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Antique Majolica Dish with Portrait, Dante?~Lots of damage but Gorgeous!

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Majolica106 of 199Italian Majolica What's it?Majolica flower pot
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    Posted 7 years ago

    (303 items)

    Hello Friends!
    I was lucky enough to be out today, in the humid, but bearable, Summer heat.
    This is one of my finds,.......was at an estate sale, ( the home was extremely humble but the contents were jewel-like ).
    This plate caught my eye immediately and I hesitated taking it from the wall when I noticed the repairs, but in it's spell I couldn't resist for long, and once it was in my hands it was a part of my experience, I had to buy it. The woman came down quite a bit on the price, that was further inducement.
    It measures 9+1/4" inches in diameter.
    The portrait is wonderful,.....I thought Dante, but probably not. I know someone in Australia with an inexhaustible thinking cap and an extremely generous nature who could probably tell me more about it:).
    That ribbon, it says something, you can almost make the letters out, but it eludes me.
    Lots of staple repairs visible from the back, no mark, darkly rich color with a nice metallic sheen.
    Happy to share anything so beautiful,
    Thanks for looking and best to all,

    Unsolved Mystery

    Help us close this case. Add your knowledge below.

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    1. Budek Budek, 7 years ago
      Thanks Moonstone, I always appreciate your kindness!
    2. SEAN68 SEAN68, 7 years ago
      STUNNING!! Very beautiful!!! :)
    3. Budek Budek, 7 years ago
      Thanks for the loves and Comment, Sean and racer4four,
      very much appreciated!!
    4. AmberRose AmberRose, 7 years ago
      Put the spell on you! I'm confident an Australian can figure this out!
    5. Budek Budek, 7 years ago
      Thank You, Dear Amber.
      your looks and loves are always appreciated!
    6. SEAN68 SEAN68, 7 years ago
      your very welcome Tony!!
    7. AmberRose AmberRose, 7 years ago
      Awww, aren't you sweet! Hope you are well Budek!
    8. vetraio50 vetraio50, 7 years ago
      Thought bubble fro Down Under!

      "After Spain, lusterware was made in Italy from the early sixteenth century onward. It was a specialty in two Umbrian towns, Deruta and Gubbio. Master Giorgio Andreoli (circa 1465-1553), better known as Master Giorgio, installed in the latter town with his two brothers from 1498 onward, made for some fifty years ceramics featuring ruby-red luster, "rosso di maiolica," a unique color of its kind. This luster is achieved by using metal oxides (copper and silver) and special firing conditions. The final appearance sought is one of colored reflections changing with the light and reminiscent of gold."
    9. vetraio50 vetraio50, 7 years ago
      Those wings to head are suggestive.
      Libertas? no.

      On Dante's head you expect laurel leaves. Petrarch too.
    10. AmberRose AmberRose, 7 years ago
      Can't make out what that banner says...clues there I bet
    11. vetraio50 vetraio50, 7 years ago

