Polychrome maiolica dish with coat of arms of the Marquises Stampa di Soncino
Painted by Siro Antonio Africa or Siro Domenico Africa at the Rampini manufactory. Pavia, 1693-1704
It measures 2.08 in (5.4 cm) in height x 14.96 in (38 cm) in diameter.
State of conservation: intact with slight edge chipping restored.
The dish belongs to an important class of maiolica works, considered to be one of the best ceramic products throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. For a long time this production had been attributed to the Venetian village of Angarano, to be then definitively ascribed to the main Pavia factories at the end of the nineteen nineties due to a careful study in which this very specimen appears published:
E. Pelizzoni – M. Forni – S. Nepoti, La maiolica di Pavia tra Seicento e Settecento, Milano 1997, p. 153, n. 126.
The dish has a bowl shape with a convex apoda base, wide, slightly oblique brim with a rounded edge. At the center of the composition is a landscape, with a wayfarer, which occupies the entire surface without interruption. In the upper part stands the coat of arms of the Marquises Stampa di Soncino, enclosed in a Baroque frame and surmounted by a crown. On the back you can see the typical seedlings with elongated leaves delineated in manganese and the brand: “AF” with an grapnel with three flukes, indicating the production of the painters of the Africa family for the Rampini manufactory in Pavia. Here it is probably the work of Siro Antonio Africa, therefore ante 1704.
Few other specimens with the Stampa di Soncino emblem are kept in museum collections: for example two large dishes now at the Pinacoteca di Varallo (VC) in the famous Francesco Franchi ceramics collection. G. ANVERSA, La collezione Francesco Franchi, Borgosesia 2004, p. 296 nos. 153-154. The basin with the same emblem of the Sevres Museum. R. AUSENDA, Le triomphe de Pavie, histoire d’une redecouverte, in “ l’Objet d’art”, n. 387, janvier 2004, pp. 32-41.
The decorator Siro Antonio Africa had worked alternately in the two main Pavia factories (Carlo Giuseppe Rampini and Antonio Francesco Imbres as documented from the last decades of the seventeenth century) where he signs his works in a different way (E. Pelizzoni in, op. cit., pp. 29-32). In the 1735 inventories of the Rampini manufactory, the maiolica are defined with the architecture of Africa. He is considered among the initiators of refined decoration with architectures, of which this work is one of the finest examples. Preserved in the major ceramics museums of the world, the dishes of Pavia are considered among the most elegant works among the eighteenth-century maiolica: we recall, among others, the plates of the New York Met (inv. 2018. 460), and those of the Cambridge Fitzwilliam (inv. C.252-1991).
Cover Photo: Fabrizio Stipari
E. Pelizzoni – M. Forni – S. Nepoti, La maiolica di Pavia tra Seicento e Settecento, Milano 1997.
G. Anversa, La collezione Francesco Franchi, Borgosesia 2004.
R. Ausenda, Le triomphe de Pavie, histoire d’une redecouverte, in “ l’Objet d’art”, n. 387, janvier 2004.