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A Battle between Caesar and Pompey

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A Battle between Caesar and Pompey


Leonardo di Antonio Bettisi (workshop)


H.S. Reitlinger


tin-glazed earthenware







Renaissance maiolica broad-rimmed bowl, painted in blue, yellow and orange with A Battle between Caesar and Pompey.

Broad-rimmed bowl. Earthenware, tin-glazed overall. Painted in blue, yellow, and orange. Shape approximately 59. Circular with broad sloping rim and deep well. A Battle between Caesar and Pompey. Troops of cavalry are drawn up on the right and left, the former moving forward to attack. Above, there is an oval shield charged with the arms of the Wittelsbach Dukes of Bavaria below a coronet. At the bottom of the rim is an inscription: `cavaleria di popeo simoue/cotra cesare' (Cavalry of Pompey advances against Caesar). A narrow blue band and a yellow band between two orange encircle the rim. The base is marked in brownish-orange `.DO.PI .'.

Production Place

Faenza (workshop) (place)

Emilia-Romagna (workshop) (region)

Italy (workshop) (country)

Technique Description

Earthenware, tin-glazed overall. Painted in blue, yellow, and orange.


height: (whole): 4.1 cm
diameter: (whole): 25.2 cm


16th century


circa 1576


bequeathed: Reitlinger, Henry Scipio 1950 (Filtered for: Applied Arts collection)

H.S. Reitlinger (d.1950); the Reitlinger Trust, Maidenhead, from which transferred in 1991.

H.S. Reitlinger Bequest


  1. inscription
    Position: at the bottom of the rim
    Method: inscribed
    Content: cavaleria di popeo simoue/cotra cesare
    Interpretation: description of the scene
    Language: Italian
    Translation: Cavalry of Pompey advances against Caesar
  2. mark
    Position: on the base
    Method: painted in blue
    Content: .DO.PI -
    Description: .DO with line over O .PI with circumflex over I followed by short dash
    Interpretation: Don Pino


  1. Wilson, Timothy (1987) Ceramic Art of the Italian Renaissance, London: Trustees of the British Museum [page: p. 150]
    [comments: Publ. p. 150, no. 236]
  2. Poole, Julia E. (1995) Italian Maiolica and Incised Slipware in the Fitzwilliam Museum Cambridge, Cambridge (Cambs.): Cambridge University Press [page: pp. 265-6]
    [comments: Publ. pp. 265-6, no. 340]
  3. Poole, Julia E. (1997) Fitzwilliam Museum Handbooks, Italian Maiolica, Cambridge (Cambs.): Cambridge University Press [page: pp. 92-3]
    [comments: Publ. pp. 92-3, no. 41]

Other Notes

This dish bears the arms of the Wittelsbach dukes of Bavaria and once formed part of a service which belonged to Albrecht V (ruled 1550-79). The service was probably made in 1576, the date on one dish. The original extent of the service is unknown, but an inventory of 1751 mentioned 116 pieces. Most of the service remains in Munich in the Residenzmuseum, and the Bayerisches Nationalmuseum. The service is decorated in compendiario style with scenes from the Bible, classical mythology, and Roman history, The scene on this dish is titled 'cavaleria di popeo simoue/cotra cesare (cavalry of Pompey advances against Caesar), and probably represents the battle between Caesar and Pompey at Pharsalus in 48BC, described in Appian's, Civil Wars, II, 11.

Accession Number

C.179-1991 (Applied Arts)
(Reference Number: 80721; Input Date: 2002-08-07 / Last Edit: 2011-05-02)

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