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In your search: Maiolica

Maker(s) &

Unidentified Orvieto pottery, pottery, Italy, Umbria, Orvieto


H.S. Reitlinger


tin-glazed earthenware; maiolica


two-handled cup


circa 1250 circa 1350


maiolica arcaica


13th Century; 14th Century; Medieval


Maiolica two-handled cup, painted in manganese and green with, on the inside, a Cross and Instruments of the Passion.
Earthenware, tin-glazed pinkish-grey on both sides; base unglazed. Painted in manganese and copper-green.
Shape 21. Circular with carinated sides, narrow foot and two loop handles of oval section.
Inside, within two concentric manganese circles, there is a green Cross and manganese Instruments of the Passion; on the outside, a wide green horizontal band and two green spots on each handle. A green band runs round part of the rim.


throwing; body
tin-glazing; whole; base unglazed
painting; decoration


earthenware; whole
tin-glaze; whole; base unglazed
high-temperature colours; decoration; manganese and copper-green


earthenware, tin-glazed pinkish-grey on both sides, base unglazed: painted in manganese and copper-green.


height, whole, 4.8, cm
diameter, foot, 3.9, cm
width, whole, 14.9, cm


bequeathed; 1991-04-29; Reitlinger, Henry Scipio


Purportedly excavated at Orvieto; William Ridout; Christie's, 13 December 1938, The William Ridout collection of Italian majolica, European pottery, faience and delftware, probably part of lot 107; H.S. Reitlinger (d.1950); the Reitlinger Trust, Maidenhead, from which transferred in 1991.


Ridout, William; previous owner
Reitlinger, Henry Scipio; previous owner


Religious symbols, principally the Cross, Instruments of the Passion (also known as the Arma Christi) and Agnus Dei occur frequently on two-handled carinated cups and bowls found in Orvieto and elsewhere in central Italy, such as Viterbo in Lazio. Their use was probably encouraged by the Pope's and Curia's prolonged periods of residence in Orvieto during the late thirteenth century, as well as by the existence of numerous religious houses and confraternities in Umbria.


Most of the two-handled cups decorated with versions of the Instruments of the Passion have been excavated, but an example known as the `Cup of St Francis', now in the Cathedral Treasury at Cologne survived above ground and was provided with a silver mount in 1721 by Andreas Schrodt. Two-handled cups decorated with differ¬ing versions of the Instru¬ments of the Passion, are situated in the Fondaz¬ione Horne, Florence, three in the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, Orvieto, the Museo di Palazzo di Venezia, Rome (inv. no. PV 1298) and three in the Del Pelo Pardi collection in the same Museum, the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg, the Museo Nazionale Romano Crypta Balbi, and the Museum of Art, San Paolo, Brazil. Two fragments of cups with this subject were excavated from a cistern con¬verted into a rubbish pit (butto) beneath the Palazzo del Popolo, in Orvieto, and were presumably deposited after the construc¬tion of the build¬ing in the early 1280s. Another incomplete cup was recovered during an excavation from 'cistern C' under the Palaz¬zetto Faina, Orvieto, and has been dated to the fourteenth century. Another incomplete cup with the character¬istics of Orvieto manufacture was found at Celleno, midway between Orvieto and Viterbo. A fragment of a cup excavated in the Rocca at Bolsena, is in the Museo Territoriale del Lago di Bolsena.

Acquisition Credit:

H.S. Reitlinger Bequest, 1950; transferred from the Reitlinger Trust, 1991


label; printed in blue and inscribed in blue-black ink; 'WILLIAM RIDOUT COLLECTION' printed in blue, 'O./26.' in blue-black ink; circular with blue border


packing number; EURCER 460; Allocated by Wendy Rose when object left Maidenhead; 1989


Italian Maiolica in the Fitzwilliam Museum. 1995-10-03 - 1996-01-07
Organiser: The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (Cambs.), UK
Venue: The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge (Cambs.)
Notes: Case 17, bottom
Catalogue number: no catalogue



Object Number: C.98-1991
(Applied Arts)
(record id: 47823; input: 2002-05-17; modified: 2017-11-21)


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