Conservation of Italian maiolica armorial bowl from The Courtauld Collection
By Sujin Jung, Graduate Diploma Conservation Studies, specialising in Ceramics and Related Materials student
In December 2019, we were delighted to be asked by The Courtauld Collection to treat a small two-handled Italian maiolica armorial bowl (inventory number O.1966.GP.246), made in the Marche region, probably in Pesaro or Castel Durante, around 1650-1700.
Maiolica refers to tin-glazed earthenware ceramics, which were first made during the Italian renaissance. The object in question has a light grey coloured opaque tin glaze, forming a background on which yellow and blue birds have been applied with thin black lines. The vase’s decoration depicts a coat of arms and grotesque design motifs. Two handles decorated with a yellow tone are adorned with ornate grotesques sticking their tongues out with their hair stretched to join the body of the object. This decoration could indicate maritime symbolism. On the base is a paper label with the number 246 attached (the inventory number of the former owner, Thomas Gambier Parry). The inventory numbers were kept and integrated into the accession numbers when the collection was acquired by The Courtauld in 1966.