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Mercury, Herse and Aglauros


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Title/s

Mercury, Herse and Aglauros

Maker/s

Maestro Giorgio Andreoli (workshop)

Category

tin-glazed earthenware
maiolica

Name

plate

School/Style

Renaissance

Description

Maiolica plate. Painted on the front in polychrome, with Mercury, Herse and Aglauros.

Plate. Buff earthenware, tin-glazed overall; the reverse pale beige. Painted in blue, green, yellow, and orange; red and shades of yellow-gold lustre. Shape 50. Circular with slightly sloping rim and shallow depression in the middle, standing on a footring. Mercury, Herse and Aglauros. Mercury stands holding his rod in his left hand, his right extended towards Aglauros who stands in the doorway of the palace. On the left, Herse sits indoors beside a window, resting her head on her right hand. The arch of the window springs from a column decorated with scrolling foliage. On the wall above is a shield charged with the arms party per pale undy azure and or (shown orange) a mullet and a crescent counterchanged. In the foreground there are four pebbles on the path, and in the background to right, rocks and a large expanse of sky. The back is marked in the middle in thick orange-yellow lustre, `1522/.M o .o G' (both o raised). The base is encircled by a wide blue band and a narrow lustre band repeated in reverse order next to the rim. Between these are four crossed lozenges alternating with two spirals between curved strokes and two groups of spots between curved strokes.

Production Notes

The figures of Mercury and Aglauros were derived from a woodcut in Ovidio metamorphoseos vulgare, Venice, 1497, p. XVIIIv, or in one of the Latin or Italian editions published in 1505, 1508, 1509, 1513, and 1517.

Production Place

Gubbio (workshop) (place)

Umbria (workshop) (region)

Italy (workshop) (country)

Technique Description

Buff earthenware, tin-glazed overall; the reverse pale beige. Painted in blue, green, yellow, and orange; red and shades of yellow-gold lustre.

Dimensions

height: (whole): 2.7 cm
diameter: (whole): 26.0 cm

Period

16th century
Renaissance

Date

1522

Provenance

bequeathed: Clarke, Louis Colville Gray 1960 (Filtered for: Applied Arts collection)

Henry T. Hope, Deepdene, Surrey; by descent to the 6th and 7th Dukes of Newcastle-under-Lyme; Christie's, 7 July 1921, Catalogue of fine old English silver-gilt plate, Limoges enamels, old Italian majolica and porcelain, the property of his grace the Duke of Newcastle, and removed from Clumber, Worksop, lot 120; George A. Lockett; Christie's, 11 June 1942, The choice collection of objects of art and furniture formed by the late George A. Lockett Esq., lot 217; Alfred Spero (£556); from 1943, L.C.G. Clarke.

L.C.G. Clarke Bequest

Inscriptions/Marks

  1. label
    Position: on back
    Method: printed in black
    Content: CLUMBER/2603
    Description: rectangular, a ducal crown over a gothic N and to the right 'CLUMBER/2603'
    Interpretation: Duke of Newcastle, Clumber, Workshop, and collection number
  2. inscription
    Position: on the back
    Method: in thick orange-yellow lustre
    Content: 1522/.M o .o G
    Description: both o raised

Documentation

  1. Christie's (1921) Catalogue of fine old English silver-gilt plate, Limoges enamels, old Italian majolica and porcelain, the property of His Grace the Duke of Newcastle, and removed from Clumber, Worksop, London: Christie, Manson & Woods [page: 25] 7 July 1921)
    [comments: Publ. lot 120]
  2. Christie's (1942) The choice collection of objects of art and furniture formed by the late George A. Lockett Esq., London [page: 24] 11 June 1942)
    [comments: Publ. lot 217]
  3. Borenius, Tancred A Maestro Giorgio maiolica dish, [page: pp. 127-8]
    Source title: Burlington Magazine (May 1944)
    [comments: Publ. pp. 127-8 & pls. A & D]
  4. Chompret, Joseph, Dr (1949) Répertoire de la majolique italienne, Colmar, Paris [page: p. 96]
    [comments: Publ. II, p. 96, fig. 767]
  5. (1962) Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. Annual Report for the Year ending 31 December 1961, Cambridge (Cambs.): Cambridge University Press [page: p. 5]
    [comments: Publ. p. 5 & pl. XII]
  6. Winter, Carl Louis Clarke as a Collector, [page: p. 381]
    Source title: Apollo (July 1962)
    [comments: Publ. p. 381, fig. 12]
  7. Palmer, Jock Pegler Italian maiolica of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, [page: pp. 133-4]
    Source title: Apollo (February 1966)
    [comments: Publ. p. 133, p. 134, fig. 4]
  8. Bellini, Mario (1964) Maioliche italiane del Rinascimento, Milan [page: p. 134]
    [comments: Publ. p. 134]
  9. Poole, Julia E. (1995) Italian Maiolica and Incised Slipware in the Fitzwilliam Museum Cambridge, Cambridge (Cambs.): Cambridge University Press [page: pp. 221-3]
    [comments: Publ. pp. 221-3, no. 296]
  10. Poole, Julia E. (1997) Fitzwilliam Museum Handbooks, Italian Maiolica, Cambridge (Cambs.): Cambridge University Press [page: 56-7]
    [comments: Publ. pp. 56-7, no. 23]
  11. Kube, Alfred N (1976) Leningrad State Hermitage Collection, Italian Maiolica XV-XVIII Centuries, Moscow
    [comments: Cf. no. 90 (F 397) a plate decorated with the Fall of Phaeton, and bearing the same arms]
  12. Rackham, Bernard (1958) The Ford collection of Italian maiolica, London? [page: 148-9]
    Source title: Connoisseur (November 1958)
    [comments: Cf. p. 148, pl. I and p. 149, a plate in the Metropolitan Museum of Art New York, decorated with a woman holding a dagger, as if to wound a young man tied to a tree, the same arms, and a panel inscribed 'Me dol l'infamia/tua: piu ch lmorire' (Your infamy hurts me more than death)]

Other Notes

The subject was taken from Ovid's Metamorphoses, II, 708-832. The scene could illustrate Mercury's first or second visit to Cecrops' palace to see Herse with whom he had fallen in love. On the first occasion he was met by her sister Aglaurus who declined to lead him to Herse, and demanded gold for her compliance before sending him away. On his return, Aglaurus, who had become extremely envious of Herse's good fortune in attracting a lover, barred the way to her room. Thereupon Mercury exercised his supernatural power to open the door and transformed Aglaurus into stone.

Accession Number

C.79-1961 (Applied Arts)
(Reference Number: 79248; Input Date: 2002-06-25 / Last Edit: 2011-02-01)

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