Maiolicas — painted faiance pottery from North Italy — mainly Romagna and Umbria — comes in many styles/ color schemes; but the rich, warm colors of Ubrino are unique within the group — “Urbinos”.
I guess, as bad as these pictures are, there is a point to posting them at original size. They may be blurry, but hey, who can complain with color like that? Here goes, then.
What mystifies Sir G is that V&A has built an extensive — possibly exhaustive — electronic catalog of their ceramics collection. There are terminals in every room. You enter: cabinet number and shelf number and are taken to a gallery of every object on that shelf. Which then leads you to at least one — sometimes several — large photos of the object and a pretty good legend. Now, how difficult (or expensive!) would it be to put this thing online? Neither. Why don’t they?
Instead, if you go here, you can see most of their Urbinos in what looks like a different database. The pictures are better than mine, but they are a lot smaller. (Who says size don’t matter?)
Cipriano Piccolpasso writing on the potter’s art around 1557 observed that ‘grotesques have almost fallen out of use, and I don’t know why; it is a delicate style of painting”. This maginificent example belies his report. The central scene wittily alludes to the dish’s function: it shows the biblical episode when the Children of Israel miraculously receive food from heaven. Italy, Urbino, 1560-1580, Fontana Workshop, about 2 feet across.