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Italian Renaissance Ceramics

A Catalogue of the British Museum Collection

Dora Thornton

826 pages, 936 col & 60 b/w illus, 100 line drawings, 9780714128160, $300.00, Hardback, British Museum Press, English
Published: 4/15/2009

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A superb catalogue of the British Museum collection of maiolica and other Italian Renaissance pottery, published in two volumes with a slipcase, ribbon and cloth binding. The British Museum collection of Italian Renaissance ceramics is one of the most important and most comprehensive anywhere in the world. Apart from containing many works of great artistic beauty, it is unequalled for its high proportion of signed, marked, dated and armorial pieces, crucial for scholarly study of the subject. This is the first systematic catalogue of the collection. The 495 detailed entries cover the period from 1400 to 1700 and include maiolica, incised slipware and the rare 'Medici porcelain' made in the ground-breaking Granducal workshop in Florence in the late 16th century. Every item is illustrated at least once, and most twice, in colour. Particular attention is given to patronage (the collection includes works made for such eminent patrons as Pope Leo X and Isabella d'Este), to the relationship with painting and other arts, and to the history of collecting and the role of the British Museum collection in developing the international study of the subject. The catalogue entries incorporate the results of a long programme of scientific analysis of the clays used by Renaissance potters. The book will also contain the fullest bibliography of the subject ever published.

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