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Vasi da fiori da appoggio a mezzaluna di maiolica

Maiolica flower pots “a mezzaluna”
Pasquale Rubati Factory
Milan, 1770 Circa


Height 6.2 in
Length: 8.66
Depth: 5.31
Weight: 1.86 lb and 1.94 lb

State of conservation:

intact with slight chips

A rare example of a flower pots “a mezzaluna” produced by the manufactory of the refined painter Pasquale Rubati, who opened a factory in Milan in 1756 to compete with Felice Clerici.

The flower pot with a complex, as well as original and practical, shape was used to hold flowers. As it could also be leant against the wall, its use went beyond simple table centerpieces, but rather it could also be placed in functional and decorative locations.
The maiolica is decorated with a rocaille relief to adorn the edges.  The mold, indicated in the original inventories as “fioriere a mezzaluna”, was notedly used by the Milanese manufactories of the eighteenth century, as demonstrated by some of the specimens preserved in the Museum of Applied Arts of the Sforzesco Castle in Milan. (See R. Ausenda (edited by), Musei e Gallerie di Milano. Museo d’Arti Applicate. Le ceramiche. Tomo secondo, Milano 2001, p. 425, n. 409 and n. 41.)
The decoration shows two bouquets of polychrome and outlined flowers that stand out against a background decorated with yellow-orange polka dots, highlighted on the side by very thin black dots. The portions in relief are abundantly painted with yellow, blue, green and purple, all which enhance the shapes.
Maiolica and porcelain production in the eighteenth century belonged mainly to the great royal families or in any case to the noble families who made the manufacture of ceramic works a source of prestige. In Milan, under Maria Teresa of Austria, the timeperiod witnessed a real opening to new industrialists who, by virtue of the privatizations granted by the government, assumed a real business risk, giving life, albeit not without conflict, to flourishing factories and to production which was among the most elegant and most requested at the moment and which still today remains object of collection.


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

Cover Photo: Fabrizio Stipari