      That ribbon may have an inscription in reverse?
    12. SEAN68 SEAN68, 7 years ago
      it is in reverse , I was just looking at this very closely.
    13. AmberRose AmberRose, 7 years ago
      Who's holding their iPad up to a mirror right now?
    14. SEAN68 SEAN68, 7 years ago
      not me!!! LOL!!! What?
    15. SEAN68 SEAN68, 7 years ago
      LOL!! I Think shes still in the Hotel room!!
    16. AmberRose AmberRose, 7 years ago
      Gentlemen, I am in research mode with limited resources.
    17. SEAN68 SEAN68, 7 years ago
      I meant if you were still in flat. In the hotel room on your iPad.
    18. SEAN68 SEAN68, 7 years ago
      Fla... damn tablet spell check
    19. SEAN68 SEAN68, 7 years ago
      I agree I collect!!
    20. SEAN68 SEAN68, 7 years ago
      Great link!!
    21. Budek Budek, 7 years ago
      Thank you Kevin and icollectglass for giving me a lot on information and leads to more.
      Amber, Kevin, and Sean, the ribbon's a mystery. I'll see if I can tweak a better shot of it, Thanks for giving it some thought.
      Moonhill, thanks for the love, much appreciated.
    22. Budek Budek, 7 years ago
      Thanks for the look and love, blunderbuss!!
      and Happy Father's Day to all of the Dads out there!
    23. Budek Budek, 7 years ago
      Kevin, I'm sure your right, that it isn't Dante. Maybe the key is in the ribbon.
      Also, How old do you think it might be?
    24. Budek Budek, 7 years ago
      Kevin, Amber, and Sean, I added a tweaked photo of the banner/ribbon, it's much clearer.
      Maybe someone will be able to decipher it.
      Thanks again!
    25. vetraio50 vetraio50, 7 years ago
      The ribbon looks like the letter S is seen as a whole.
      A Sphinx?
    26. vetraio50 vetraio50, 7 years ago
      Thanks for the second picture ....... that helps a lot.
    27. vetraio50 vetraio50, 7 years ago
      Check out the picture at the top of this page!
      Half a serving dish.
      But it looks like the same figure.
    28. jensen jensen, 7 years ago
      And here's another one:
      The text on the banners often seems to be proverbs of some sort.
      Could it be from the 19th century, Paolo Rubboli or a contemporary?
    29. mikelv85 mikelv85, 7 years ago
      What a beautiful piece despite the damage Tony. Don't have anything new to add to the above info but staples are an older form of repair so I'm thinking at least 19th to very early 20th century. -Mike-
    30. AmberRose AmberRose, 7 years ago
      I think this is the same super interesting...
    31. AmberRose AmberRose, 7 years ago
      This is also very interesting...and pretty to look at...
    32. SEAN68 SEAN68, 7 years ago
      Thankyou Tony for the reshoot!! wow and the links are great!!
    33. AmberRose AmberRose, 7 years ago
      Same banner right?
    34. SEAN68 SEAN68, 7 years ago
      So heres the first part of banner letters" HIS"

      Second part I can see "BENXX"

      Thrid part I can see "DA"

      Fourth part"Z"

      So this is what ive gotten so far.
    35. Budek Budek, 7 years ago
      Kevin, Amber, Sean, Mike, Tom, Jensen, racer, senchi, and agh,........Big Thanks to you all,
      The loves are welcome, the comments are stimulating, the links are fantastic!
      Thank You All!
    36. solver solver, 7 years ago
      Budek, extraordinary purchase and great eye!

      I have been captivated by this post and the generous time and knowledge contributed by many.

      vetraio50, you led the way for me to pursue the link you provided to the picture at the top of the page of a half dish at

      Please know that this is all so beyond my knowledge but I am simply putting this out here for everyone's scholarly interpretation.

      I found a photo of the entire dish --- that vetraio pointed to --- from the Museum of Ceramics in Deruta:

      The html only credits the Deruta Museum and the photo tag says "Renaissance wall plaque." The site that posted this photo is:

      Which led me to:
      "Renaissance wall plate with the writing:
      'La Giulia Bella' (Giulia The Beautiful)
      16th Century - namely Lady Giulia Farnese.
      (Deruta Ceramics Museum)"

      The main site for the above photo:

      Another similar plaque from the Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Firenze:

      "Piatto con busto di Scipione l'Africano, Manifattura di Deruta, opera conservata nel Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Firenze, Finsiel/Archivi Alinari, Per concessione del Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali"

      "Plate with bust of Scipio Africanus, Manufacture of Deruta, works in the Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Florence, Finsiel / Alinari Archives, Courtesy of the Ministry of Heritage and Cultural Activities"
    37. vetraio50 vetraio50, 7 years ago
      Well done SOLVER!

      BUDEK will be able to have a good look with that name.
    38. solver solver, 7 years ago
      Thanks, vetraio50, but never could get here without you.

      Found it with tenacity and luck and the fact that I thought it was a woman! Here is your plate/bowl, Budek.

