Lot 306
  • 306

A Castelli maiolica apothecary jar, circa 1530-1540

50,000 - 80,000 GBP
73,250 GBP
bidding is closed


  • pottery
of Orsini-Colonna type, the ovoid body with twin strap handles, boldly painted with a large finely-drawn portrait head of a bearded man in informal military dress, against a dark blue-washed ground within blue-ground borders of formal ornament, the neck with a panel inscribed with the drug name in gothic script, the reverse with large-scale sketched floral ornament in blue

Catalogue Note

The celebrated 'Orsini-Colonna' series of apothecary jars, made by the Pompei family at Castelli over a period of some forty years, includes very few of these substantial two-handled jars, though a similar jar was sold in these rooms, 6th December 2011, lot 5. The fine and meticulous detail of that jar is also more closely similar to that on the present piece than on most other examples of the series.

The identity of the imposing elderly gentleman in the portrait remains enigmatic, though he bears some resemblance to the figure of Cimon in the well-known 'Roman Charity' bottle from the series, formerly in the Sprovieri collection; see T. Wilson, Ceramic Art of the Italian Renaissance, no.189, pp.484-485