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Albarello (storage jar)

Manises, possibly; Valencia, c. 1460 (height)

tin-glazed earthenware (maiolica); lustred

The albarello, a cylindrical jar usually slightly waisted, was a form of Islamic origin that became widely used in Spain and Italy, particularly in pharmacies and as general storage containers.

Alternating blue and lustre veined vine leaves were a pattern especially common on export wares. A jar almost identical to this one can be seen as a detail of the central panel of the great altarpiece commissioned in Bruges between 1473 and 1482 by the Florentine Tommaso Portinari from the painter Hugo van der Goes (now in the Uffizi, Florence). It stands before the Virgin Mary, in use as a flower vase for her symbolic lilies. Another is illustrated in the margin of the late 15th-century Hours of Mary of Burgundy in the Bodleian Library, Oxford.

A companion albarello from the same collection is in the British Museum.

Bibliography: M. Hook and A. MacGregor, Tudor England (Ashmolean Museum, 2000), p. 49.

cf Ray 2000, nos 179-88.

Bequeathed by Hon. Catherine Gibbs, 1967.  WA1967.44

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