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Assortimento di vasi rinfrescabottiglie e rinfrescabicchieri di maiolica

Assortment of bottle and glass coolers in maiolica
Pasquale Rubati manufacture
Milan, around 1770


a – Bottle cooler Height: 5.91 in
Diameter: 5.91 in
Weight: 1.86 lb
b – Bottle cooler Height: 6.89
Diameter: 7.87 in
Weight: 2.09 lb
c – Pair of glass-cooler vases Height: 3.94 in
Diameter: 3.94 in
Weight: 1.43 lb

State of conservation:

a – some chipping from use on the edge
b- two fêlures covered on the edge
c – one has deep chippings on the edge and the other a subtle fêlure.

Two majolica factories were active in Milan in the 18th century. The first, starting from 1745, was owned by Felice Clerici; the other one by Pasquale Rubati from 1756. Rubati was in competition with Felice, whose worker he had been prior to opening his own workshop. On his death in 1796, the business was continued for a few more years by his son Carlo.
Recent studies have recognized Pasquale Rubati’s contribution as the creator of “Strasbourg-style” decorations with their particularly joyful depictions. This style had previously been attributed to the Lodi manufacturers. These works here, however, are a clear example of this production.
The majolica containers have different sizes, a cylindrical shape and rest on a low foot ring. The two largest are completed by handles in the shape of a zoomorphic mask with wide open jaws, while the smaller ones have handles applied with an anthropomorphic mask.
All the works are characterized by elegant floral decoration.
The two twin glass coolers show bunches of flowers centered around a main corolla, a rose or a peony paired with a tulip, from which extend thin flowering branches; one of these, with a small yellow flower with several petals and smaller florets with yellow and pink petals, is characteristic of the Pasquale Rubati manufacture in Milan around 1770. The floral decoration is made in polychrome small fire with a main flower bouquet surrounded by smaller flowering branches. The handles are shaded purple.
The two bottle coolers show similar decoration in the choice of the main flowers, but different stylistic execution: more accurate and defined, in the smaller one, with a purple shaded mask; in the other, a decoration seemingly more impulsive and sincere, but with greater expressiveness and a greater infusion of subject matter, that suggests the intervention of an expert hand, more accustomed to maiolica decoration, more detached from the academic choices, more characteristic of porcelain decoration. This vase shows handles decorated in Savy green with the mouth shaded in yellow. Vases of this type are quite rare; for the morphology see a similar work with different decoration preserved in Milan, at Castello Sforzesco and published by R. Ausenda, Museo d’Arti Applicate, Le Ceramiche, Tomo II, Milano 2001, p. 291 n. 307.


R. Ausenda, Museo d’Arti Applicate, Le Ceramiche, Tomo II, Milano 2001, p. 291 n. 307.

Cover Photo: Fabrizio Stipari