Maurice de Rothschild, Paris
Robert Lehman collecton, sold at Christie's 4th April 1977, lot 40
The arms are those of Isabella d'Este (1474- 1539), Marchioness of Mantua and daughter of the Duke of Ferrara. Though her husband Francesco II died in 1519, she continued, as was the normal practice, to use their marriage arms. Over the following twenty years, '"the dowager Isabella continued to be one of the most active and discriminating of Renaissance art patrons and collectors'"(Dora Thornton and Timothy Wilson, Italian Renaissance Ceramics)
Her daughter Eleonora was married to Francesco Maria Della Rovere, Duke of Urbino, and on 15th November 1524 wrote from Pesaro to her mother:
"Thinking of visiting Your Excellency with some of the products of this country, which might please you...I have had made a credenza of earthenware vessels, and I am sending it to Your Excellency by Battista, my steward, the bearer of this letter, since the maestri of this country of ours have some reputation for good work...you might make use of it at Porto, since it is a villa thing (cosa da villa)...it is my wish to think of nothing more than to please you..."
This piece comes to the market following the remarkable discovery of the 'Hippomenes and Atalanta' dish, sold in Paris earlier this year, which brought the total of known pieces from the Isabella d'Este service to twenty-three.
That dish, two others in long-term ownership, and the present lot are now the only known pieces remaining in private hands from '...the most celebrated Renaissance istoriato service in existence.' (Thornton and Wilson, op.cit)
For illustrations of nearly all the known pieces from the service, including the present lot, see Rasmussen, op.cit., pp.246-251.
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