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Collecting Old Continental Pottery
Henri Deux Ware, Etc.
Paris And Its Environs
Glazed Pottery Of France
Stoneware Of Germany
German And Other Guilds
SWEDEN, DENMARK, SWITZERLAND:
Stockholm, Rorstrand, and Marieberg
Delft: The Old Signs Of The Potters
Majolica And Luca Della Robia
Naples, Rimini, Monte Feltro, And Forli
Siena, Monte Lupo, And Pisa
Fabriano, Viterbo, Rome
Venice, Treviso, Bassano, Milan, Etc.
PERSIA AND DAMASCUS:
Persia And Damascus
Persian And Other Tiles
Rhodes, Asiatic Turkey, Etc.
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
Passeri, in his "History of Majolica Wares," states that it was not at Urbino itself, but at Fermignano, a chateau on the banks of the Metauro, where the beautiful faience was made by artists many of whom were eminent in their profession, whose names have been preserved and honoured from the sixteenth century to our own days. If that historian is correct, Urbino does not signify the name of the town, but the protection of the successive Dukes of Urbino, under whose favour and encouragement this ceramic art flourished from about 1477 to 1630. Without labouring the subject, it may be well to notice that besides Urbino, Castel Durante, Gubbio, and Pesaro belonged to the duchy of Urbino. Another writer, Pantaleoni, in his " Notice on the paintings in Majolica made at Urbino," gives the names of some of the early painters, of whom the best known is Francesco Xanto Avelli da Rovigo, whose first pieces were signed in full and dated, though the later ones bore only one or two initials. Apparently his work, which is more or less excellent, occupied the years from 1530 to 1542.
Many of the artists were of Castel Durante origin. Such inscriptions as " fatta in la botega de Guido da Castello Durante, in Urbino, 1528," and " in botega de M Guido Durantino, in Urbino, 1535," indicate this origin. The Fontana family had its origin in Guido Durantino, whose original family name was Pellipario. He adopted Fontana as his surname and transmitted it to his children, of whom his son Orazio, who died in 1571, was the most celebrated of the Urbino painters on majolica, his works being remarkable for their exquisite design and superb execution. His flesh tints were first delicately shaded in blue, with fine effect upon ware in which the potting and glazing were both excellent. Some specimens have been found with all the letters of his name Orazio, or rather " Oratio," in a monogram; but the letter O between two points is a more common mark, though some times " fatto " or " fate in Urbino in botega de Oratio Fontana " and other inscriptions are found.
Nearly all of the majolica attributed to Urbino bears on the reverse a distinctive decoration-not a mark, but an evidence of origin which it is useful to remember: on the white enamel ground are three concentric rings in orange, which are not only applied to dishes, plates, and cups, but also to vases, pharmacy-jars, and all other pieces produced in the ateliers of Urbino. These wares are usually covered with an even glaze over a pinkish or pure white ground, having no other decoration upon the reverse. There are some few exceptions to this rule, but they are rare.
Amongst other men noted as painters at Urbino whose works have been identified by the marks, are Nicola da Urbino, Gianmaria Mariani, 1542, and AIfonso Patanazzi, 16o6. The first painted classical figures with great skill, and in his monogram may be seen all the letters of the name " Nicola." The Patanazzi-Alfonso, Vincenzio, and Francesco-were the last group of artists working in Urbino in the first part of the seventeenth century. The decadence followed.
Resembling the Urbino ware are some fine pieces from the hands of Francesco Durantino. Such might have been painted at Urbino, though it is known that he worked elsewhere. His initials F.D, with the date, form his usual mark. Another artist migrating to different fabriques was Giulio da Urbino, who signed his works with this name and added the name of the fabrique where he was at the time working. Other names are mentioned, such as Guido Merlini in 1542, and Gironimo Urbin in 1585, but no particulars of them are forthcoming, nor are there any of a few artists whose signatures are now and then found.
When the ducal patronage failed the artists were unable to continue their work. The Patanazzi, aided by J. B. Boccione, tried to maintain their botega at Urbino, but could not. Then later came a Frenchman, who, in the city which had been the home of Italian majolica, set up a factory and produced ware of which a specimen in the museum at South Kensington bears this inscription: " Fabrica di majolica fina di monsieur Rolet, in Urbino a 28 aprile 1773." Well might Jacquemart say: " Bitter derision! would it not be cruel for the Italians who had been our teachers thus to see our degenerate products instal themselves there amongst them in excluding the great forms of art."