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Albarello (storage jar) with serpent handles and grotesques

Savino Giovan Paolo, workshop of

Roma (Rome), 1600

11.5 cm (diameter); cm (diameter)

tin-glazed earthenware (maiolica)

Inscribed in circular cartouches FATTO.IN ROMA.DA GIO.PAULO SAVINO..MDC (made in Rome by Giovan Paolo Savino, 1600) and FATTO IN BOTEGA DE.M.DIOMEDE DURANTE IN ROMA (made in the workshop of Maestro Diomede Durante in Rome). On each side of each jar is a cartouche left blank for a pharmaceutical contents inscription to be added. Beneath each scrolling handle is a lion mask. The jars are decorated on the inscribed sides with polychrome grotesques in the Urbino/Castel Durante manner and on the other side with a leaf design in blue; the latter is of a type associated by Piccolpasso with Venice and Genoa, but was also much in use in Castel Durante and later in Rome. It is not altogether certain that the lids originally belonged with the jars.

The owner of the workshop where these jars were made was Diomede Durante, an immigrant from Castel Durante who is documented in Rome from 1590 to 1624. The painter, Giovan Paolo Savino, was also from Castel Durante, and a member of one of the town's most distinguished potting families. By 1606 he was back in Castel Durante, where he signed two plates, now at Waddesdon Manor.

Rome occupies a surprisingly small place in the history of Renaissance maiolica, and seems to have relied mainly on imports from other parts of Italy for its artistically ambitious pottery. However, there are documentary records of numerous immigrant potters, particularly from the Urbino region, having worked in Rome, and a good many pieces attributed to other centres may eventually prove to have been made in the city. Marked pieces documenting Roman production are very uncommon.

Others from the set or a similar set are in one with a shield of arms in the Bayer Collection, Milan (G. Biscontini Ugolini, I vasi da farmacia nella collezione Bayer (Ospedaletto [Pisa] and Milan 1997, no. 41); two in the Roche Collection, Basle; one in a private collection in Berlin; and one dated 1600 formerly in the Bardini and Canessa collections.

Presented by C. D. E. Fortnum, 1888.  WA1888.CDEF.C465

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