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piatto di maiolica con decoro Imari


Maiolica dish with Imari decoration
Manufacture of Pasquale Rubati
Milan, 1770-1780


Diameter: 8.97 in

State of conservation:


The maiolica and porcelain factories of the eighteenth century belonged mainly to the great royal families or to the noble families who made the manufacture of ceramic works a motif of prestige. In Milan, under Maria Theresa of Austria, we instead witness a real opening to new industrialists who, by virtue of the privatization granted by the government, took on real business risks and gave life, even amid conflict between them, to flourishing factories. It was here that there was to be some of the most elegant and sought-after production of the moment, artworks which still remain objects of collection today.
In Milan in the 18th century, two majolica factories were active. The first was that of Felice Clerici, from 1745, and the second was opened by Pasquale Rubati in 1756, in competition with Felice, for whom he had been a worker. Upon Rubati’s death, in 1796, the enterprise was continued for a few years under his son Carlo.
This round dish with a smooth rim rests on a raised ring foot. It is covered with blue enamel and shows, in all fields, very refined decoration in tri-color and gold consolidated at a lower temperature.
The ornamentation shows an oriental landscape that develops in an elegant enclosure. In the background there is a fence and from a large perforated rock, tree branches spring, supporting large corollas and leaves; from a smaller rock rises a large chrysanthemum with a golden corolla. In the sky a butterfly floats and at the bottom small red flowers round out the composition.
The Imari decoration, clearly inspired by the East, derives from Japanese productions that, by way of Chinese culture, came to the West where the taste for chinoiserie became widespread during the XVIII century. At the Milanese factories the decoration took on various ornamental declinations, often distinguished solely by elements of morphological enrichment or distinguishable only by signed works.
In our case the attribution to the Rubati factory is unequivocal, above all for the comparison with similar signed specimens preserved in the main museum collections. (R. Ausenda, edited by, Museums and Galleries of Milan. Museum of Applied Arts. The ceramics, Tomo secondo, Milan 2001).


R. Ausenda, a cura di, Musei e Gallerie di Milano. Museo d’Arti Applicate. Le ceramiche, Tomo secondo, Milano 2001

Cover Photo: Fabrizio Stipari