      From the British Museum: "Broad-rimmed bowl or plate with foot ring and well. Earthenware covered front and back with a presumed tin-glaze. Painted in blue and pale green and golden and reddish lustre. In the centre a profile portrait of a woman (?) in a winged helmet: on a scroll "CHI. SEMINA. LESPIE. NAV DA ECH'Z". Border of four foliate panels separated by crescent motifs. On the reverse partial discolouring from the kiln."

      Probably Ginori, "CHI. SEMINA. LESPIE. NAV DA ECH'Z"
    39. solver solver, 7 years ago
      I meant to say, very similar plate, that appears to be after a much older plate. The woman :-) has a necklace in British Museum's plate and Budek's does not.

      Regardless, she is now identified for vetraio to translate since google translates it from Italian to "CHI. SEEDING. LESPIE. NAV FROM ECH'Z."
    40. vetraio50 vetraio50, 7 years ago

      The transcription of the motto by the British Museum has got us almost there!

    41. solver solver, 7 years ago
      We cross-posted. Now it needs your staggering knowledge!
    42. vetraio50 vetraio50, 7 years ago
      The CHI SEMINA is part of an Italian Proverb .... Or two!

      It begins many Tuscan proverbs:

    43. solver solver, 7 years ago
      Thanks, vetraio. Think it is "Whoever plants the seeds." The next letters that I rotated to see better instead of standing on my head, is not "LESPIE" but "Le SPIE" which would translate to "the spies." However, I'm not certain there is an "i" between the "P" and "E" but "spe" doesn't translate. Also, there is a line that comes down off of the "P" that makes it almost look like an "R."

      Goodness, I am really out of my league here. :)
    44. vetraio50 vetraio50, 7 years ago
      It is almost like a riddle.

      It might be a combination of ideas too!

      Believe me if the British Museum knew what it was they would have put it on their description.

      The symbol above the P in Le SPE is an indicator of an abbreviation.
      "General: - indicating there has been an abbreviation but not how. These marks are placed above or across the ascender of the letters."
    45. vetraio50 vetraio50, 7 years ago
      I have been looking at various things and am starting to get an idea or two!

      Solver has told us that this is a portrait of Giulia Farnese.
      Who was Giulia?
      La Giulia Bella - the great beauty married to Pier Francesco Orsini, called Vicino (1523–1585). But there is more to her story than just her beauty and her spouse.

      She is the Giulia Farnese portrayed in the 2011 Showtime TV series The Borgias.

      She is Giulia Farnese (1474 – 23 March 1524) who was mistress to Pope Alexander VI.

      It is then that we can go to the Italian proverb at the beginning of the ribbon; CHI . SEMINA . LeSPE . ....

      Chi semina vento raccoglie tempesta (in Latin "qui ventum seminabunt et turbinem metent: an old Italian proverb that comes from the Bible : Hosea 8:7 :

      "They sow the wind and reap the whirlwind. The stalk has no head; it will produce no flour. Were it to yield grain, foreigners would swallow it up."

      "The proverb uses an illustration gleaned from the agricultural process of sowing and reaping. A farmer would sow seed. Of course, the type of seed he planted determined the type of plant that would grow and be harvested. This is the principle of duplication." .....
      "Also at work in the proverb is the principle of multiplication: a farmer may plant one kernel of corn, but he will reap much more than that—a whole ear. In the same way, Israel’s sin of idolatry would bring forth an amplified consequence that would sweep them all away."

      You reap what you sow.

      There are many other Italian sayings based around it too!
      Chi semina virtù raccoglie fama. (Virtue brings Fame)
      Chi semina bene raccoglie buoni frutti ( Good Seed Good Fruit)

      Back to "LeSPE"!

      Here things get a bit out there!
      Check out page 358 of A. Cappelli. "Dizionario di Abbreviature Latine ed Italiani. Milano, 1912."

      SPE is an abbreviation of "Sanctus Petrus" - Saint Peter.

      Now I have an idea that "LeSPE" might mean the "Ecclesia Sancti Petri". It is a starting point not an end.

