Nicola da Urbino (active 1520–1537/8), diameter 30.5 cm, c.1525.
This dish shows a group of women picking flowers in an idyllic landscape, apparently disturbed by the arrival of a messenger bringing news: the exact subject, possibly from classical myth or literature, remains obscure. The dish is a characteristic work of Nicola at the height of his powers, produced about the time he painted the celebrated set for Isabella d'Este, Marchioness of Mantua, and illustrates, in the band surrounding the central image, the technique known as bianco sopra bianco, in which a design in opaque white is painted onto an off-white glaze. [Purchased with grants from the Museum and Galleries Commission and the Victoria and Albert Museum Purchase Grant Fund, the National Art Collections Fund and the Friends of the Ashmolean, 1993, WA1993.12].
Second Floor, Room 43, Italian Renaissance