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European Ceramics and Precious Metalwork

Ceramics, which were hardly represented in the Museum until Cockerell's arrival, became a priority during his early years and remained one of his strongest interests.

The Fitzwilliam acquired its first pieces of Italian maiolica with the bequest of Charles Brinsley Marlay in 1912. Important additions came with the donation of Alfred Aaron de Pass in 1933 (Cockerell stayed with him in Cornwall and brought back two suitcases full of artworks, sending an assistant to pack the rest) and from the bequest of the Rt. Hon. Frederick Leverton Harris in 1926, which represented the entire development of Italian maiolica.

Maiolica dish    Two tondini

Maiolica dish
The Judgement of Paris based on Marcantonio Raimondi's engraving with the impresa of the Farnese family (a maiden with a unicorn) and the arms of Farnese impaling Crispi on the reverseUrbino, probably made in the workshop of Guido Durantino, c.1544-1550
Bequeathed by F. Leverton Harris in 1926 (C.59-1927, above left)

Two tondini
Meleager hunting the Calydonian Boar and The Contest between Apollo and Pan with arms
identified as those of the Strozzi, Cosi or Buoncristiani of Florence or as the heraldic impresa of the Manetti
Urbino, c.1530; by the Milan
Marsyas Painter
Presented by Alfred A. de Pass in 1933 in memory of his son Crispin (C.132-1933, C.133-1933, above right)

Among the first loans Cockerell brought to the Fitzwilliam were the ceramics of Dr James Whitbread Lee Glaisher, a leading mathematician and astronomer, a Fellow of Trinity College and a distinguished collector of European pottery. One of Cockerell's staunchest supporters on the Syndicate, Dr Glaisher became Honorary Keeper of Ceramics in 1916 and upon his death in 1928 the Fitzwilliam acquired his extensive collection of English and continental pottery.

Punch bowl and cover    House-shaped cistern    Nautilus shell cup

Punch bowl and cover
Tin-glazed and painted with Chinese landscapes for Thomas Bootle, a prominent London lawyer who was elected to Parliament for Liverpool in 1724
Probably Liverpool, 1724
Bequeathed by Dr J.W.L. Glaisher in 1928 (C.1716-1928, above left)

House-shaped cistern
Tin-glazed and painted with views of a courtyard and a garden, silver spigot in the shape of a dolphin ridden by a merman
The Netherlands, Delft, the 'Greek A' factory, c.1700
Bequeathed by Dr J.W.L. Glaisher in 1928 (C.2416-1928, above centre)

Nautilus shell cup
Oriental figures, buildings and trellis engraved probably in China; marine decoration on the silver-gilt mount made in London, 1585-1586
Bequeathed by L.D. Cunliffe in 1937 (M/P.4-1938, above right)

One of the most magnificent bequests in Cockerell's time was announced in August 1937, just as he was about to retire. Leonard Daneham Cunliffe left to the Fitzwilliam a collection whose breadth and splendour enriched almost every department. It ranged from ancient and Renaissance bronzes, paintings, drawings, prints and portrait miniatures to enamels, furniture, textiles, pottery and metal plate, including an exquisite Nautilus shell cup made in London c.1585-1586. Cunliffe's treasures provided a grand finale to Cockerell's Directorship. 'A very important bequest has come to the Fitzwilliam,' he wrote in September 1937, 'just in time to be included in my spoils.'