      But the fact is that the 'la bella Giulia" was the mistress of of one of the Sons of St Peter: Pope Alexander VI aka Roderic Llançol i de Borja of the Borgia fame.

      In 1492 Giulia bore him a daughter Laura or was the father Pier Francesco Orsini, called Vicino?

      "By November 1493, Giulia was living with Adriana de Mila and the Pope's daughter Lucrezia Borgia in a recently built palace next to the Vatican from where the Pope could easily make his clandestine visits. The affair was widely known among the gossips of the time, and Giulia was referred to as "the Pope's whore" or sarcastically as "the bride of Christ." Giulia and Lucrezia became close friends. ....

      Through her intimacy with the Pope, Giulia was able to get her brother Alessandro (the future Paul III) created Cardinal in 1493. This earned him the title of "Cardinal of the skirts" from Pasquino.

      Giulia had a daughter whom she named Laura. It is not clear whether Laura's father was Orsino or Alexander. Maria Bellonci believes that there is evidence that she did have a physical relationship with her husband. Whatever the case may be, Giulia claimed that Laura was indeed the Pope's daughter, but this may have been to raise the status of the child for future marriage considerations. In 1494, she angered the Pope by setting off to Capodimonte to be at the deathbed of her brother Angelo. She remained away from Rome, even after her brother's death, at the insistence of her husband. He eventually capitulated to papal pressure, however, and she soon set off on the journey back to her lover. This occurred at the same time as the French invasion of Italy under Charles VIII. Giulia was captured by the French captain Yves d’Allegre, who demanded from the Pope, and received, a ransom of 3,000 scudi for her safe conduct to Rome.

      Giulia remained the Pope's mistress until 1499 or 1500. At this time, she seems to have fallen out of his favour due to her age. Bellonci believes that the break between the two was probably made amicably with the help of Adriana de Mila. Her husband also died around this time. She then moved to Carbognano, which is not far from Rome. This town had been given to Orsino by Alexander VI. Alexander himself died three years later.

      Giulia returned to Rome for the wedding of her daughter Laura in 1505. Laura was married to Niccolò della Rovere, who was the son of the sister of then Pope Julius II. For Giulia, her time of love was not over. In the first years of her widowhood, after a series of lovers whose names have not been recorded, she married Giovanni Capece of Bozzuto. He was a member of the lower ranking Neapolitan nobility. In 1506, Giulia became the governor of Carbognano. Giulia took up residence in the citadel of the castle; years later, her name was inscribed on its gate. The chronicle of the castle states that Giulia was an able administrator who governed in a firm and energetic manner. Giulia stayed in Carbognano until 1522; she then returned to Rome.

      She died there, in the house of her brother, Cardinal Alessandro. She was 50 years old. The cause of her death is unknown. Ten years later her brother ascended the papal throne as Pope Paul III. Laura and Niccolò had three sons, who inherited the possessions of the Orsini family."
    46. vetraio50 vetraio50, 7 years ago
      And that leaves the rest a bit of a mystery .........

      Love this plate!
    47. Budek Budek, 7 years ago
      The posts have been incredible, I'm sorry I've had so little time to respond.
      Thanks to you, Kevin, and Solver, you've added tremendously to unraveling a mystery, and provided some amazing links!, a Thousand Thanks!
      Thanks to everyone for the looks, loves, and comments
    48. AmberRose AmberRose, 7 years ago
      Solver and V very very well done. Fascinating all round...the clues, the hunt for an answer...good stuff!
    49. solver solver, 7 years ago
      vetraio, it has been an honor to contribute such a small clue to you that was only possible from your foundation of information. The depth and breadth of your scholarship "and" critical thinking are staggering, since one can wane without the other. I agree about the British Museum. I went to their site since their multitude of scholars provide emperical research --- you have surpassed them.

      I was transfixed reading your every word, interpretations, and this fascinating history I knew nothing about. I can't wait to have the time to further my interest in the history you provided. My sincerest thanks and appreciation to you for the expanse of knowledge you impart on this board.

      Budek, the beauty of your plate speaks for itself and IMO, is now priceless with the information vetraio has given us.

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