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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 )
The city of Naples produced large faience vases during the sixteenth and seventeenth century, having caryatide handles, mainly decorated with religious subjects in blue upon one face only. The blue was strengthened with touches of black. Some of these have signatures at full length, as Franco. Brand Napoli Gesu novo ; Paulus Francus Brandi Pinx 68 ; and P. il sig. Frayzcho Nepita 1532. The five-pointed crown closed at the top over the letters B.G. was a more common mark.
At the later factory of Capo di Monte, faience was the exception, porcelain being the chief article produced from 1736, when Charles III., King of Naples, established the fabrique. Jacquemart is eloquent in praise of a fountain of which he gives the mark Capo di moaate with Mo beneath, near the letter N crowned.
The little town of Castelli, in Abruzzo, seems to have been the principal centre of the faience manufacture from the middle of the sixteenth century, though it is probable that in the city of Naples there were some ateliers where enamelled ware was made, for the name is found upon pieces which appear to date from the end of the same century, having a certain resemblance to those of the North of Italy. A historian who wrote the " Cronica generale di Spagna," one Antonio Breuter, stated amongst other things that the faience from this town rivalled the beauty of the antique vases of Corinth. Both M. Jacquemart and M. Darcel, two well-known authorities, declare that he wrote from hearsay, not from actual observation. The work at Castelli advanced to a high level in the second part of the seventeenth century, when the Grue family improved upon their earlier efforts, which dated back to 1647 and continued more than a century,
The names of some members of this family have been handed down to our times: Francesco, 1647 ; FS. A. Grue Espeprai, 1677 ; Dr. F. A. C. Gru, 1718 ; Fras. Anto. Grue, 1722-38 ; Francesco Saverio Grue, 1749 ; Carl Antonio Grue, signed C.A.G., supposed to be the best painter of the family, and his son, Liborius Grue, whose signature was L.G. with P, or in full Liborius Grue. P. Other painters of this f abrique who signed their works were Carmine Gentile, Luc. Anto Ciannico, and possibly Carlo Coccorse.
There are only three pieces which have been identified as coming from the f abrique of Rimini, of which two are in the Cluny Museum at Paris, and one in the British Museum. The older of the Parisian specimens was from the Castellani Collection, sold in 1878 at that city. It was a small ancient pot or cruche, glazed on the exterior only, with ornaments of Gothic style painted with manganese and oxide of copper. One just like it in the same collection was marked AR (Arimono). The second piece, a plate painted with Adam and Eve driven from Paradise, bears on the reverse the inscription, de Adam et dera . . . in Rirnino 1535, whilst the British Museum specimen has the same date, with the words in coarse characters: In Arimin. One other mark has been ascribed to this f abrique, which was found on a plate decorated with a painting of God appearing to Noah. The reverse, marked Noe with an x or z and a twisted branch, is said to form a rebus of Zampillo, the painter's name. Piccolpasso's work, published in 1548, describes the f abrique of Rimini as being in a state of prosperity when he wrote. Considering this statement and the antiquity of the Castellani pots, the information about the manufacture at our disposal is meagre, and this remark may be applied to Monte Feltro with more emphasis.
Monte Feltro, we are told, is not mentioned in any of the books which have described the fabrication of majolica in Italy, but a fine dish in the Cluny Museum, painted with the " Abduction of Helen " after Raphael, bears on the reverse the words: Vrate d'Elena f ato in monte upon a scroll surrounded with tridents and oves.
The railway runs from Rimini, which is on the coast, to Faenza, near which lies I'orli, another town which possessed a f abrique at a very early period. All three towns belong to the district formerly known as " The Marches,"
Forli is mentioned by Passed, who copied a document, dated 1396, referring to a potter, Pedrinus Joannis, " formerly of the potteries of Forli, and now an inhabitant of Pesaro"; but at that time only ordinary pottery was made-at the best such as was described under Rimini. We may question the statement commonly made " that majolica was introduced into Italy in the fifteenth century from Majorca," but I think we should be perfectly right in stating that in all or nearly all the centres where pottery was produced in that country, attempts were made during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries to manufacture majolica, and we might proceed a step further and say that success was attained in many cases, first in mezza-majolica, then in true majolica, tin-glazed and lustred.
Piccolpasso's book, written in 1548, must be accepted as conclusive evidence that painted majolica was made at Forli during the time when he himself made majolica and painted but never lustred it. Pieces of early date in the sixteenth century, such as tiles of 1513, a plaque 1523, are amongst the first known. Robinson refers to a beautiful plate in the collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum, painted with an original " Christ disputing with the doctors," which is inscribed at the back, I. la botega d M° Jero da Forli, which he compares to one exhibited in the Loan collection 1862, painted in blue grisaille, with a crowd of figures at some unknown function, and of it he says: " This beautiful piece has all the apparent qualities of the finest Oriental porcelain ; indeed, so perfect is it that it is difficult at first sight to believe it to be merely stanniferous glazed earthenware." The critic suggests that a celebrated painter, Melozzo da Forli, a name but little known, painted both pieces at Forli. He cites the wonderful foreshortening of a figure as worthy of special praise.
A plate painted with a classical subject inscribed Leochadius Solobrinus picsit forolivia mece 1555, and a basin on which is represented " Mary Magdalene washing Jesus's feet " with a similar inscription and the date 1564, indicate another Forli artist of whom no particulars are known. There are a few marks and monograms, in addition, assigned to this botega, of which so little is known.
Still less information is forthcoming regarding the three following towns: Imola, referred to as producing whiteenamelled terra cotta; Bologna, which appears in Piccolpasso's history; and Ravenna, from some botega in which town probably came the plate found by Davilier, painted in blue camaieu on a grey-blue ground and marked " Ravena " on the reverse.