Collection Highlights: Eastern Art
Jug and dish
Turkey (Iznik), Fritware pottery, with underglaze painting. Jug 25 cm high, dish 28.8 cm diameter, about 1530–50.
In the early sixteenth century the potters of Iznik developed one of the most beautiful ceramics ever made. The soft-paste fritware body provided a glowing pure-white ground against which sang an unparalleled range of colours. Blue and turquoise were the first colours used, and the later characteristic Iznik palette included a bold red and brilliant green. However, in this middle period, the purples, soft sage-green and deep blue outlined in a sharp black provided one of the most satisfying, subtle and harmonious palettes ever seen in ceramic decoration. This jug, with its simple sprays of tulips and roses against a blue-scale ground, demonstrates how rich and luscious such a colour scheme can be. The dish shows an elegant floral design masterfully fitted to the awkward circular shape. The Iznik potters may have benefited from help from the design workshop of the imperial court, which was a major customer for their wares. The workshop produced patterns for use in a wide variety of materials, including textiles, book illumination and tilework. [Fortnum Collection. EAx3272 and x3277]