sepolero, 154

Botega, the meaning, 1


Cachan ware, 66

Cæsare da Faenza, 151

Caffaggiolo, 27

      “      under the Medici, 43

      “      usual subjects, 62

      “      potteries, 88

      “      characteristics, 89

      “      examples at South Kensington, 92

      “      name variously spelt, 94

Calata-Girone potteries, 85

Camillo da Urbino, 177

Campani, Ferdinando, 154

Capo di monte, 186

Castel Durante, 37, 127, 128

       “        earliest signed piece, 130, 132

       “        general decoration, 130

Cencio, maestro, 124

Chigi, cardinal, at San Quirico, 154

Chinese porcelain, imitations, 46

Ciarla, 152

Coffins, made of ware, 5


Damascus plate, 13

    “    ware, 68

    “    the name should be revived, 69

    “    lamp, 69

    “    two varieties, 69

Diruta, madreperla, 30

   “    potteries, 154

Discs, on walls at Bologna, &c., 10

Discs, at Pisa, 18

Duccio, Agostino, 28


Egyptians, anciently used glaze, 3

     “     turquoise blue, 5

Elizabethan “Damascus” ware, 69

Enamelled wares, 12

English reproductions, 50, 74

Enrico da Modena, 177


F. R. monogram, 170

Fabriano, potteries, 157

    “     mark and date, 157, 158

Fabrique, the meaning, 1

Faenza, examples 23, &c., 40

   “    origin of name, 61, 163

   “    potteries, 163

   “    earliest dates, 164

   “    five divisions, 166

   “    early characteristics, 171

   “    late examples, 173

Fayence, how made, 3

Ferrara potteries, 34, 177

   “    examples, 179

Florentine porcelain, 47

Fontana, Camillo, 37, 147

   “     Flaminio, 148

   “     Francesco, 127

   “     Orazio, 43, 139, 146

   “     originally Pelliparii, 127, 137

   “     Guido, 142

   “     Gironimo, 147

Forgeries, 49, 126

Forlì, 175

Fornarina, 45

Francesco Durantino, 150

Franco, Battista, 43, 150

French reproductions, 50, 74

Furnaces, as explained by Piccolpasso, 56


Gabriele, 152

German, early enamel glazing, 21

Giannantonio, 152

Giorgio. See _Andreoli_.

