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Caesar crossing a river in a boat

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Caesar crossing a river in a boat


Leonardo di Antonio Bettisi (workshop)


H.S. Reitlinger


tin-glazed earthenware






Renaissance maiolica broad-rimmed bowl, painted in blue, yellow and orange with Caesar crossing a river in a boat.

Broad-rimmed bowl. Earthenware, tin-glazed overall. Painted in blue, yellow, and orange. Shape approximately 59. Circular with a broad sloping rim and deep well. Caesar crossing a River in a Boat. Caesar is seated in a boat rowed with one oar by a boatman. In the foreground are waves and in the background a riverbank and hills. In the sky is an oval shield charged with the arms of the Wittelsbach Dukes of Bavaria surmounted by a coronet. At the bottom of the rim there is a rectangular panel inscribed, `solitariamentae Cesare/pasa' il fiume' chentra/nel mare tra Gaeta e'tara/cina [?]'(alone Caesar crosses the river which enters the sea between Gaeta and Taracina [?]). A narrow blue band, and a yellow band between two orange, encircle the rim. The back is inscribed in the middle in brownish-orange `.DO.PI.'.

Production Place

Faenza (workshop) (place)

Emilia-Romagna (region)

Italy (country)

Technique Description

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


height: (whole): 5.1 cm
diameter: (whole): 24.8 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.

Bequeathed by Henry Scipio Reitlinger, 1950; transferred from the Reitlinger Trust, 1991.


  1. label
    Method: inscribed in pencil
    Content: 353
    Description: circular wih serrated edge
  2. inscription
    Position: at the bottom of the rim
    Method: inscribed
    Content: solitariamentae Cesare/pasa' il fiume' chentra/nel mare tra Gaeta e'tara/cina [?]
    Description: in a rectangular panel
    Translation: alone Caesar crosses the river which enters the sea between Gaeta and Taracina [?]
  3. inscription
    Position: on the back
    Method: inscribed in brownish-yellow
    Content: .DO.PI.


  1. Wilson, Timothy (1987) Ceramic Art of the Italian Renaissance, London: Trustees of the British Museum [page: pp. 149-150]
    [comments: Publ. pp. 149-150, no. 235]
  2. (1992) Fitzwilliam Museum, Annual Report 1991, Cambridge (Cambs.) [page: pp. 18-9]
    [comments: Publ. p. 19 and text p. 18]
  3. Poole, Julia E. (1995) Italian Maiolica and Incised Slipware in the Fitzwilliam Museum Cambridge, Cambridge (Cambs.): Cambridge University Press [page: pp. 266-7]
    [comments: Publ. pp. 266-7, no. 341]

Other Notes

This dish belongs to the same service as C.179-1991. Wilson identified the subject as probably being Caesar attempting to cross the Adriatic in a small boat, taken from Appian, Civil Wars, II, 9, or rather being rowed down the river Alor or Apsus before being driven back by the wind and waves at its mouth. However, this event took place on the eastern shore of the Adriatic while Gaeta is on the west side of Italy, north of Naples. The second place mentioned was probably Tarracina (Terracina), situated north of Gaeta on the Appian Way which led to Brindisi on the Adriatic. This is puzzling because, although a few streams enter the sea between the two towns and there are two lakes inland, there are no sizeable rivers in the area.

Accession Number

C.180-1991 (Applied Arts)
(Reference Number: 80732; Input Date: 2002-08-07 / Last Edit: 2011-06-30)

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