Giovanni da Modena, 177

Glaze, vitreous, invented in the East, 1, 2

  “    upon tiles, 9

Gombrōn ware, 67

Græco-Roman pottery, 8

Gubbio, vases, &c., 38

   “    wares, 111

   “    early date, 113

Guy, from Castel Durante, 152


Hispano-moresque vase, 15

        “        pottery, rare in Spain, 20

        “        a doubtful variety, 71

        “        formerly undistinguished, 75

        “        varieties, 76

House of Loretto, dust collected to make cups, &c., 160


Imola, 176

Isabella d’Este, 177

Ispahan tiles, 67

Italian pottery, various names,, 61

Iviça potteries, 79


Lanfranchi family, 40

     “     wares, 104

Lead-glazed wares, 6

Lindus wares, 65, 69

Lombard potteries, 34

Loreto drug pots and vases, 43, 144, 145

  “    potteries, 159

Lustre, applied in Persia, &c., 6

   “    earliest trace in Europe, 18

   “    madreperla, 30

Lustre pigments, the secret lost, 126

   “   modern imitations, 126


Madreperla lustre, 30

Maestro, the title, 114

Maiolica, the term, 20, 78, 112

    “     proper restriction, 21

    “     vases or drug pots at Loreto, 43

    “     beads, 64

Majorca ware, 77

Malaga ware, 76

Manara (Baldasara), 169

Mantua, potteries, 180

Mariana (Gian), 152

Mariani, 152

Merlino, Guido, 151

Metallic lustre, 18

Metauro loam, 128

Mezza-maiolica, 21

       “        outlines and designs, 30

Milan, 186

Modena, potteries, 179

Monte Lupo pottery, 100

    “      inscription, 101

Moorish periods in Spain, 14

       “        in Sicily, 17

   “    art, prohibited in Spain, 76

Mosque lamp, 69


Nahinna ware, 67

Naples, reproductions, 50

   “    potteries, 186

Natinz ware, 67

Nicola da Urbino, 138

        “         first signed piece, 138


Orazio (Fontana) examples, 146


Padua, 186

Patanati, their productions, 152

Patanati, Vincenzio, his childish attempts, 152

Pelliparii, afterwards Fontana, 127

Persian wall tiles, 7, 65

   “    ware at Pisa, 18

   “     “   origin, 65

   “     “   how to be divided, 67

Perugino, portrait, 135

Pesaro, ancient potteries, 10, 29, 32, 103

   “    madreperla, 30, 103

   “    renaissance potteries, 103, 106

   “         “      inscriptions, 106

   “         “      earliest dated, 108

   “    modern, 110

Piccolpasso, his book, 51

      “      his botega, 112

Picchi, Georgio, 152

Pirota (casa), 166

Pisa, potteries, 101

Plumbeous glaze, 8

Pottery, or Fayence, how made, 3

   “     Græco-Roman, 8

   “     best period of Italian, 42


Raffaelle, his designs, 42-45

    “      ware, so-called, 62

Ravenna, potteries, 34

Rhodian wares, 69

   “    characteristics, 70

Robbia, Luca della, 22, 25, 27, 89

   “    Notice of his life, by Mr. Robinson, 24

   “    Andrea, 28

   “    Giovanni, 28

   “    Girolamo, 28

Roman potteries, 45

   “    in sixteenth century, 160

   “    style of decoration, 161

   “    biscuit porcelain, 162

Romano, Giulio, 48

St. Sebastian, rilievo, ascribed to Giorgio, 120

Saltzburg, chimney piece, 21

San Quirico, potteries, 154

Sassuolo, potteries, 180

Savino, Guido, 38

Scodelle, 63

Seggers, as explained by Piccolpasso, 54

Sgraffiati, wares, 86

  “           “   the method, 86

Sicilian lustred ware, 84

Siena, potteries, 96

  “    marks, 99

Silvano, Francesco, 152

Stanniferous, enamel, earliest date, 27

Strehla, terra-cotta pulpit, 21


Teheran ware, 67

Terra-cotta discs, on walls, 9, 10

  “         pulpit, 21

Tiles, on walls, &c., 10, 22, 72

  “    of the Alhambra, 14

  “    at Leipsic, 21

  “    in mosques, 65

  “    of Ispahan, 67

  “    in the Seraglio, 72

  “    modern Indian, 73

  “    at Cordova, 75

  “    at Siena, 96

  “    Faenza, 165

Tondi, of Luca della Robbia, 24

Tondino, the form, 63

Treviso, 186

Turin, 186


Unknown fabriques, examples, 186

Urbino, sketch of the ducal history, 35

  “     vases, &c., 38

  “     ware, the name, 62

  “     ancient wares, 136

  “     decorations, 152

  “     no modern artistic pottery, 153


Valencia, potteries, 14, 79, 82

  “       emblem of the Eagle, 80

  “       ware, brought to England in 1400, 83

Vases, different shapes as given by Piccolpasso, 52

Venetian potteries, 34, 37, 181

  “      earliest dated, 183

Verona, 186

V.I.N., monogram. See Cencio, 124

Vincenzio Patanati, 152

Viterbo, example of ware, 158

Vitreous, or glass-glazed wares, 4


Ware, soft and hard, 3


Xativa potteries, 80


Zanto, Francesco, 148

  “    Mr. Robinson’s judgment on his works, 148

  “    too severe, 149

Zonan, Antonio, 181


LONDON: BRADBURY, AGNEW, & CO., PRINTERS, WHITEFRIARS.

       *       *       *       *       *

SOUTH KENSINGTON MUSEUM ART HANDBOOKS.

EDITED BY WILLIAM MASKELL.

_1. TEXTILE FABRICS._ By the Very Rev. DANIEL ROCK, D.D. With numerous
Woodcuts.

_2. IVORIES: ANCIENT AND MEDIÆVAL._ By WILLIAM MASKELL. With numerous
Woodcuts.

_3. ANCIENT AND MODERN FURNITURE AND WOODWORK._ By JOHN HUNGERFORD
POLLEN. With numerous Woodcuts.

_4. MAIOLICA._ By C. DRURY E. FORTNUM, F.S.A. With numerous Woodcuts.

_5. MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS._ By CARL ENGEL. With numerous Woodcuts.





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